By Andy Frisk
March 25, 2009 - 21:58
I still miss Superman not appearing in his own titles but I have to admit that his absence from his titles is shaping up to be much more bearable than Batman’s absence for one, because it makes more sense, and two, the stories are shaping up to be stronger. The stories in SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS have laid the groundwork now for what looks to be about a year’s worth of interesting tales.
In this issue, Mon-El takes on his first super-villain as Metropolis’ protector and he’s lucky no one gets killed; Guardian helps set up Mon-El’s secret identity as Jonathan Kent (the name being suggested by Ma Kent last issue), the newest member of Metropolis’ Science Police; and John Henry Irons, the best character to come out of the classic Death and Return of Superman storyline, puts back on the Steel armor since, as Superman says, “…Metropolis fared well during my ‘death’ with YOU out there.” I couldn’t agree more. John Henry Irons aka Steel is one of DC’s strongest but too sparingly used characters. It’s going to be a treat, for us fans of the 90’s Superman tales, seeing him back in action. But one of the best treats for us as fans is the return of Bibbo, hopefully with more of a stronger supporting role, and his Ace O’ Clubs Bar.
Penciller Renato Guedes captures the heroes and their city spectacularly. The two page spread of Mon-El soaring through Metropolis is breathtaking. The colors capture an almost photogenic image of the sunlight breaking just over his right shoulder. The city itself is meticulously rendered giving it a highly realistic and photogenic feel as well. It also is imbued with personality as the buildings are not just stock looking “cityscape” skyscrapers but buildings with unique designs. Perhaps what we are to see most importantly in this beautifully laid out drawing is that Mon-El is firmly depicted as flying through the city rather than above the city. Unlike Superman, Mon-El is new to the city and needs to get his bearings and a feel for the city in general that he can mostly likely only gather by immersing himself in the city by flying through it as Mon-El and later living and working in it as Jonathan Kent. This opening image of Mon-El conveys a great deal about the mindset and outlook he is taking and foreshadows where the story will be taking us as we fly with Mon-El through Metropolis during his adventures.
Overall, I must admit that the current Superman tales are stirring the nostalgia in me by bold facedly presenting themselves as a pretty similar take on a previous “World Without a Superman” storyline from over a decade ago but this time around its more of a celebratory and jubilant tale. Heroes are stepping up to fill in for Superman as friends at his request not sorrowfully attempting to replace or, worse yet, usurp him after his passing. I’m still eagerly anticipating the next triangle numbered Superman book, something I haven’t done since the mid ‘90’s (both literally and figuratively) and I’m loving every minute of it.
Rating: 10 /10