A new villain poses a new threat to Superman . . . so why does it feel like 1995?
After his encounter with Helspont, Superman is back to business rescuing a Russian submarine. There’s some subplot that’s introduced by the Russian sailors, but while we can read it, surprisingly, Superman cannot hear it. Clark returns to the Daily Planet, and is again thrown into the flux of the office, having not picked up Lucy Lane, interacting with Jimmy, and continuing to remind us that he and Lois Lane share NOTHING. A new villain in the form of Anguish, means that Clark needs to leave, and in fighting with her, he soon learns that her intangible nature makes her untouchable, while she’s able to deal out not small amount of punishment. This is couple with the breaking news that Superman has a secret identity, which has been discovered and is being broadcast on the news, but the man shown isn’t Clark Kent.
Nine issues in to the first year of the New 52 Superman, and we’re still getting either average or lackluster stories. Fortunately, this one was average . . . if we were still in the 1990s. Then the thrust to make Superman more earthbound could be understood, but not in 2012, and especially not after the reboot. For instance, Superman doesn’t understand how to use longitude and latitude? Really? He’s been flying around the planet for 5 years now, and has been arriving in the right place using a GPS? There’s no need to make him stupid, and since we assume that characters like Aquaman, Batman, Flash, and Captain Marvel, can all find their way around pretty easily from place to place, I don’t see why we need to have Superman in a “Duh” moment.
The villain is prosaic; an updated, or rather, downgraded version of Livewire from Superman: The Animated Series, whose electric touch was lethal to Superman, but he had trouble hitting her. There have been too many stories on how to beat villains of this nature, the most basic is to strike when they hit, as they must be solid to touch you. Superman could have used super-speed to attack from behind, but instead, he chose heat vision because it looks cool. He doesn’t use sonic to attack her hearing, or super-breath to attempt to push her back, or freeze-breath to slip her up. No, he fights as one-dimensional as when he was written by Dan Jurgens in the 1990s. No slight intended, but this was unimaginitive and weak storytelling.
The art of the issue is its saving grace, and despite the fact that Superman may be unimpressive, he’s drawn well doing the mundane. The irony is too great to ignore. Giffen and Jurgens are said to be coming off the book soon, and I believe that is a good thing. Readers deserve to see the New 52 Superman, who has yet to be written, unless he’s just the trunk-less costume. In that case, we’ve seen more than enough.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Great art||Flat story, development, and a dumb Superman is never entertaining|
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