Writer: Tony Bedard
Pencils: Tom Derenick
Inks: Trevor Scott and Sean Parsons
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
So, this exists.
We shouldn’t be surprised that this exists since the promotional comic book is a long, long, long running thing. I saw plenty of it three decades ago, when I was a kid. It still goes on now. Just last weekend, I was in a comic shop that had undistributed free copies of a Transformers/Schick Hydro comic book, because I gues children need sharp razorblades marketed to them before they hit puberty. This kind of thing is ridiculous, because it already takes the absurd storytelling we digest and adds a layer of overt advertisement to it.
Still, credit where it’s due, the previous two DC Comics/KFC crossover issues took the insanity of the concept and ran with it–literally in the case of the second one, which saw the Flash speeding Colonel Sanders around the Multiverse to get his 11 herbs and spices back from his evil Earth-3 counterpart. This was stupid, but damned if it didn’t embrace the Silver Age insanity of DC Comics and make it the DC-est and KFC-est story ever. Sometimes, you have to go whole hog, or whole chicken, as the case may be.
KFC: Across the Universe doesn’t quite accomplish what the other two did. This latest crossover features Colonel Harlan Sanders looking to expand his franchise operations through the planets of the DC Universe by test-delivering the new Zinger sandwich, only to have it stolen before it can ever get to Rann, Thanagar, and elsewhere. Enter Green Lantern, who whips up a duplicate ring (which seems to happen a lot lately) to recover the sandwiches from the GL villain most likely to do so. It ain’t Hector Hammond.
This…isn’t the wonder that the previous two KFC comics managed to be. The previous two books exploited a pair of classic DC covers and the madness of alternate realities, and then just overlaid that over a smooth-talking charicature of a restaurant founder. The prior specials were as much a celebration of DC Comics as they were an urge for you to lick your fingers. This one is just…well, it’s like somebody said “write a story about Colonel Sanders and Green Lantern” and this is what we got. It’s edible, but maybe a bit lukewarm and doesn’t satisfy the way our first excursion did. It certainly doesn’t have the adorable cameos of The Colonel Corps, beyond saying “nuts, we need to include Hawkman here.”
Across the Universe isn’t horrible–the art and writing are up to the standards of the average DC book–but it simply doesn’t recreate the delightful madness of the previous two. That’s OK, but it’s disappointing all the same. This might have been the year to bring “Rebirth” into things and, I don’t know, showing Doctor Manhattan conducting a cosmic breakdown of a sandwich. And anyway, this is going to be a promotional book at this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con, and it should be easy enough to find a digital comic eventually. Maybe at some point, we’ll get a Crisis on Infinite Colonels collection which brings them together into something shelf-worthy.
Rating: Two and a half spices out of five.