I’ve minced no words about my extreme disappointment with Superman in the New 52. Action Comics was a trip on lemon juice and baking soda, while Superman was a perforated piece of ether. I was so dejected that I couldn’t review anymore (well, not all true, I had another son!) and for the first time in years, I honestly thought about quitting Superman. Then Action Comics picked up, and I was happy, but this? Who would have ever seen or thought this in Superman?
The issue begins with Superman being pushed to limits, only to find that he doesn’t have any, at least, not by what he’s enduring. He promptly leaves the The Block and Dr Veritas to return to Metropolis . . . where he promptly quits his job. There’s little time to bemoan being on the DOL, as Metropolis is attacked by an alien dinosaur, one strong enough to smack Superman all the way to Ireland. He takes care of the dino, but Supergirl soon arrives accusing him of being a liar, charging that Krypton must still exist if a prehistoric dinosaur from the planet could show up on Earth. And scene.
Not only does Superman challenge Action Comics for dynamism, it actually is a more linear, smoother read. I’m not certain what happened, but this Superman is powerful, confident, impressive. He uses his powers creatively, as seen with the rescue of the Irish oil workers. Lobdell lets us know that this Superman can move a planet all day everyday, but still has challenges that will test his incredible strength. It’s like the Bronze Age is alive again. What is more, Superman fought a dinosaur. Not Luthor or some dumb villain as he has in the last 12 issues, and it was more alive, more fun than anything else he encountered previously. Lobdell doesn’t seem afraid to engage in the soft science fiction, the pseudo-science of imagination that lives in comics. Half of the terms brought up in conversation with Dr Veritas are imaginary, but so is Superman, and he’s been mired in ill-fitting realism for far too long.
All this being said, I enjoyed Lobdell’s first issue of Superboy immensely, and was severely let down by all that came after. The fact that the Kryptosaur could be killed by an oil explosion prompts the question, “Wasn’t the Kryptosaur from Krypton?!” Supergirl comes across as a right twit, and needs to be address by her own creative team. She accuses Superman of lying, but Kara, my love, it’s a prehistoric creature. Unless these things were still running around before Krypton exploded, you should be just as surprised as Superman. Isn’t Kara supposed to be the smart one? It’s also disconcerting that Lois Lane is no longer the female lead of the book. It’s not that she has to be on Clark’s arm, but she’s not doing anything worthwhile in the book, except shacking up with Jonathon the Himbo. The costume still doesn’t work; Superman looked better in just the red trunks. There’s more to critique, but I’m much too pleased to be hard on the first go. After a year of thoroughly being so unhappy, it was a pleasant surprise to recognize Superman again. To see him powerful and confident again. To hear the words: “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”, again. :)
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|It’s like Superman is back from the dead||Lobdell has started well and failed before|