Monday, September 26

Superman #714 and Superboy #10 (Oct 2011)

“Grounded: Finale”

Well, as an end to a multipart issue, this was okay … or would have been if that epic were six or so issues rather than twelve to fourteen depending on how you count them.

Basically, we discover that Clark's depression up to and including his announcement of abandoning the Superman identity was, while rooted in authentic feelings, amplified by a psychic bond formed near the beginning of the arc between himself and a schoolteacher by her exposure to an artifact from destroyed New Krypton, an “Interrogation Sunstone.” It has also given her Kryptonian powers in addition to tormenting her with his depression. To overcome her and the psychic assault she's maintained on him in turn ever since, Superman essentially just has to think happy thoughts. No kidding. There doesn't seem to be any realistic addressing of the real issues (in contrast to, in my opinion, a much better treatment of Kara's similar depression in her own title months ago), which seems to me to be a bit of a cop-out. I do like the fact that those happy thoughts include “Truth. Justice. The American Way.” The Interrogation Sunstone is destroyed by the psychic feedback – and Clark now accepts that there must be a Superman – “And there always will.” He and Lois reunite. He sets up what appears to be a Superman equivalent of “Batman Incorporated” – the “Supermen of America” – in which each representative has a Jimmy Olsen-style signal watch (another nice touch). And all was right in the Superman Universe. “The End.”

I'm not going to belabor the shortcomings of “Grounded” overall. This issue brings the story of DCU Superman to its end on an appropriate high point, but as a whole it has not been a very consistent or pleasant ride getting to that point via “Grounded” – especially the previous couple of issues. Again, neither of them were that bad overall – in fact I found the Krypto story in #712 quite charming; okay, #713 with its so-out-of-character announcement and boudeing (my wife is Cajun French) was pretty hard to take – but in the overall context … Despite Chris Roberson's valiant efforts overall in the latter half, overall this was just not that good. And the glaring substitution of the Krypto story in #712 … I wonder if we'll ever see what should have been #712 and whatever drove the Man of Steel to such a low state, such depths of his manipulated despair? As it is, the beginning of #713 just comes out of nowhere. I'm reminded of Dan Didio's comments regarding Legion of Super-Heroes ("threeboot")  #50 a couple of years ago – "We finished and cancelled it and put the book out the door."  When DC itself doesn't really care that much about what it's putting out, why should we?

"Rise of the Hollow Men, Part Three: Time and Tannarak”

We basically find out that the Big Bad of this story, Tannarak, is a sorcerous enemy of Arion, Lord of Atlantis, from 45,000 who has been striving ever since to build (literally) his army via mystical clones of various heroic figures – and who has been opposed all along by The Phantom Stranger. I guess The Stranger is not  the Wandering Jew, or perhaps as The Phantom Stranger he is no longer bound by time. That actually makes some sense given the power levels he's occasionally been shown with. Anyway, this issue is a series of vignettes – each by a different artist – working from the deep Atlantean past to the present. Along the way we see the Viking Prince as well as how the Tooks of Smallville were seduced to the sorceror's cause, but basically this issue simply tells the history of the villain without otherwise advancing the plot. It basically sets up “Next: The Last Blast!”

Yes, in common with a couple of other titles, Superboy gets two issues this month, to finish up the old DCU in August.

Thanks for reading, and Cheers!

No comments:

Post a Comment