Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Superman #6 review

It's Superman vs Supergirl. Again. We first saw this match only four months back, in Supergirl #2, but here it is once more.

There are differences. That time Kara Zor-El, new to Earth, was lashing out against its greatest defender. Now she's protecting the citizens of Metropolis as Superman lashes out against the city.

And in fact, this isn't Superman at all, but a human-sized batch of alien nanites out to transform Earth into a copy of its lost homeworld. We learn this when the real Superman, who had been cast out into space, returns to Earth to help Supergirl who, despite her considerable powers, is caught offguard by the imposter's savagery.

Superman drags the fake across the world to icy wastes where he proceeds to beat him down with the scariest power of all - super-exposition.

This really is one wordy fight scene, as Superman explains to the suddenly confused imposter why it's been smashing up Metropolis, killing criminals and generally besmirching his hard-earned good name. Superman's knowledge is a result of sharing the being's memories while out in space. The scene - and an earlier solo infodump enjoyed by Superman - makes sense of the last five issue's worth of weird alien attacks but it's a tad convoluted, and doesn't make for the most elegant battle ever.

But ... last week I was having a right old moan about not understanding what was happening in Wonder Woman #6, so it would be a bit rich to out and out condemn this issue for its big dollops of explanation. Writer George Perez is determined we'll understand all, and DC generously gives his story room to breathe - this is 23pp for $2.99, not the line-wide standard of 20pp.

It turns out that the pseudo-Superman ties into the Collector of Worlds storyline currently playing out, in fits and starts, over in Action Comics. That's where, in a fortnight, we'll see what happened years ago that led to this storyline.

It's all a bit baffling - DC wants new readers for the New 52 Superman revamp, but rather than let Action Comics play out its Five (or maybe Six) Years Ago story, and do something separate here, they tie the two together. Instead of two discrete, satisfying tales we get interconnected ones that are awfully drawn-out. And when it seems this comic's strand is played out, there's an epilogue by the coming new creative team tying things to Stormwatch and the Daemonites inherited from Wildstorm Comics.

It's all a bit much. If you want to be reader friendly, DC, shorter stories are the way to go. Multi-parters linked to other multi-parters tying into continuity from the Wildstorm Universe, isn't. The New 52 should feel refreshing, not cluttered.

Judged on its own merits, Superman #6 is pretty decent. Perez's script is well-paced, if not perfect. Never mind the big talk scene, I could really have done without references to a reporter soiling his pants when dropped from a height by Fake Superman - what is this, the Poo 52?

But Perez handles Supergirl well, following the lead of her own title by making her ever more a hero of Earth. His Lois Lane is the capable, caring journalist she should be. In fact, the entire large cast is choreographed well. And I like Superman referring to heat vision and super-hearing as 'optic fire' and 'auditory power' - that's Clark Kent, noted overwriter, that is. My favourite moment this issue sees Kara applauding Kal after he defeats the pretender - it's a turning point in the relationship between two people who might be close, but are yet strangers (click on image to enlarge).
The pencils and inks of Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott (are they perhaps related? Probably not) make for a very good-looking superhero book. Nicola's well-composed pages, replete with excitement and emotion, are sleekly - but not coldly - finished off by Trevor. Brett Smith adds another layer of excellence with eye-catching colour work. The Super-Cousins look excellent, even allowing for the dodgy new outfits. And in a nod towards the fact that these books are meant to appeal to women as well as men, Nicola ensures neither Lois nor Kara are super-busty.

As for that final page, it's the work of writers Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens. The latter provides layouts for finisher Jesus Merino, and it's very professional, but not my cup of tea. I'm already sick of Daemonites, and I don't even read Grifter or Voodoo.

Perez signs off with an impressive cover image, attractively coloured by Brian Buccellato. This is Perez's last issue and while the new Superman comic hasn't set the world on fire, within the constraints of the relaunch I suspect he's done a better job than we'll ever know. 

39 comments:

  1. I agree. I think Perez did a good job with what is, imo, a poor set-up for Superman in the new DCU.

    I'm going to be honest here. I think the choice to drastically change Superman (kill off the Kents and end the marriage) was a terrible idea long term.

    I think there were people who got caught up in the excitment of Action Comics and the idea of a prequel and Morrison and all that "new" and "shiny" stuff but the reality is that I just don't think it was a good idea long term for this mythos.

    I really think long term the best choice would have been to really find writers who were capable of writing the marriage the way it deserved---because when it was in the hands of GREAT writers (like Rucka, Simone, Busiek etc.) there was no more beautiful representation of love in the entire DCU.

    Now, DC has ruined that. Is the new dynamic between Lois and clark interesting? Yes. Are people curious as to what is going on? Yes. Do I think that this is the right choice long term? No. Lois and Clark belong together and ultimately I think the book would be stronger if they still were together. The longer they are kept apart the more the present book feels...empty and vacant in a way that feels very off.

    Supposedly Jurgens and Giffen are introducing new love interests for Clark in the upcoming arc.

    Frankly, I think that's going to go over like a load of bricks. I think it's a terrible idea. I understand WHY they are doing it. I understand the idea behind it. They want people to question and wonder and even rage about it or accept "change." I see WHY they think it might be something fresh. But I think it's going to go over poorly.

    It hasn't even happened yet and it already feels very wrong to me. Call me a purist, but I really have no desire to see Superman in the arms of another woman.

    I think Perez deserves more credit than he gets. He did the best he could with what I think is a very flawed situation for Superman in the new 52.

    Time will tell. The Smallville Season 11 comic book is going to be released in April. If that book does well (with many people predicting it will) I think DC is going to have a tough reality on their hands in terms of the CHOICES that they made with Superman in the new 52. They made some choices that were risks and I'm not sure those risks are going to pay out long term.

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    1. There were a lot of people excited about the "newness" of the books--particularly coming off the awfulness that was New Krypton and Grounded. But the bloom is coming off the rose.

      I have several friends who were ready and willing to accept the changes to Superman (even though they didn't like them) but have recently been lamenting what DC did.

      I know several people who have been buying the Superbooks because they were giving them a chance who are ready to drop them.

      I think the excitement of the "new" distracted people from the crappiness of the last 3 years of bad stories at first. I was one of those people. I was sort of won over by the idea of "fresh" even though I didn't like the idea of losing the marriage or changing Superman so drastically.

      But the longer it goes on...the more it just feels off. The more it feels empty. The more it feels like it was just a really crappy decision.

      I miss the marriage. I miss the Kents. I miss Lois as a reporter out in the field as opposed to behind a desk. I don't like what DC did to Superman and I think long term it might bite them in the ass. Sales are already leveling out as the "new" wears off.

      Just my opinion! Great review and I share your love for Perez in a tough spot.

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    2. Thanks for the comments - incisive stuff. I was never much up for the latest Superman reboot. To my mind there was nothing much wrong that couldn't be fixed by strong, ongoing creative teams and a few original choices here and there.

      But the decision was made to make Clark and Lois single again and, that being the case, I'm happy for them to have the occasional date with someone else. Who knows, we may get a modern story to rival the introductions of Lyla Lerrol, Sally Selwyn or Lori Lemaris? Poor Lois, I don't think she ever got a decent 'first love' story. Metallo? Eep.

      It took me years to get used to the Kents being alive, and now I miss them like mad. I loved Smallville being a little haven for the Superman Family. I hated that story which saw Brainiac kill Pa.

      I'm not sure of the timescale but as happened after the Crisis, I expect bits of old Superman lore to return, bit by bit. Sooner rather than later, as no one has any patience these days. I don't expect DC to marry Lois and Clark any time soon, given how generally badly written the marriage was. As you say, hurrah for the writers you mention - Busiek especially; I loved everything about his run.

      One bit of good news - solicitations hint that Lois is leaving the Producer's chair. I'm sure they can find a nice Josh to take over ..

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  2. All I cal tell you is that when I read how well Aquaman and Mera were written this month my thought was....that should have been Lois and Clark. They deserved it. They deserved to be treated better than they were.

    I'm 27 years old and in the prime demo. I have no interest in Lori Lemaris at all. None. No interest in Lyla or Sally either. Im a woman. Lois Lane was my idol growing up. I was not alone. I am one of many women who adore her. My interest in Superman wanes when she is downplayed. Lois was a feminist icon for many of us and one of the only examples of a character that exhibited the modern balance that we all fight for between work and love.

    DC's failure to treat Lois and Clark as they deserved wasn't just an insult to the narrative--- it was an insult to women in the genre that looked at Superman as one of the only male driven narratives to really present the idea that women were valued. Not replaceable. Not interchangeable variables. Not random love interests. That's all lost now.

    In the last 25 years, the books went forward for equality. And now they feel like they've gone back.

    I'm truly glad for you if you are ok with that. But in not. The marriage was sacred to me. I won't read Superman without Lois treated with the respect she deserves and I'm not interested in the book if there is another love interest inserted. They lost me. I wanted to stay. I tried. I bought the books. But as a woman, I can't support what they've done.

    DC failed Lois and Clark. They deserved the kind of writing Geoff Johns is giving Aquaman. The marriage didn't fail. DC failed the marriage. I tried. But I think im done.

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    1. I'm really sorry you feel that dissolving the marriage somehow disrespects Lois and insults female readers. As Rob says below, the Perez book has treated her very well; she's portrayed as brilliant at her job, a natural leader. And she's been a great friend to Clark. The latest issue shows that her feelings for him are stronger than she knew. I've no doubt L&C are en route to their happy endings and I hope that as they're not dating, they will meet fascinating folk for a date or two.

      Me being (ahem) older than 27, marriage isn't the norm for this pair, so the mental switch back to unwed L&C isn't difficult.

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  3. Thank you for the thoughtful commentary btw. Sorry I can't agree with you. Believe me, I wish I could.

    I am, however, going to buy Smallville Season 11. Because despite it all, I do respect that that show treated the women as valued equals. And I will support a book that keeps Lois and Clark together. (Something BQM is committed to doing. I don't think he has a high opinion of what was done.)

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    1. I hope the book's great, it certainly has a good writer and artist. At some point, of course, they'll try for romantic intrigue by breaking Lois and Clark up for awhile ... but hang on in there!

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  4. I admit I was surprised and a bit hostile towards them ending the Clark and Lois marriage (big Smallville fan),but I got over it pretty quickly. I'm more curious to see how they go along with this new Superman story and yes I know that DC only rebooted their comics to draw new readers. But, it worked, I'm a new reader and I am definitely drawn towards these comics.

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    1. I love Smallville too mainly for the relationships. I liked what they did with Clark's relationship with Martha and Jonathan, his relationship with Lex and his relationship with Lois by the end. I thought it was well done in that sense. Were there dropped plot threads and things I didn't like? Yes. But I ultimately loved the show due to the people and the relationships which were extremely sincere. (IMO.)

      But I've been a fan of the marriage for much longer than Smallville. I've been a fan since 1990 when they got engaged.

      My father also gave me the Superfamily books when I was a kid and they were married in those books too from the late 70's through the 80's. So they have been married in some form for a long time now.

      The problem though is that while you may be a 'new" reader....you are not in huge company.

      DC failed in bringing in new readers. That was clear from the Neilson survery that just came out. They basically went over the same demo that they always did and brought in very few new readers.

      That's going to be a problem long term. That's why the way the industry has treated women and children has been such a controversial issue---because the industry is in trouble. The new 52 was a band-aid on a wound that is still deep and still needs to be repaired.

      The Smallville Season 11 book is actually really important for a few reasons. Smallville (much like shows like "Lois and Clark" and the Animated Series before it) brought in a much larger audience and DC wants to try and touch some of that.

      Now, the problem (a problem DC seems to be tone deaf to) is that Smallville achieved a lot of it's success by recognizing that the demo was wider than just men between the ages of 18-34.

      The women on Smallville were treated as important and valued to the narrative. I didn't always LIKE all of them but that doesn't mean I didn't APPRECIATE that they were there and what they meant to the story and to the genre.

      The show ended in Season 10 with 3 very strong women in the narrative. 4 if you count Martha. Lois, Chloe, Tess and Martha. I personally liked Lois and Martha the best and I loved the way Durance and O'Toole played them. But ALL the females on that show were really important because they showed that you could have a narrative with Superman at the center and still treat females like valued equals in the story. And the women in question didn't have to have "superpowers" to be equals in the story. That was kind of huge.

      Smallville also, for all it's faults, did a rather brilliant job with the relationship dynamics between Lois and Clark and Clark and his parents.

      The digital comic is important mainly because the industry is on the decline and DC has to understand why and how they can get new readers. My instinct is going to be that they aren't going to really learn this until they recognize that they cannot keep treating female readers like second class citizens and they cannot keep their target demo so narrow to the exclusion of women, people of color, gay people, children, etc. They have to really make an effort to expand.

      Also, I will say this....I am always happy to see a new Superman story written well and I hope the book is good going forward. But I will never truly forgive what DC did to Lois and Clark or the piss poor way it was handled in the press by Didio. That's going to be a stain on the company for along time for me. And I'm not alone in that. There are websites out there for Superman/Lois with thousands of registered members and there is a lot of bruised feelings right now that I don't see going away anytime soon. Thesse people don't visit places like CBR or the DC boards because they don't like the sexism on those boards. But believe me...the bruised feelings are there and it's going to be a problem going forward.

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    2. I've never been a fan of the Smallville show. Lord knows I tried, but even when you'd have interesting guest stars, there'd always be joyless Clark in there. Lord knows how Tom Welling managed to avoid topping himself after a decade of daily whining.

      So I'm not sure about the relationships. I liked Martha, Lois was fun, Chloe was OK apart from her clever-clever dialogue. And Lana, gee whiz, she was even more of a misery than Clark. Actually, interest in Clark made sense, if you remember that 'misery loves company'; why the bright, go-getting Lois would like Clark, I've no idea.

      No, the L&C show for me is the Hatcher/Cain affair - now that was a fun coupling.

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    3. PS I wish I could program this blog to colour code for Anon 1 and Anon 2 - but thank you both for a great conversation!

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    4. If you don't understand why Lois fell in love with Clark on Smallville...then you need to rewatch their scenes on the show.

      Because it was more than clear to me why. Their connection was established from the first day.

      Lois loved Clark because he was kind and because he was the only man in her life to truly make her feel like she was valued and special. She also loved him because ultimately Lois believed in the concept of heroism and of hope above all else and she looked for that goodness in romantic partners. It was well established on the show that Lois had felt that her father's duty to the world was more important than she was. She went through the same thing with Oliver. Oliver didn't love her enough to truly make her feel valued.

      Clark treated her like an equal. Not an object or a burden. He showed her kindness when other men left her and he made her laugh. He was a different man around her than he was around other people--able to take her jokes and run with them and joke back.

      Lois loved Clark for the same reason Lois always loves Clark in canon---because Lois has been taught that all men will betray her and leave her---and yet Clark proves her wrong.

      I'm really not trying to be argumentative. I just think your opinion about Clark/Lois on Smallville isn't supported by the show.

      I love Cain and Hatcher a lot.

      But I don't think you are being fair to Clark on Smallville at all. Particularly in the later seasons. There was a lot of joy to be had between Lois and Clark whenever they were together. They were, imo, the best part of the show.

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    5. I can't seem to answer your posts seperately, but the site doesn't seem to let me do that or maybe it's just my stupidity. Who knows.

      Martin Gray.

      I can understand your desire for strong female characters. I've felt that in plenty of other shows I've watched. The women either being kidnapped, beaten, or some other embarrasing thing until the man comes and rescue them. Trust me , I share the same desire. But it's only issue #6 and we haven't seen a lot of Lois yet, so we might get to see her character more in the future. As for the bruised feelings, hey it's not like you can please everybody.

      Anonymous.

      I saw the connection between Lois and Clark when they first met, but don't forget in Smallville, it took eight seasons (and some of season nine) for them to get together. Seeing them as a couple was fun, but the progression in their relationship from when they first met was also fun and something I really enjoyed. I'm just trying to enjoy their relationship now in the comics, and they'll possibly fall in love again later in the future.

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    6. Yeah, the specific Reply business is very spotty, which is annoying. Thanks for the patience.

      Anonymous two posts up: thanks for going into detail about the development of the romance on the telly. I won't go back looking to catch up, though - I've generally seen about two eps per season and while I like Chloe, the Kents and Green Arrow, and the JSA bits, well, I've told you what I reckon to Clark and Lana. And Erica Durance's Lois is too cheerleader for me. Just personal taste.

      Also, I want to smash the set every time the Jor-El thing turns up. How the heck can a hologram be programmed to converse with people decades after its maker died? And why does everyone pay attention to the arrogant thing?

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  5. I'm not certain that I agree that Lois isn't being treated as a "valued equal" in this book, despite the dissolution of their marriage. Much of the narrative seems driven by the editorial decisions she's made -- including utilizing the resources at her disposal to save Superman in issue #2, IIRC, and maybe in issue 1 as well -- and I'm personally more wrapped up in what she'll do next that what's next for Superman himself. There's been a lot of focus on journalism in this version of Superman, and Lois is at the heart of that.

    That said, I'd rather see her kick ass on the front lines as a reporter rather than behind the scenes an editor. (Which, oddly enough, is the opposite of my preference for Barbara Gordon.)

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    1. Thanks as ever, Rob, Perez really has been fair to Lois, playing the hand he's been dealt. I don't doubt Jurgens and, especially, Giffen will continue to give us a Lois as strong in her own way as Superman is in his.

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    2. I think Perez has tried to be fair to Lois within the constraints of what he's been given. I agre with that.

      But Matt Idelson has admitted on the Superman homepage that Lois was put behind a desk in order to sort of get her out of the competition with Clark.

      She was put behind the desk to put distance between them so they could try to destroy the sexual tension.

      To me, Lois was written as a very reactive player in Superman. Yes, she was still strong and compassionate and wise and all the things we love about Lois. But instead of acting...she was reacting. Instead of going out and doing something...she was talking about it after the fact.

      It was an editorial choice to try and push her to the side to create distance between Lois and Clark in order to be able to push new love interests.

      And, as a woman, I don't really appreciate seeing the 1st woman of Action Comics basically shoved behind a desk to make it easier for the main character to date around. Lois deserves better than that. And I miss the professional relationship between Lois and Clark as much as I miss the marriage.

      I like Perez. But I'm sorry guys..I just can't agree that the relaunch has been good to her. I think Perez did the best he could. But I don't like it.

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    3. As a woman, I don't appreciate seeing the 1st man of Action Comics, a man with Superman's gifts and brains come off as an insecure, moping man with half a brain. Lois is strong in the book. She's has a good career. She's actually in high position that is often given to males, she's confident in her personal relationship. She doesn't whine and mope like the so call hero of the book.

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    4. Thanks Gina, it's good to hear comments from another woman in the demographic that I'm so not a part of. And I agree.

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  6. Oh, and thanks for reminding us of the Superman Family stories featuring Mr and Mrs Clark Kent - they were enormous fun. It wasn't the 'real' ie then current continuity - couple but what the heck.

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    1. Oh, man, they were a blast! I loved those stories, silly as they usually were. Oh, if only we had Schaffenberger drawing those romps again...

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    2. Well, they were "real" in the sense that that was the Golden Age canon. I think people forget that sometimes. It's why it bugs me when people say that Lois and Clark were "only married" in the modern age.

      First off, they got engaged in 1990. So it wasn't just the 15 year marriage when that was on the table. It was over 20 years of that plotline.

      Second, the Earth 2 marriage is supposed to be the Golden Age continuity. So the Golden Age ended with them married too.

      If you consider the fact that "whatever happened to the man of tomorrow" was written to be the "farewell/ending" story to the pre-crisis/Silver/Bronze Age Superman then it stands to reason that they've actually ended each age of comics married. Not just the modern canon.

      But I agree! Great fun!

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  7. I don't share your opinion about Smallville, but that's ok. I actually think people are way too hard on the show and I think the opinion that Clark was "joyless" and only ever "whined" is not really backed up by what transpired on the show year after year. I think that the middle seasons 5-7 were "dark" years for the character where the writing for him was very poor but I thought he had a lot of really good moments in other seasons.

    I think the show had a lot of problems. But one of the things that I liked about the show was that I thought it did a good job of presenting Clark Kent as a real man with flaws and anger and a temper and emotions in a way that felt very real.

    And I certainly don't want to insinuate that I think your age had something to do with it because I know several older people who loved the show. (My Dad is over 50 and he liked it.)

    But I do think that the show managed to get the heart of my generation (I'm in my 20's) in a way that was important to the growth and survival of the character.

    And I really don't think it's fair to say that Clark was "joyless" at all. I actually think that the relationship between Lois and Clark was filled with joy and humor and fun which is why i liked it.

    I loved the Cain/Hatcher show too. But it's not really a good comparison. The Clark Kent on that show was very much the John Bryne Clark. Despite feeling alone until he met Lois, he had a pretty good life. Both of his parents were alive. He was a popular kid in school. He played college football. He explored the world. He didn't even know he was an alien until he was 27 years old.

    Whereas, the Clark on Smallville was more a mixture of different eras. He learned of his alien heritage at a much younger age. He lost his father when he was 17. He suffered people dying around him and being hurt around him for years. He was betrayed by his best friend etc.

    I'm not saying one is better than the other. At heart, I think both versions are very similar in their humanity. But I do think you can't really compare the two without recognizing that Smallville was a more tragic narrative wherein Superman faced a lot more tragedy at a much younger age. Smallville's Clark had more challenges to overcome as a child than L&C's Clark did. I'm not saying one is better than the other....but it does make Smallville Clark's hesitation more understandable when you consider the different life circumstances.

    Personally, I like them both for different reasons and I relate to both on a human level for different reasons.

    I love Teri Hatcher. But, personally, I think Erica captured the "raw" nature of Lois a little bit better and by the end of the series had transformed into a nice mix of the raw/rough around the edges of Margot Kidder and the humor and kindness of Teri's Lois.

    I like all the Superman properties for different reasons.

    Either way, Smallville had a huge impact on my generation. Certainly much more than comics did. It would be unwise for DC to ignore that impact going forward as we should be the future of the industry if the industry is going to survive.

    (This is Anon#1 btw) Thanks again!

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    1. Please don't say Smallville had a huge impact on your generation because I am part of that generation and it was a terrible represenatation of growing up and not accepting responsibilities. If DC was smart, they would ignore Smallville's influence of a grown man, who couldn't grow up, whose lack of taking responsibility had terrible consequences time and time again.

      Erica Durance was the worst Lois and a terrible representation of woman. She slept with her boss at the Daily Planet. What kind of respectful woman has an affair with her boss? Even Lois in the comics never did that. Not to mention she had a relationship with Green Arrow and put down Clark alot before she got with him. She was like a super hero groupie. Pathetic Smallville.

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    2. I missed whatever episode had Lois sleeping with the boss. Presumably not Perry White? Then again, knowing Smallville Perry was possible a 20-year-old underwear model.

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  8. That's a really interesting point about Clark and Lois ending all three previous closed-off continuities as man and wife. It's rather heartwarming.

    And I'd not heard that bit about Matt Idelson deliberately trying to sideline Lois. Didn't work - her character comes through anyway. And she's going to be back on the streets soon!

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    1. If Idelson is trying to sideline Lois, he's doing it all wrong. She's central to the book.

      I'm fine with a married Superman and a single Superman, but currently more intrigued by a single Superman, since I don't know exactly where they're going with it. All roads lead to Lois, but the length of those roads and the side-trips along the way interest me... and their potential is part of what has kept me interested in the book. This first storyline never really popped, and were it not for the soap opera nature of the changes (not just their marriage, but Lois's new job and the conflicts that brings), I likely would have bailed after issue 3 or 4.

      It's great that all those versions of Superman have ended up married: I want Superman and Lois to get that happy ending, or even happy middle. But I think it's also worth noting that none of them have started that way.

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    2. So you'd be happy with Sally and Luma and Lori too!

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    3. Bring 'em on!

      But even better: NEW characters. Cat Grant breathed some life into the Byrne-era Superman books. Any time a new, non-powered supporting character is introduced in a superhero comic, an angel gets its wings.

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    4. Ah Cat Grant. Possibly the only member of the Superman supporting cast never to get temporary super-powers. I still think of her as a rebooted Lola Barnett, as Steve Bard became Steve Lombard. Maybe.

      Just found an interesting piece on Ms Grant:
      http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/1549078.html

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    5. (Just caught up with this comment now!)

      That's a great article on Cat Grant. To me, I think the turning point for Cat was Tracy Scoggins vamping her up on Lois & Clark. It was there, I think -- though I haven't seen those shows since they were first broadcast, so I could be misremembering -- when she went from a three-dimensional character to someone less relatable, and more of a plot device. Which is a real loss.

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    6. No, you're right. As written for Lois and Clark, Cat was a one-dimensional tool.

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  9. I'm very sad to see Perez go. I agree the exposition during the fight was forced, but man, if you like to spend time reading, and I mean reading, as in reading words as opposed to the art, Perez is the man. He gives you your $2.99 worth (and the extra pages during his run were nice, kind of the opposite of the filler often presented in JLA and Action).

    I don't hold it against them that they tied this in to the Collector of Worlds storyline in Action; it was pretty tangential (the nanites hitched a ride back with Supes when he wrapped that challenge up, then presented an all new challenge Perez wrote). I liked the continuity given it was not in any real way critical to the storyline itself.

    But yes, I see very little reason to get Superman involved in the Grifter/Voodoo/Blackhawks storyline. Yuck.

    Oh, and while we are noting strong Superman writers of the past let me put my plug in for Waid. His Birthright was one of the best Superman comics I've ever read...

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  10. Oh, and I tried mightily to get into Smallville too, but just could not take the first season's weekly "Kryptonite falls out of somewhere/Clark is incapacitated by it/Kryptonite is removed/Clark takes care of business" formula.

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  11. Oh Lordy, the Cackhawks are in there too?

    Too harsh? I'm a big Blackhawks fan, but the first issue of the new series was enough for me. What a mess!

    I liked Birthright well enough at the time but can't remember anything about it other than Clark wandering the world and seeing vegetable auras. Or something!

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    1. I read the TPB which had some excellent, insightful essays on the Superman mythos in the back, perhaps that was why I liked it so much...

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    2. Oh darn, I love this sort of thing ... wonder if I can find them online.

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  12. This book was one of the ones I was looking forward to most, but now it sits on the bottom of the stack each month... The only things that saved it was the fact Jurgens was coming aboard and that Superman is just someone I can't quit.

    Then I realise I was about to give up on a George Perez book and I wonder what's gone wrong with the world...

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    1. New directions imposed too speedily, for one thing, Dan ... looking at Action and Superman together it seems DC have less idea of where to take Superman than they initially claimed.

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