Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Comic Book Review: Superman #697

Book Information
Written by James Robinson
Art by Bernard Chang & Javier Pina

Mon-El and Superboy begin to learn of a connection that stems further than they had anticipated.  Now the question is, what does the Legion of Superheroes have planed for our the newly inducted Man of Steel?

My Thoughts
I am supposed to feel confused by the events happening in this issue?  Everything that occurred in #697 of Superman left me more perplexed and in a state of uncertainty than anything else.  The book splits into two parts, part I begins with the present, and part II goes into a flashback sequence which I assume is supposed to explain the events in part I.  Along with this, we have two artists splitting up the duties between parts I & II, which I’m not sure I’m particularly a fan of.  When all is said and done, I put the book down unsure of what is supposed to happen or how I should feel.

From what I understand of this issue, part II is supposed to help explain the events that occurred in part I, more importantly, why the Legion of Superheroes decide to intervene and delay Mon-El.  Yet part II only shows the Legion once…on the last page of story.  I went through part II many times, specifically focusing on the conversation between Mon-El and Superboy and nothing provided any clues as to why the Legion of Superheroes decided to show up and attack Mon-El.  There are no hints what-so-ever, only a ridiculously boring conversation Mon-El has with Conner Kent.  The first part is pretty exciting however, filled with a lot of action and interesting dialogue.  Once the Legion actually shows up, I was pretty engaged with the story.  Robinson did a great job in building up tension and angst with part I, but I just can’t get past the confusion the layout of this issue took.

The art was even more agitating.  Why hire two artists to complete one comic?  I’ve always taken issue when comics divvy up the responsibilities between artists.  I like the consistency of a single artist rather than numerous ones.  Bernard Chang really started part I with a bang.  His art is much better suited for Superman than Wonder Woman, and he definitely delivered.  Javier Pina on the other hand is nothing to get excited about.  For me, Chang is much more talented than Pina and to stick these two on the same project is truly distracting for me.  If DC had picked a different, more capable artistic team, say Chang and Bagely, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal.  But to stick these two together, on top of the confused state I was in by the end of the story, the issue was a huge let down for me.  I mean what do you prefer, this…

Or this….

Robinson has definitely done better, but it isn’t his worst attempt.  It was engaging to a point, but the story fell apart in part II, as did the art.  With only half of the book being good, and the other half being very poor, I can only justly give it a slightly above average rating…

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming March 24, 2010
"Brainiac and The Legion of Super-Heroes" Part 3! Superman is trapped on Brainiac's ship while New Krypton burns! Mon-El will need to call upon all the skills he's learned in the last year if he's going to have a chance of freeing the Man of Steel! Plus, what secret about Brainiac will the duo learn that may help turn the tide?

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