Friday, 27 November 2009

Superman #694 review

First off, the new costume as seen on Cafu's cracking cover. Mon-El looks deeply weird without a tunic. This was proven in the Nineties when he had a big stupid
M-shaped starfield on his chest, and again here. A tunic, with a centre split, would add interest but here the little blue S-shield, cute as it is, looks lost and awkward. If we can't have a tunic, a big slash down the centre would make the symbol look like it couldn't possibly be anywhere else, as demonstrated by Supergirl's superb Seventies look. As for the little blue trunks, brrrrr, they're so NOT Mon-El. And those seams - eek!

Something else Mon-El has in common with Seventies Supergirl is the on-again, off-again super-powers. Fortunately he has his Daxamite abilities for most of the time here, as he battles Bizarro, who shows up so often these days that he's lost his charm. Here, for example, there's neither the comedy nor the poignancy that makes for a good Bizarro appearance, he's simply someone to bash.

Half of this issue is another of those scenes which have become a terrible cliche in the Superman Family of books - the Talk to Ma Kent moment. Can't relate to ordinary folk? Talk to Ma. Not handling the stress of big city life? Talk to Ma. Need a cure for cancer? Talk to Ma. Honestly, there's nothing that woman doesn't know. Here Mon-El fears he's letting the absent Superman down but she channels the wise ghost of Jonathan Kent and he soon feels better. She also knocks up the new costume - as seen in the current Superman: Secret Origin, there's nothing the old gal likes better than putting young men in too-tight pyjamas that'll get them laughed at.

After the recent revelation that future Legion of Super-Heroes teammate Sensor Girl is watching over him disguised as science Police colleague Wilcox, another supporting cast member stands revealed as a Legionnaire, and old timers like me will be slapping their heads and yelling, 'of course it's him.' I am, though, sad for Mon-El - doesn't anyone like him for himself?

The revelation does bring my favourite moment of the issue, though - the expression on Mon's face, despite being strangled, as he sees this future friend in action for the first time. That's the work of Javier Pina, who draws some mighty fine battle shots and quieter moments (during which enigmatically named colorist Blond acquits themselves well in terms of Adventure Comics skies).

Robinson's script is souffle light and tasty, though I wish he weren't tying in so much to Geoff Johns' Legion of Three Worlds leftovers. Great as it is to see 'my' Legion I want to see Mon-El have space to become his own man rather than have the future hook him like a super-salmon.

Not to worry, I had a good time with this comic - you can't say fairer than that.

6 comments:

  1. You know I adore Mon-El. It's been a real problem to ignore getting all the books he's lately been in. But I saw the cover to this with the new costume and--no, thanks! That's not Mon-El. Mon-El has a little style to him.

    What, is this bad new costume month? I mean, what with Donna Troy in her new, flouncy dress in WW...

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  2. There's something very, very weird about Supergirl's leg in that pic....

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  3. That costume is like those red long-underwear suits you see in old westerns -- I kept wondering if the trunks had a flap in the back. (And I was shocked to see that the whole uniform is in fact a one-piece!)

    Honestly, with Gary Franks' cool designs of the Legion costumes, I wish comics would get rid of men's trunks altogether and just use pants (think of how cool the new Dr. Fate costume looks for proof that his is a good idea all around).

    But huzzah for Tenzil outing himself!!!!

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  4. I don't like this picture at all. It's strangely flat and empty. The face has almost no contours and no expression. Second rate cover all round.

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  5. Hi Brainy, apparently flaps in the seating area are very popular in Germany!

    Oh hang on, that's the front . . .

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  6. Fudgey, that Supergirl pic is by Bob Oksner, usually a humour artist at DC but also the producer of beautiful superhero stuff. This example was from 1971.

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