Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Superman #689 review

As TV host Morgan Edge stirs up anti-Mon-El hatred, our hero leaves Metropolis for a world tour. He's keen to see the sights before his predicted death from lead poisoning and en route meets not so much a 'who's who' as a 'who the heck?' of DC's international heroes. If they're not unseen-for-years obscurities such as Rising Sun and Freedom Beast they're new creations a la La Sangre and Sunny Jim.

The international rescues are all narrated by Mon, allowing us to get to know the current star of Superman's book better while seeing what's happening outside the US, sadly, a rarity in DC Comics. Writer James Robinson has fun with the idea that two British heroes, a toff and a tough, would team up as Class War (mind, why is the diamond-themed chap named Beaumont? Why not Diamond Geezer, an old British term . . . oh, hang on, he's the posh one. Still, why Beaumont?). He also comes up with a hero I'd love to see again, a German gumshoe with, er, 'a little invulnerability', Will Von Hammer. With just one splash panel and around 100 words, Robinson has me dying to see this guy again, a descendant of Enemy Ace and the very obscure Stormy Foster, the Great Defender. Maybe we could call him Enemy Dick. (Click for a better view.)

When not zapping around the globe we see the Guardian challenge Edge's tirades, Tellus say goodbye, the Prankster make himself useful and John Henry Irons show his Steelworks to a potential new security guard. Four B-plots, three cracking scenarios - Edge's rants are very much par for the course in the DCU, part Jack Ryder, part Vic Sage, all-dull. Hopefully Robinson will give Edge something more interesting to do soon.

The world tour, which takes in such sights as the Kremlin and Gaudi's Barcelona, is perfectly suited to penciller Renato Guedes' eye for architecture, and along with inker Jose Wilson Magalhaes and colourist David Curiel he gives us some terrific interpretations of DC's lesser-know heroes (including upcoming member of Robinson's JLA, Congorilla).

Good as they are, though, they can't make the villain of the last page look scary. Not in that outfit. Not in my lifetime.

6 comments:

  1. I'd read more about Will Von Hammer too!

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  2. That Von Hammer page looks like Howard Chaykin - both the artwork and the character type.

    But is it possible to have "a little" invulnerability?

    Looks like great stuff. Between yours and And-Ru's reviews, I'm tempted to pick this Mon El arc in trade.

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  3. ... or perhaps "pick UP this Mon El arc in trade".

    Whichever.

    (Lousy, stinkin' klown education)

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  4. Yes indeedy, I was trying to make the point about 'a little invulnerability' via the quotes. Should I have added a [sic]? I really hate [sic], never knew what it meant as a kid.

    Spot on re: Chaykin, maybe that's why I like him? He draws great older guys in suits. I want to be a Chaykin older guy in suit. Not with a gun mind, that's scary.

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  5. Use of "(sic)" makes you (sic) perhaps?

    Older Chaykin guys are always on the run from femme fatales. Always. It's the Chaykin law.

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  6. I loved this issue, even if it was just a "let's travel around and point out foreign super-heroes old and new" issue. I really love issues like that--and I hope that the DCU takes a vested interest in becoming more "global".

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