“What Price Tomorrow?”
Wow. One thing about having George Perez as the writer here is that he is an old-school writer who actually writes. There is more substance here than in three of most other modern comics writers' issues! You feel like you've really read something … and, although I still don't like some of the directions they have taken this father of all super-heroes, it's something good. And Jesus Merino's “finishing” of Perez's breakdowns complement it very well. It's recently been announced they are really on this title only for the short-haul. That's disappointing.
The gist of this issue is this. The old Daily Planet building has been demolished, replaced by a new building as part of a new media empire built by Morgan Edge (now black and looking more like the Marvel Ultimate Universe Nick Fury with two eyes) – combined with the old Galaxy Broadcasting System to become part of a Planet Global Network. (Frankly, “PGN” just doesn't catch me, but okay.) That's caused a bit of a rift between Lois and Clark, who seem to be friends at best now (despite his own obvious longing) – in fact she has her own boyfriend complete with benefits, one Jonathan Carroll (whom I already want to see come to a bad end). Then the balance of the issue tells of some kind of flame creature attacking Metropolis, Superman battling and ultimately defeating (?) it, as Lois passes her first test of standing up to her new boss, Mr. Edge. Surprisingly, although there is a different look (one it appears the colorists themselves are going to take some time getting used to – the new Lois has really attractive big brown eyes … which nevertheless revert to blue a couple of times!), this ends up feeling like Superman. I still don't particularly like the new uniform, but I guess it's what we've got. Anybody else notice that there are vestiges of the red speedos on the front cover in piping around the top of the thighs which appear nowhere in the issue itself? I don't think they've been in other issues where he's appeared either. Whatever. Maybe it will all grow on me. I hope so.
As you can see, there are all kinds of nods to various bits of Superman lore, especially GBS and its boss Morgan Edge – who has switched races, but okay. His depiction does lead to a humorous animated juxtaposition that makes you wonder if Perez and Merino are engaging in a little bit of metacommentary: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/10/23/swipe-file-dan-didio-and-morgan-edge/ . The buyout of the Daily Planet provides context for a little debate between Clark and Lois on journalistic ethics and the like. The mysterious horn that appears in Stormwatch #1 is blown here – revealing that just because one issue comes out before another doesn't mean their events happen in that same order. I'd think that's still a good starting assumption in trying to build a chronology, however. And the flame creature utters one recognizable word to the puzzlement of Superman: “Krypton!”
A couple other notes. Superman has apparently been absent from Metropolis for at least some period of time. Several characters comment on it, that he's back. No idea why he was gone, however. Jimmy makes the observation that Superman's powers just keep escalating. His fellow cameraman agrees, recalling “when he couldn't do much more than leap over tall buildings in a single bound.” Perry White also looks younger – and tougher – than ever before. I don't think I'd want to cross him as editor!
As it is, considering my fears for how bad this could have gone, I'm relieved and staying with this title at least for a while. I do wish they'd go with a sleeker, less armory looking esthetic to the uniform, though!
Cheers, and thanks for reading!
(PS: I just turned this issue over as I finished writing this up … and saw the Hot Wheels ad on the back cover … with the licensed traditional image of Superman, as well as Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman. How funny! Granted, it's early in the game, but those are the popularly recognizable images, and I predict will remain so for a very long time. Which makes me wonder if the redisigns will ultimately stick against marketing pressures.)