Jul 24, 2012

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: SUPERMAN #1-10 THE NEW 52

"The Man of Steel for a new era."

After Flashpoint DC Comics has completely revamped their entire catalogue and restarted their stories in order to bring in new readers with entirely refreshed stories and universes for their beloved characters.

Where as Batman’s New 52 stories are actually pretty well done, Superman’s have failed to reach the same caliber. How bad is it? Read on.

SUPERMAN tells the story of Kal-El the Kryptonian alien that crash lands on Earth and when taken in by loving human parents is raised to accept our home to be his home as well. He then adopts the name Clark Kent and becomes a news reporter while punching aliens on the side.

The series seems like it doesn’t know where it wants to go as it tells brief stories only to scrap them and move on to something else as these new stories were introduced that try to harbor an emotional response from us as fans. I never quite felt like I was too interested as Superman fights forgettable villains that do different things.

The first trio of bad guys each exemplify Superman’s senses. A fire monster being his heat vision, a blizzard siren his frost breath and the last an invisible lizard thing. Meh. Then it suddenly moves on and were fighting a villain that has all the potential to be badass and amazing but never feels like it’s achieved. 

The second villain is called Helspont. I mean look at him.

 

He screams awesome in the way he looks and he speaks all dark and evil while looking physically imposing enough to face Superman and intellectually able to defeat him as well. Helspont goes on about how he’s enslaved billions and all this but he was captured and exiled by his own race, The Daemonites, leaving him here on Earth. So he asks Superman to help him or perish.

It ends in like two issues with Superman just punching Helspont into a mountain. Then Superman going, “Well I guess that’s the last of him for now!” This dude has enslaved BILLIONS of people. I mean for someone who could’ve been a great new villain like Lincoln March in the new Batman books he seems like that kid who tells you he’s so badass and was the most popular and awesome guy in his previous school but when in reality he was a ridiculous douchebag that no one liked.

I just don’t get it.

Then when the almighty ruler of billions gets a face full of rocks and dirt to apparently not be heard from again until probably a later point, Superman’s next bad guy is some chick with a questionable outfit but a really cool power who HAS the potential to be awesome. Her name is Anguish.

 

Anguish’s abilities range from superhuman strength, agility and reflexes. But her unique hook is that her molecular structure is almost like mist. You can’t physically hurt her. It was really cool to actually see Superman struggle as his fists and heat vision seeped through this woman like a flashlight to a ghost. 

She can also turn invisible. It’s such a cool concept. A villain Superman can’t even hit or see. But her motives are sort of lame and we never learn how she gains these awesome powers she’s literally just like, “And then one day I just had them.”

Okay.

That’s not to say the new Superman adventures doesn’t have it’s cool moments. There’s plenty of “THROKS” and “WHACKS” as Superman beats people into justice pies but for everything awesome and cool there’s something disappointing. 

I hate to use the analogy again like I did in my SAVAGES movie review but this book is like a bag of trail mix. For every cheeto and dorito I pull out there’s a goddamn pretzel after them. Superman can be awesome, he just needs writers that can commit to an over-arching story that pits him against something amazing.

I’m one of those fans that doesn’t care a lot about Clark Kent. He’s a news reporter and he has a bunch of annoying reporter friends who ask stupid questions and hold him back and make him look like a bitch all the time. 

I’m here for SUPERMAN.  

And even though there are plenty of aliens and such that he pummels they’re not interesting. Helspont can be a wonderful villain as long as he actually does cool and awful things then just boast about how awesome he used to be. Anguish can be an amazing anti-hero that can help Superman in future adventures. Focus on these things and embrace the concept that this is the most famous superhero in history and he should have a book series that celebrates this notion with every flip of the page.

The book needs to focus on longer story arcs, better use of the entire cast and not rely on cliche one liners for Superman to use. This character is a mythic and seriously awesome character that just needs the right stories to shine. 

Helspont and Anguish can be so much more. But in the end of the day the new SUPERMAN comics deliver some truly shining moments that are peppered with a lot of fluff as well. I just hope this series soars and shines like the character is supposed to be.

( It should also be noted that this series did change writers half-way through and apparently the writers of this book were left in the dark with what Grant Morrison was doing in Action Comics. So a lot of convulated shit got messed with but still—-make it work! )

OVERALL SCORE: 7 out of 10

By MILAN JEGENJAN