Review: Showcase Presents Superman Vol.2

Both Marvel and DC have down a phenominal job in recent years of bringing their back catalogs back into print.  Both companies have using a variety of formats for these projects, depending on the material in question, but my favorite by far is their cheap lines of black and white reprints.  For $15-17 you get about two years worth of the stories featuring a given character, and in many cases I think the art looks better in black and white on newsprint.

However, it must be noted that many of these older titles have not aged particularly well.  Comics have evolved a lot over the course of the last 70 or so years and it’s hard in many cases to be able to enjoy older iterations of the characters.  The DC books especially suffer from this, given that most of their silver-age characters had interchangeable personalities.  These were books about people doing fantastic things, and maintaining a status quo.  There’s no character development and rarely much in the way of plot.  And no character better exemplified these sorts of stories than Superman.

The Silver Age Superman was someone who could do anything.  In one issue he randomly has telepathic powers for the span of a single panel so that he can predict who is on the other end of a phone before picking it up (this is never mentioned again).  In nearly every issue his actions cross the thin line between evoking a sense of wonder and just being rediculous.  My favorite moment is when he’s battling a foe powered by sunlight, who he defeats by pulling the moon out of orbit and causing an eclipse.

So I have a hard time recommending this book on anything other than it’s historical value.  Superman is an icon for a reason after all and these stories are a large part of his development.  There’s also the introduction of Bizarro World in this book, which has gone on to become an institution in and of itself.  So there’s definitely some things worth checking out here, but by and large the book is fairly awful.

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