CREDITS: Written by Jordan B. Gorfinkel; art by Min Ku and Terry Austin.
REVIEW: You'd think a Mother Box would evaluate a potential user's worthiness before letting just anyone unlock its secrets, but this one was a Parademon's (do Parademons HAVE Mother Boxes?), but buy the premise, buy the bit. Maybe "Hot Rod" is indeed the worst humanity has to offer, so it wasn't much of a leap for a Box made on Apokolips. This venal criminal uses it to rob a liquor store, of all things, before moving on to delusions of grandeur. It's interesting, and some humor is squeezed out of translating the Mother Box's pings for our benefit (I guess it makes sense that the user would "hear" actual information when the computer starts pinging), its comforting, maternal words rather silly for Parademons to hear. But maybe it gives them comfort.
If the Fourth World stuff is slightly off-model, the fact we haven't really explored those elements in the DCAU gives the writer some liberty. I'm less forgiving of his Superman. To teach Hot Rod a lesson, he takes him to Apokolips and smugly stands there while the Mother Box is ripped from the crook and he's almost enrolled in Granny Goodness' orphanage. Sure, he's teaching him a lesson, but Apokolips is no joke, and it seems especially callous of him to even delay acting as soon as the Parademons nab Hot Rod.
Interesting bit at the Daily Planet, I thought, both in the way the reporters indicate what stories they're following during a staff meeting, and the funny banter about how strong Lois' coffee is. "Your coffee is out of order", I've got to use that around the office some time. They stress is so much that it seems like it should connect to the plot or the theme of the story, but no. It does make me want to see an issue focusing exclusively on the Planet though.
REREADABILITY: Medium - Some fun moments, but they don't really gel. The Superman moment on Apokolips is especially off-putting.