Posted tagged ‘Superman’

Review: Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds

December 1, 2009

The Legion of 3 Worlds is a very strange book.  It serves as the culmination of various plot threads from Geoff Johns’ runs on Teen Titans, Superman, Green Lantern, and the Flash but has nothing whatsoever to do with Final Crisis, despite the title.  Then there’s its stated goal of redeeming Superboy Prime, the villain of two massive DC events (Infinite Crisis and the Sinestro Corps War) and a continuity headache in his own right thanks to his role in Crisis on Infinite Earths.  And then of course the book is actually supposed to be about the Legion of Superheroes, and is an attempt to straighten out the three different continuities that exist in the Legion canon.

Can you follow all that?  If so this is the book for you.  For the other 99% of the population who won’t have a chance of groking this story without a wikipedia IV I think this book will pose a substantial problem.  

But credit where its due, the story here holds together remarkably well despite just how much is going on here in so little space.  And much of that is due to the legendary George Perez turning in some amazing art work.  Throughout the series he has to draw a couple hundred characters, not to mention distinguishing between all the alternate versions of the Legionaires.  Its a pretty impressive tour de force and it makes this comic a must read, but really only for the hard core DC fans.

Review: Superman Chronicles Vol.3

November 24, 2008

The Superman Chronicles is DC’s attempt to reprint every Superman appearance in chronological order.  Somehow I doubt this project (or the Batman one for that matter) will actually finish, but it’s nice to get these early stories in an affordable color format.  

Volume 3 covers the begining of 1940 and is mostly notable for featuring the first few appearances of Lex Luthor (back in the days when he had hair).  None of the characters have crystalized yet, Lois exists solely to point out how embarrisingly timid Clark Kent is, Superman isn’t above letting a gangster or two die, and Luthor’s just evil for the hell of it.  Oh and for some reason no one knows that Superman exists despite all his adventures being very public.

But the stories of this proto-Superman do make for an interesting read, although probably only for the die-hard fans.

Review: All Star Superman

September 26, 2008

This week saw the release of the final issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman.  I don’t usually bring up these things until they’ve been collected, but I’m making an exception in this case.  This series is a masterpiece, it’s probably the best Superman comic ever written and is one of the only 2 sure to be classic stories to come out of Marvel and DC (not counting Vertigo) in the last decade (the other being Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier).

I’ve seen comparisons out there on the internets to Watchmen.  And it may very well be that good, although it’s a very different sort of story.  Where Watchmen sought to deconstruct the superhero genre All Star Superman seeks to embrace it instead.  The book can feel a bit anachronistic at times becuase of this approach actually, many of the issues are based heavily off of the rather silly Superman comics of the silver age.  But that’s also one of the book’s strengths, as Morrison is telling what is really a foundational superhero comic.

There is so much I could say about this book, but Timothy Callahan over at CBR already summed it up far better than I could:

“This Superman rises above genre conventions to become something mythic. He is a god. He is the perfection that we can only dream of. And only Morrison and Quitely, at the top of their game, can even attempt to tell his stories.”

Reserve the collected editions of this book now!  It should be an essential part of any serious comic collection.

Review: Showcase Presents Superman Vol.2

July 8, 2008

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.

It’s never to late to claim a copyright

April 4, 2008

Big week for copyright news. First there was the news that the copyright associated with Action Comics #1 had been awarded to the family of Jerry Siegel, putting the rights to Superman into question. And then today it was announced that a professor has filled suit against Einstein’s notes, a lecture notes reseller, on the grounds that his students’ notes are derivative works of his lectures. This suit appears to be targeted at the practice of selling notes to students so that they may skip out on classes, but it could set an interesting precedent.