Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Superman 11 review

How's that for a cover line? I'm down to learn the 'secrets of the suit'. Why does the invulnerable Superman wear an armoured union suit? We know, courtesy of Action Comics, that it has morphing abilities, can take on different looks, but that's an aspect we've not seen Superman actively use. So what else can it do?

Oooh, excited.

As it happens, no secrets of the suit are revealed. We see in close-up how the 'Kryptonian bio-tech' manifests, and the issue ends with it damaged, so we may learn stuff next time, but this month? Nah. Don't buy this comic in the hope of learning about Kryptonian cross-stitching.

Do buy it if you want an extremely solid chapter in the adventures of the present day Superman. The mystery of the Russian sub from two issues ago is picked up, and our hero meets a most intriguing secret agent. And in the fisticuffs department, Superman learns not to assume every fight will be an easy one.

The superheroics are good stuff, but the highlight of the issue is Clark's dinner with Lois, sister Lucy and Lois' man pal from back in issue #1, Jonathan Carroll. I never saw it coming, but Lucy's intrigued by Clark, while Carroll proves not to be the cliche he seemed. And Lois and media baron Morgan Edge try not to scratch one another's eyes out.

With Grant Morrison tasked with laying down the new Superman status quo in his ongoing five-years-ago Action Comics story, it seems writer/artist Dan Jurgens has been told by DC to keep this book in a holding pattern. The villain is a generic Predator type and the soap, while superior, will be forgotten once it's hit the plughole. Still, so far as running on the spot goes, you could do far, far worse. This isn't the wet Superman of Justice League, or the inexperienced tyro of Morrison's run; it's the world's greatest superhero, using his powers imaginatively to defend people of all colours and creeds. He's not perfect, but he learns from his mistakes.

He's a good-looking chap too, as depicted in the dynamic compositions of Jurgens, which are finished by Jesus Merino, Vicente Cifuentes and Rob Hunter. Not as good-looking as he is on the cover, mind - years of working together means Jurgen and Norm Rapmund never produce less than superb superhero art. Their Superman is big, shiny - it's only the daft new costume that keeps him from looking iconic. He even has the old kiss curl sneaking in.

The colourwork by Tanya and Richard Horie, and Hi-Fi Design, is rather tasty - bright without hurting the eyes, and full of impact. Rob Leigh does a good job on the lettering, especially the title page design.
Jurgens has only a few more issues before Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort take on writing and art duties, and early publicity suggests that unlike Jurgens, and George Perez before him, they'll be allowed to instigate an actual direction. With stories that might even move the Superman legend forward. Lucky them. Meanwhile, Jurgens, like generations of Viennese waltzers, shows that going round in circles can be a lot of fun.

6 comments:

  1. I'm actually really excited about the new creative team. I've been enjoying Lobdell's books in the New 52 and Rocafort is an incredible artist in my opinion.

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    1. Oh, I'm most intrigued - it's just a shame talented creators before them were apparently hobbled creatively.

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  2. Great review Martin. On a sad note involving Jurgens, it seems DC is inexplicably cancelling JLI :(

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    1. Well, who wants a nicely written, wonderfully drawn Justice League book with likeable characters and teamwork?

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  3. I hope Lois marries Jonathon Carroll, just so she can become Lois Carroll :D

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