I reviewed both Bat Man books so far (Detective Comics and Bat Man titles) but only one of the Superman titles...Action Comics. It is now time for me to explore the conundrum known as Superman...the flagship title of DC Comics and also the seeming impetus of this entire company wide overhaul. I won't go into my obvious love of the character...I have already spoken at great length about my fascination with this character. When I learned that George Perez was writing the NEW DC 52 incarnation of Superman, I had some slight concerns. I'm an old school fan of good comics. George Perez has been involved with some of the best comic books ever created (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman and New Teen Titans)...however I was not convinced he had the literary pedigree to take the reins on the world's greatest comic book superhero. With Grant Morrison completely owning Action Comics and re-defining Superman for a whole new generation...Perez's take was sure to underwhelm and come across as dated. Superman Issue 1 in the DCnU was exactly what I thought it would be. Not as interesting or as engaging as Action Comics. There appeared to be way too many caption boxes and maybe it was too wordy for its own good. I was quickly turned off by the story which was so heavy on characterization concerning the supporting cast that Superman was almost a non-entity. The story really is trying to signal the end of an era and it does so symbolically with the demolishing of the old Daily Planet building. Of course The Daily Planet is now being positioned as the new one stop shopping alternative for news (PGN or The Planet Global Network) and this is being spearheaded by Morgan Edge. Lois Lane in her new continuity incarnation is the executive vice president of new media; Jimmy Olsen is still the pavement beating, on the run and gun photographer and Clark Kent writes articles more focused on the social issues plaguing Metropolis not stories about his Kryptonian alter ego. The Planet Global Network is the nice, shiny phoenix that has risen from the ashes of the Daily Planet and Superman/Clark Kent is not happy with this change. It seems to signal a sinister, more opportunistic brand of journalism that he in no way endorses. When I first read this issue I was bored to tears by this storyline but now that I have had the chance to think about it, I find it intriguing and refreshing. Leave it to George Perez, a throwback artist and writer from the seventies and eighties, to include insightful and social commentary in a Superman book. Superman is then attacked by some kind of flame creature and afterward forced to meet Lois's new boy toy in an awkward late night visit. Some of these elements seem bland and disconcerting. If your are a Superman fan then you know that integrity is the name of the game. Some of Supes dialog did not ring true for me...nor did Lois's having a male visitor at her apartment after hours laying in her bed...I know this is a new, updated Superman but certain things make SUPERMAN....super. That being said...the writing was decent and enough to make me curious about issue two. I think it's important to mention here that after the release of the first issue it was announced that a new creative team would be taking over the Superman title after the seventh issue. I was mildly relieved. Most reviewers and fanboys on the net had universally panned Superman Issue 1 and declared it D.O.A. Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens would be the new guys at the helm after issue 7. This did not thrill me because I am left to wonder why Ivan Reis is drawing Aqua Man while Dan Jurgens will soon be replacing Jesus Merino to illustrate Superman. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me. Wouldn't it seem logical to put your best artist and writer on your most popular and pivotal character? Anyway...behold...Superman Issue 2. The day it was released I began to feel the excitement that fanboys feel on Wednesdays when the new books hit the shelves. Although I had been so disappointed in issue 1, I desperately wanted to enjoy Superman...so I bought Issue 2 as soon as I got off work and read it cover to cover. And you know what? I'm sold on George Perez and Jesus Merino. From a writing standpoint...I see now that George was setting up the playing field so that the story could breathe and run...this is what experienced old school writers do so that the story is tight and consistent going forward. As a consequence of the sometimes slow and plodding first issue...the elements that Perez establishes are the same plot points that I sought out issue 2 for. This is classic comic book writing. Now...as far as the art...I was not turned off by the art in issue one but it just didn't pop the way I wanted it to...perhaps I was still imagining someone like Quietly at the helm or Gary Frank. But Issue 2's gorgeous depictions of Superman battling an invisible foe were invigorating...using Perez's layouts, Merino finds ways to make Superman look brand new...the new costume is beginning to grow on me primarily because I like the way Merino is drawing it. This book feels like an old school joint that I used to pick up at the local drug store as a young chap...you know the kind before comics became so pretentious. There are some very cool scenes in issue two; one involves a conversation with Lois's father, General Lane. I read a few reviews saying that General Lane came off like Commissioner Gordon...but on the real tip, he reminds me of Thunderbolt Ross from The Incredible Hulk. General Lane does not like Superman and he's not shy about expressing his disdain. Superman is fully aware that this guy hates his guts and you can tell that it bothers Supes. I like that storyline, and I love the scene in issue 2 between these two. This will be a major source of my interest as I continue to pick up the Perez/Merino run. There is another scene between Clark and Lois that is also pretty interesting and begins to foreshadow their relationship dynamics. Clearly there's nothing romantic jumping off between Clark and Lois...and there have been small hints dropped that her and Supes have been messing around, but it seems all new and re-shuffled...I'm interested. The other high point that has me intrigued is we get to see a shot of Superman in his Fortress of Solitude. It's only a fleeting glimpse...but it's enough to spark my curiosity to keep reading this thing. And girls and boys...that's what comic books are all about. Superman is getting better all the time...and it's slowly but surely becoming my favorite read out of the entire NEW 52.
Superman Issue 1; Writing- B Art- B
Superman Issue 2; Writing- A Art- A
Labels: DC NEW 52 SUPERMAN