Saturday, July 31, 2010

Comic Book Review: Superman #701

Book Information
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Penciled by Eddy Barrows
Inked by J.P. Mayer
Colors by Rod Reis
Letters by John J. Hill
Cover by John Cassaday & David Baron

Superman was created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Let us trail back in time a bit, ok? How many times have we actually seen Supes fly down and walk among mere mortals? Sure, he’s had brief moments where he has found himself in the middle of a human huddle, but never (at least in my life time) have I seen Superman actually take the time to descend from his heavenly plain and use his two feet. I don’t know about everyone else, but this feels like Supes has finally made a decision based more on what HE needs rather than what the people need.

As reporters huddle around him and throw out question after question, Superman responds with no more than one word answers, not giving them the satisfaction of some out-of-this-world response to explain his actions. He’s decided to do something different which he feels doesn’t need an explanation. Who cares right? The world cares more about Michelle Obama’s love for dogs than they do about poverty in 3rd world countries. Now we have the world more concerned about Superman taking a casual walk than the recent catastrophic events of New Krypton blowing up. It’s a common occurrence within American society and Superman is unintentionally showing the people that it shouldn’t matter if he decides to be normal or not.

Of course, Superman doesn’t allow the people to forget that he still maintains his super powered abilities by fixing car, lifting a Fox News-like reporter into the air, and burning some drug dealer’s stash with his heat vision, but the difference is he’s not intervening like he used too; he only told the old man that something was wrong with his heart, he only told the over confident car enthusiast that the fuel line was busted, but it was up to them to actually fix their problem. Now Supes did actually clean up the restaurant owners store room, and he did actually stop the hoodlums from dealing in that particular community, but this type of intervention is on a much, MUCH smaller scale than normal. Even with the young woman on the verge of jumping off a tall building, Superman only chats with her; he doesn’t force her down or try to stop her from actually jumping, he just listened to her and let her decision to jump or not be her own without any interference on his part. This new approach to Superman much resembles Gail Simone’s treatment of Wonder Woman, showing Superman’s more human and compassionate side.

There was, at times, some confusion on my part as to whether or not Supe’s walk on the sentimental side is more for his own edification, or the people’s. Maybe it’s both, I don’t know, but there is a mystery ahead as to whether or not this is the start of a new way of life for the Man of Steel.

I did become puzzled by the fact that Lois is just letting her husband pursue his own little walk-a-thon without even consulting her. Yes, Lois realizes that being married to a superhero comes with a certain amount of unpredictability and the willingness to let him do what is needed in the name of justice, but good grief, he just got back! I would think Lois would want him to stick around for more than one day right? If I were Lois, I’d have totally pulled out a can of whoop ass and tell it to Superman straight! This is not so much of a down side to this issue, just something that makes me tilt my head in wonder.

As for the art, Eddy Barrows is nothing less than a perfect artist. His use of light and dark has always been a pleasant highlight for me to enjoy. And with the help of Rod Reis on colors and J.P. Mayer giving the perfect amount of inking to the entire look of this issue, this is a great comic to stare at.

My Profoundly Climactic Conclusion
The question to ask now is, where is Straczynski going with this? This was a wonderful change in the typical Superman storytelling crusade, but I can honestly say that getting a year long diet of this sentimental walk across the country, with all the cliché one liners and inspirational jargon that could potentially permeate throughout this whole run, really won’t sit well with me. I really enjoyed this issue make no mistake, I think it’s one of the better issues of the month, but hopefully something different occurs that gives this run meaning that’s fresh and inspiring.

Writing: 9.5
Themes: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 9.83 out of 10

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