Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review � Part 1

Blackest Night: Superman 1

by James Robinson and Eddy Barrows

One of the worst-kept secrets was that Kal-L of Earth-2 would be back as a Black Lantern, but it�s fun to see it finally happen. Robinson spends a couple pages establishing the nice serenity of Smallville and invoking a dark irony parallel of the famous �Look! Up in the sky!� phrase. Barrows does a great job on every page, and the first full sight of Kal-L is great.

We see more examples of a uni-mind kind of thing, as Kal-L attacks Conner, complaining that he was dead, and should rightfully rejoin the ranks of the dead. There is a definite sort of sense of fair play on the side of the Black Lanterns, a complaining hint of, �You�re alive! You cheated!� kind of thing that plays out beautifully. We also learn that the vision of the Black Lanterns as it sees the spectrum of emotion does not �tag� a particular person with the color that most suits them, but rather displays the different emotions that each person may be feeling at the moment. They have great fun showing us this point of view, and it�s neat to see Superman so� colorful.

Bonus: Lois of Earth-2 looks creepy! My question is this: why isn�t Pa Kent back already? Maybe they�re saving him for next issue. Yet another winner for the Blackest Night saga.

Supergirl 44

by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle

General Lane is playing a game of chess, and moving his pieces around the board quite well. He lays out a white lie that Ral-dar is sure to hear, and Ral-dar falls for it, hook, line and sinker. Ral-dar now thinks Lane was using him, and he busts out to disrupt a treaty about to be signed by the president of the United States and the country of Markovia.

Meanwhile, Gates is still doing some good writing, making sure to show us that Lois has not yet forgiven Supergirl for her culpability in the death of Lois� sister. Mon-el goes with Supergirl to fight off another deception, that of Flamebird on the rampage. Kara is taken out of action by the magical Mirabai, who then assumes Kara�s guise and leads Mon-el off to Metropolis, another piece manipulated in General Lane�s game. Gates uses seven quick panels to update us on the status of the meta-story in the middle of Lane setting Cat Grant into position so she can play her part in adding to the damage with some strategic PR.

Igle�s art is very smooth, and takes you through reading fast, an integral part of the story that does not distract you from the writing, but complements it very well. Gates has put together a very masterful weaving of this part of the story into the Supergirl title. Although Supergirl herself has taken a sort of temporary backseat in her own title, the overall direction is great.

Superman Annual 14

by James Robinson and Javier Pina

Mon-el�s history has been tortured so much since Crisis on Infinite Earths and the subsequent fallout, I�ve lost track of who he was supposed to be and his relation to Valor. This issue, Robinson has a memory crystal show Mon-el the past of his planet and his ancestors. It�s a muddled mix of exploration followed by xenophobia, followed by a lust for exploration, followed by xenophobia.

Robinson tries to tie in everything associated with the entire history in DC, including Daxam�s ties to Krypton, but he awkwardly makes the story about a Daxamite who had relations with a human earlier in Earths history, and it is from the lineage that an entire half of Daxam�s population comes, and Mon-el is just about a direct descendant of hers. It�s a little slow and boring, and a little bit of a cheesy mush.

Javier Pina does well in many places, including the founding of Daxam, which has a Flash Gordon look to it, but the exploring ships of Daxam are the exact same design centuries later as the original conquest ships from Kryptonian ancestors! If there was something in the writing that commented on this continuance, that might have been one thing, but without that, it strikes me as laziness and poor direction. There really should have been some growth or change in space-faring vehicles over the centuries.

The overall tale was mediocre, and not something I would have wanted to spend on for an entire comic, especially the size of an annual. The back-and-forth chaos of both Krypton and Daxam, as if the entire civilization could not make up its mind if they were to become galactic conquerors or peaceful explorers, make for a harsh dissonance that breaks tradition with what we know of Superman�s roots, and causes more problems for ancient DC universe history than it solves. It raises troubling questions like this: if the Kryptonians conquered so many planets in earlier years, how could they not be seduced by the fact that they could develop powers under the correct conditions?

The end result is just a big mess that we should all try to forget as soon as possible.

Superman/Batman 63

by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Rafael Albuquerque

Gross. Albuquerque tries to do his own inking, as he is solely credited as the artist. It is the worst-drawn comic I have seen the entire month, with crude pictures on the first page that bring to mind the work of a ten-year-old. Everything feels rushed and sloppy, and we never get any background details, it�s all colored mush.

The story is another variant on a familiar theme for the series under Green and Johnson, a �what if� story that comes from one of Bruce�s computer simulations trying to picture the worst outcome that can happen from a studied event. In this case, it�s the idea that Grodd continues to evolve and become stronger and smarter, until he kills almost everyone and releases an artificial Kryptonite cloud that force Superman to flee Earth.

To be honest, it wouldn�t be so tiresome yet if the art was even average, but my disgust for the rushed art and insult to the reader�s eyes has transferred over to the endless parade of �what if� scenarios. I�m not sure if I�ll pick up the next issue or not.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

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