Superman, Superboy and Supergirl - up, up and, er ....


And finally, DC announces the post-Flashpoint Superman Family titles, and it's another mixed bag. Let's take a look and then I'll get back to some actual reviews on this so-called review blog. 
Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
This September, New York Times bestselling writer Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) joins with sensational artist Rags Morales to bring you tales of The Man of Tomorrow unlike any you’ve ever read before in ACTION COMICS #1. This momentous first issue will set in motion the history of the DC Universe as Superman defends a world that doesn’t trust their first Super Hero.
That's an interesting cover image, evoking the Depression years when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster dreamed up their hero. Guesses that this is a Year One scenario seem likely to prove correct, given the line about the history of the DCU beginning, and earlier comments from Morrison rounded up at Bleeding CoolHere's one quote: 'I’d like to do the early Superman, who just lifts trucks and who can be hurt by a bursting shell. I’d like to do something really interesting with that guy. The young, angry Superman.' I've never been a big fan of stories in which people who are obviously doing good are mistrusted (hello 50 years of Spidey), but as the new DC Earth seems JSA-less, Superman is repositioned as the first superhero, and it's likely people would be mistrustful, scared of a loose cannon with the strength of a god. And if Morrison manages to meld the Golden Age Superman to his own All-Star Superman sensibility, Action will be unmissable. As for the art, Rags Morales's muscular style could prove perfect for this project.
Superman #1 by George Perez and Jesus Merino
The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!

A startling new status that affects Lois Lane? Maybe he doesn't like girls. Seems unlikely, but it seems very likely that the Lois and Clark marriage is gone. I never thought they should have been wed in the first place, but always enjoyed it when writers such as Kurt Busiek wrote the marriage well. Sadly, few writers seemed interested in even trying, so bring on the single reporters. I enjoyed Superman the last time Perez wrote him (oh, I miss Maxima!) but who knows what set-up he'll have to deal with this time. And while I enjoy Merino's work, I'm disappointed Perez is only providing breakdowns. Still, I can't deny I'm excited to see what Superman's new world has to offer. Unlike ...
Supergirl #1 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Mahmud Asrar
Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behaviour of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!

Again? Really? We suffered years of a brattish, angsty Supergirl before Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle made Kara a likeable young woman. Now we're going back to the moody teenager? Supergirl is one of my favourite comic characters, but I really can't be arsed watching her go on this journey so soon after the last time. I'll give the first few issues a try - Green and Johnson actually wrote Kara very well in Superman/Batman - but if that blurb represents Kara's reborn character, I'm out. I'll miss the attractive art of Asrar, but at least I won't have to look at that dog's dinner of a new costume.
Superboy #1 by Scott Lobdell, RB Silva and Rob Lean
They thought he was just a failed experiment, grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon. SUPERBOY #1 will be written by Scott Lobdell with art by RB Silva and Rob Lean.

Well, that sounds like the Superboy of the Young Justice cartoons, the bad-tempered super-oaf. And it sounds like the current status quo, with sweet Conner Kent living in Smallville, surrounded by a fascinating supporting cast, is gone. Again, I'll give it an issue or several, but I suspect this isn't the comic for me, despite the excellent art team from the recent Jimmy Olsen series and Scott Lobdell's decent track record in writing teen heroes (Generation X).

So there you have it - the Superman titles have me intrigued, the Family spin-offs have me nervous. I may be surprised, and after a few issues of origin material the books will revert to a status quo similar to that of late. But I somehow think they won't, that when we're not talking of the successful Green Lantern and Batman franchises, DC's plans to reach out to new readers mean change for the sake of change. Feel free to convince me otherwise!

Comments

  1. "... DC's plans to reach out to new readers mean change for the sake of change."

    It does seem so, doesn't it? None of this feels - from this distance - to have been particularly well-planned. I know we're being told that this has all been planned for a very long time, but then we're also being given evidence of creators offered quite literally 24 hours to pitch, of folks being told they're on jobs and then others being announced, and so on.

    The problem is, if you're going to reboot/remodel/re-model EVERYTHING, then EVERYTHING has to shine.

    Still, maybe it will. But even little things like the 'cover-up' rule for super-heroines being contradicted by having Supergirl in her pants shows a lack of eye for the fine print, and the fine print's going to be central in an endeavour this complicated.

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  2. It comes down to a question of whether you can put your faith in it.
    I do wonder who the Architect is for this larest Superman relaunch - Grant Morrisons name and voice has been curiously muted in the whole affair so it doesn't seem to his name being championed as the showrunner and lead writer on the books.
    And You have to ask yourself "Why..."?

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  3. 52 DC Earths... 52 DC titles. A Morrison 'event' on the horizon titled 'Multiversity'. Is each book set on a separate earth? I guess we have to wait until Flashpoint tells us. I'm also not 100% convinced that this is permanent. I'm leaning toward 'massive stunt.' Especially with so many pokey artists involved... Jim Lee, Rags Morales, Ken Lashley etc.
    craig

    Still thankful for Legion...!

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  4. I completely agree, DC are making a huge rod for their own back by rebooting some characters and not everyone, Colin. We're back in a situation where we wonder which stories happened, how characters relate to one another, and so on. DC should have stuck with their existing history, or declared DCU Day One for everyone.

    Dave, I think Dan DiDio and Jim lee went into a bar ...

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  5. I suspect Supergirl's stance this time won't be brattish, but instead more aloof and otherworldly -- a nearly adult alien come to Earth, maybe more like the Eradicator.

    Doesn't make me more likely to buy her book, though.

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  6. How to attract young female readers: 1. Have a likable hero young females can relate/aspire to. 2. Market the heck out of it. 3. Don't cancel it so it builds momentum.

    Gates Supergirl, Miller Batgirl and Tobin Spider-Girl excelled at #1. Minx had 1 and 2. Who will get the trifecta?

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  7. I'm not sure how much planning really went into this universe-wide reboot, which makes me weary of the whole thing. There won't even be final issues for the characters I've been reading about for years. For example, there will be no closure for this version of Supergirl, who I have enjoyed reading about for the last three years. Next week, she starts a three-issue arc lasting through the summer, and that's the end of that. There wil be no double-sized finale capping off a wonderful run of stories and giving this version of Kara an iconic send-off. The last arc will end in August, and then this regressed, immature Kara returns to the scene. It's all happening too fast. There is no sense of closure, such as there was in the mid-1980s when many DC heroes had final issues and were rebooted (Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, etc.)

    I know a lot of people are excited about this, but I strongly feel that this version of Supergirl never needed to be rebooted. There has been such character growth over the last three years, along with a great supporting cast (Lana Lang, Inspector Henderson, Stephanie Brown's Batgirl, etc.). To throw all that away for a #1 issue that will provide a temporary bump in sales, before leveling off once again, is deeply disappointing. (Speaking of disappointing, where the heck is my Power Girl title? Frankenstein's Monster gets a book, but not Power Girl??)

    As for Superman: a fresh start is needed. People have been worried that Superman is no longer married to Lois Lane, etc., but really, when was the last time their marriage was even relevant? Superman has barely interacted with Lois since the New Krypton crossover. When was the last time Clark Kent even appeared? After almost three years of reading about a depressed, angry, mopey Superman in New Krypton and the endless Grounded story, it's time for Superman to be a feel-good hero again, someone who inspires hope and goodwill.

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  8. First of all Martin I've just got to say I MISS MAXIMA TOO! Perez's previous run on the Superman was great, Maxima's story and the the Brainiac story particularly come to mind. His run on Wonder Woman remains one of my all time favourites. However, his work on Silver Surfer and Giant Man failed to grab me. Still, I'm very optimistic about this.
    I'm sad to see him not doing art, but I'd rather see him do layouts with a competent artist like Merino and get a flagship book out on time.

    I'm one of the seemingly few fans who doesn't mind waiting for a quality comic to come out. If Perez was drawing anything I'd be happy if we got an issue every six months. But when you're talking about an ongoing Superman or Batman (for examples) title I really think you need to get it out monthly. That's why I'm a little worried about Lee being on Justice League.

    I'm also sorry at the possibility of Supergirl experiencing a relapse to her stroppy teen status. But we're resing a lot into the very little information that's been released so far. Still, I jumped ship after Gates & Igle left. Anyway, I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt and not panic until I've seen the finished product.

    I'm looking forward to Action too. And I'm womdering whether we may be looking at a Golden Age Superman with the eponymous Superman by Perez being some sort of descendant. They certainly don't look the same character from the covers.

    Finally, I hoep you're wrong about the JSA. They may not have a title but I can't see DC removing them from continuity altoghether.

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  9. There is no sense of closure, such as there was in the mid-1980s when many DC heroes had final issues and were rebooted (Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, etc.)
    Yes, That's another thing that's adding to the problem with accepting this as not just another gimmick, any lack of true closure.
    I don't get any sense DC have really thrown themselves 100% into commiting to this reboot and so have left the door open for a quick emergency exit back to the old status quo if/when required.
    They went to such effort to fully reconcile and intergrate their long continuity and history in recent years it's baffling to see them throw it all out again now.... if this new universe of titles doesn't gel quickly and cohesivly readers will not be buying into it in the longterm and the slapdash gimmick nature of it will stand revealed.
    Some argue continuity and consistency shouldn't matter, I say it does, as do most comicbook companys you look at out there.


    Finally, I hoep you're wrong about the JSA. They may not have a title but I can't see DC removing them from continuity altoghether.
    I'm still in disbelief they've dropped the JSA concept. And they HAVE dropped it, let's be clear on that. You'll have a Hawkman and Mr Terrific title with zero links to it, one of DCs mosr succesful books and they've wiped it out. Completly.

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  10. This whole DC reboot feels like a bad dream that I'm having, and all I have to do is wake up.

    This will be a disaster for DC because of the amount of fans it has alienated already. Many of them who loved Secret Six, Power Girl Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, Star Girl, Miss Martian, and many others.

    Supergirl's costume looks way too ornate and looks like a redesign just for the sake of a redesign. I want my Supergirl to be kind, smart, strong, and approachable, just like the way Sterling Gates wrote her. I don't want the "ice princess of steel."

    Oh well, at least there's She-Hulk...

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  11. Just reading Gene's list of lost characters... sure are a lot of female characters on just that short list. Strong female characters.
    c.

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  12. Rob, I'm with you, Supergirl shouldn't be aloof, she should be the super-girl next door. With luck, the Kara of the solicitations will be around for only a few origin issues, then we can move forward to where we currently are. Please?

    Keith, it seems obvious. I hope someone at the companies is reading this.

    Anonymous, well, you know I'm with you in not wishing to say goodbye to current Kara. It took so long to get her to a good place, why throw that away? As for the super-marriage, yeah, if you're not going to use it, lose it - bring on Lori, Maxima, Sally ...

    Mr Oddly, I think George Perez is on Facebook. Let's see if we can't get him to bring back Maxima. Heck, she's not even met Vartox yet - can you see that royal wedding? And it would be rather cool were the Morrison Superman a Golden Age version, perhaps on another Earth. That would explain the seriously naff jeans.

    Dave, it's amazing that DC seems to be trying to make a middling reboot work, begging zillions of questions for years to come. Have they learnt nowt from the post-Crisis era?

    Gene, that awful Supergirl costume, I still think it's a tad Five Year Gap Legion ... maybe she's flying into the future for an extended run. allowing Superman to be younger without her having to be an Arisia?

    CH, let's hope Zee, M'e'gg'an' and co are back in a jiffy.

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