By Koppy McFad
July 31, 2008 - 00:55
This issue has Superman duking it out with Atlas, an ancient hero who was created by Jack Kirby decades ago and made only one real appearance before this issue. Atlas has claimed Metropolis as his own and now, he wants to beat Superman to show that no one can stand in his way.
This is a very old-school issue. The portions showing the origin of Atlas are done in the style of the late Jack Kirby. Moreover, this issue even has narrative panels which tell the reader what is going on. They are used only in the beginning but they are there. Maybe in a few months, we will see thought balloons as well.
The characterisation is very original and helps give a motive for all of the cast to do what they do. Lois Lane is still a bit... overbearing but her concern for Superman is depicted well. Atlas, while far from being a hero, makes for a convincing rival to Superman. His behavious and his motives do make sense, at least in his archaic system of values. He actually has a lot of smarts for a half-naked guy who goes around picking fights.
What does bog the story down is the overly-complicated origin for Atlas. First, we learn that he was plucked from his own time-- but no! He was 'sent' to modern times. All of these explanations take up a lot of time and panel space. In the past, Robinson has used his skill with prose to keep readers interested, even when he was talking about Victorian England or some forgotten World's Fair. But he doesn't completely succeed this time.
The art is expansive and emotional but in many panels, the human figures have a kind of sheen that makes it look like they were made of plastic. Atlas particularly looks like his broad chest is plastic-enhanced. A newcomer to the book might even suspect the character was an android with the way his skin looks.
Rating: 7 /10