Superman #7

Superman 7

Superman #7; DC 2012

One of the biggest complaints about comics in the last decade has been about the Superman titles.  They have been awful.  And I think it’s something that has gnawed at DC Comics for a long time and for whatever reason, nothing they do for the title/character seems to work.  Particularly for the last five years, readers have been exceedingly disappointed with Superman and have expressed their concerns by simply not buying or reading these titles.  This is a really sad thing because Superman is so kosmically recognizable that there is just something unsettling about no one being interested, let alone excited, about his comics.

I think that within the deep recesses of the hearts of comic fans there was a, quite natural, hope that with DC’s New 52, Superman would be saved.  Not rehabilitated, but heroically saved.  The complaints of the last decade that Superman titles were boring, scattered, uninteresting, pointless, and stupid were valid and probably hit DC pretty hard.  So, everyone probably expected that the New 52 would solve these issues and send Superman titles to the top of the charts – where he belongs (even if fanboys do not dare admit they believe this).

On Action Comics, DC put the famous, but difficult, writer Grant Morrison.  I’ve gone over that situation in my reviews for Action Comics.  For the Superman title, DC gave the reins to writer George Perez.  Perez is one of those industry-standard writers who has written Wonder Woman and Silver Surfer among other titles. I was pleased that he was selected as I felt that he was a solid choice for a proven, but not extreme writing style.  Now, Superman also appears in DC’s “flagship” – Justice League, which is being written by star writer Geoff Johns.  Surely, with the New 52 and these three writers writing the character, there is no way Superman could fail.

Action Comics may or may not be good. It’s certainly not a “basic” comic read.  Morrison has some different perspectives and ideas as to how stories should be told.  Geoff Johns’ Superman is good – but since he’s a member of a supergroup, he does not get much face time or development.  Superman’s entrance, though, is still one of the highlights of the start of the New 52.  The Superman title penned by Perez looked so pretty. It contained a lot of action, fighting, flying, battling, etc.  However, it felt scattered and disconnected. Some readers felt it was confusing and disoriented.  Ultimately, it was a disappointment. While the character is freshened, the problems with the title still seemed to be present.  We all wanted to love the title. Most of us ended up dropping the title from subscription lists with a dejected, puzzled feeling.

However, it seems DC was willing to do something proactive about the situation.  Starting in issue #6, they added writers Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen.  Both of these writers/artists are also solid creators who are no strangers to the industry.  Issue #6 was nothing great, but I do feel it was better than the previous five.  Finally, in issue #7, I can say that this is a real Superman comic.  This is a storyline that I can follow without frustration or annoyance.  This is art that looks fantastic and the character does not seem like a haphazard mess of confusion.

Superman’s thoughts are presented in a reasonable manner – he does seem younger and bolder.  The opening fight is easy to follow and interesting enough that it does not seem like just frames of action shots.  I like that there is a linear storyline – a problem, a setting, villains, and friends.  The art perfectly matches the story and the story seems, finally, like it is going somewhere.  The first five issues seemed really in media res and random.  This seems like there is a real story going on, which is a nice change. In other words, this issue is a well-organized, linear, solid story.  The artwork is above average and it is not messy.

I am interested in the villain, Helspont.  I know he has history in DC, but I want to see if the New 52 has changed anything – or will change anything. I want him to be a worthy villain that Superman can battle with both physically and intellectually. He’s also drawn to look mighty cool.

I kind of feel bad for those readers who dropped Superman before issue #7.  They probably won’t believe this is any good.  And, well, even though this issue is a solid 4 stars, all readers are probably dubious about believing that anything good will come to pass with this title, anyway.  After all, it’s hard to forget a decade of mediocrity and boring. It is my real hope, though, that Jurgens and Giffen CAN AND WILL make this a worthwhile, interesting title. But, one issue isn’t enough……….

4 stars

Booster Gold (1986) #2

Booster Gold (1986) #2

Booster Gold (1986) #2 cover

This issue’s story is largely about the fact that in issue #1, Booster Gold failed while fighting Mindancer. He failed publicly, and the media is eating him alive. A lot of people who are involved in Booster’s life as it is a commercial product are pretty ticked off at him because of this.   Booster does a have a few folk that are sympathetic to him, but overall, he is feeling alone.  He tells Skeets:  “I went into this thinking about the money and the celebrity. I knew the media was going to make me – but I never realized they’d just as soon break me. We’re a little out of place here, Skeets and we can’t even go home.”

Mindancer was able to take STARs satellite guidance system from Booster without too much trouble.  Booster and Skeetz realize this and attempt, in this issue to deal with Mindancer in such a way that they can avoid the same mistakes.  However, it seems the villains have developed a new strategy, too, involving Blackguard destroying Skeets. Mindancer is clearly the more formidable opponent of the two, such that even those who have hired Mindancer and Blackguard are exasperated with Blackguard’s own failings.

The question on the cover:  Can Booster defeat Mindancer and Blackguard before Skeets is destroyed? — isn’t answered in this issue. You gotta keep on reading to find out.

3 stars

Booster Gold (1986) #1

Booster Gold 1986 #1

Booster Gold (1986) #1 cover

I was practically forced to read about Booster Gold because I was reading DC’s famous 52 series. I remembered that I owned this first issue from 1986 and decided to take a look at it. I discovered that its the first appearance of Booster Gold ever. And this issue, at least, was both written and drawn by Dan Jurgens. I was definitely more interested after knowing these facts. It is noteworthy that this series starts in early 1986, when DC was releasing their Crisis on Infinite Earths event. The perfect time to focus on a b-lister, new hero. Also, comic sales (especially for DC) were probably relatively high.

The main thing that you learn about Booster in this issue is that he is a showman. This guy is always muggin’ for the camera, trying to situation himself for media coverage, and willing to saturate the commercial industry with his image and whomever he promotes. Overall, that probably got some of those original 1986 readers a little miffed. Who the heck does this blond, self-absorbed fool think he is?  One of the only other things that we learn about Booster is that he has a heck of a time with idioms and slang.

Skeets looks interesting. What is this football-like flying robot that is often admonishing Booster? Alas, future issues will have to hold that secret, because Booster has to fight Blackguard (who actually is more of a green guard). Blackguard is one of those charming villains who tells you that he’s gonna beat you up before he actually does it. And he’s got his knick-knacks, an “energy ring and shield,” which he uses pretty much the same as a regular shield and mace.

In 2010, its almost a novelty to go back and read this issue. But if this were 1986, and I was at a comic book store, would I buy this issue? And would I buy any issues in the series after this one? Its a tough call. Booster is annoying and arrogant. On the other hand, there is this “uniqueness” to him that is necessary for the survival of characters in comics. I suppose I would have probably picked up an issue or two, but not because the storyline in this one was all that fascinating. The character is just obnoxious enough for me to want to learn just a little more. Or… maybe… Skeets is just that cool.

3 stars

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