Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Non-Travel Related Stuff. Deal With It.

So rather than talk travel I'm going to review comic books again, because you demanded it! And by "you" I mean "no one". This week, I'm going over the various Super-person titles I've read. Yeah I know, Batman is much cooler, the X-Men are much X-ier, and the Avengers are getting an awesome movie this summer because SHUT UP IT CAN'T FAIL! Anyways, here are my assessments.

Superman -- There's a lot of Superman hate. This guy was one of the originals, and for a while he had so many superpowers (including weird things like super-basket-weaving) that it was a little insane. Or a lot insane. For some time in the eighties, the man (or Superman) could move planets if he needed. Seriously. Planets. There have been repeated attempts to tone that down, fortunately. Since DC hit the "Overcharge" -- er, I mean the "Reset" button on its titles, a few things have changed. Now Clark Kent's love for Lois is unrequited. In issue one she's with some other guy. Superman also has a new outfit, fulfilling the ancient comic tradition: If people get bored with your character, give him, or her, a new outfit. The kick off story, however, was a bit long, lacking, and somewhat confusing. Moreover, the resolution in issue six was based on information released in issue seven of Action comics. DC has been doing things like this more and more, revealing plot points that haven't happened yet. It's not even foreshadowing which is a valid literary device; it's just lazy use of inside baseball facts. Right now, Superman gets a 2 out of 5 whatevers from me.

Action Comics -- Conversely, Action Comics starring Superman takes off for me and doesn't stop. I attribute a lot of this to Grant Morrison, who remains one of my favorite comic book writers in this age. Even if he has a few misses, when he hits it's right on the money. Morrison even states that "Action" is the key word in this title and that's how the writing and art team is playing it. Well done, I say! In issue one; we're quickly introduced to all the important players in the Superman story -- Superman/Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Lex Luthor. We even get a few secondary characters thrown. The portrayal of Luthor is one of the best I've seen since Hackman. Seriously, if future writers want to follow a model of how to write Superman comics, this current run of Action is a prime choice. 5 out of 5 whatevers. Booyah!

Superboy -- After the first Crisis in which DC comics pressed the History Eraser Button (and subsequently gave themselves permission to keep hitting that button), the original Superboy -- teenage Superman was scraped. Well done. Thank heavens. However, in the ill-conceived Death of Superman series and aftermath, Superboy was re-introduced. However this time Superboy was a clone. Well now that DC has hit the History Eraser Button again, they've kept that origin more or less, but have hinted at a little more complex origin than before. Also, Superman isn't dead. Or hasn't died. Or ... who knows. Someone get DC away from that stupid button. Superboy lacks compared to Morrison's Action Comics, but it still rises about the Superman title. His modified origin gives him a bit of complexity, and the progression of his origin story has made for an interesting thread. I'm willing to see more. 4 out of 5 whatevers.

Supergirl -- This was another victim of the History Eraser Button's abuse, and though she was established in the last universe's iteration, like Superboy she is returning to comic books as if she's just arrived. Unlike Superman, she did not arrive nor has not been raised on this world as if it were her own. Thus she's a fish out of water. She's unused to this world and what it makes her. She tries to find her old home only to find it gone. There's even consequences involved in her past that is being revealed. And yes, she kicks major super rear. She only lacks Superman's experience. Time will tell if this story keeps and plays on its strengths. 3 out of 5 whatevers.

The differentiation between the Super-persons has been interesting. Each has his or her own unique story and origin worth exploring. Superman's is probably the most well known and thus lacks some leeway, but the others are decent additions. Well, until DC hits the History Eraser Button again.

Justice League -- Technically this isn't a Super-title, but it has Superman in it. The first six issues are essentially an overextended origin story for the Justice League and for Cyborg who was formerly a Titan. Really I'm only reviewing this title because I have this to say: Geoff Johns is the Michael Bay of comic books. His stories lack, his characters are one or two dimensional. He covers all this up with explosions. He regularly blows up plotlines or plot points as well. And some points are just tossed aside because -- well I don't know. Yes, I enjoyed this title a little, but really it's just not all that great. 2 out of 5 whatevers.