Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comic Book Review: Superman#702

Literary & Artistic Credits

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inker: J.P. Mayer
Colorist: Rod Reis
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Art: John Cassaday & David Baron

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
I loved Superman #702, no doubt about it.  But can I just say if I were a non comic book reader, that the cover of this issue would have turned me off completely?  Holy shit!  Please DC, higher me instead of Cassaday and Baron; I can deliver a cover worth looking at.

Ok, sorry, I had to vent.  Typically, comic book company attempts to make the cover the most appealing visual aspect of any comic book they publish, which is why this cover vexes me in ways I’ve never experienced.  I think my gag reflex is about to initiate!  This is one moment where I can truly say my talent level far surpasses what was displayed on this issues cover.

Artistic frustrations aside, #702 finds the Man of Steel still on his walk across America in hopes to “find” himself.  With some unique encounters on the way, like a team of miscreant high schoolers playing basketball, an alien family in hiding, and a tired older man whose level of obliviousness surpasses my own, Superman displays both his need to help those in need, and his condescending inferiority complex in fine form.

Straczynski hits the nail right on the head with his depiction of Superman as a caring person whose conservative outlook on life can make him look like a complete asshole!  Was Mark Miller right with his Red Son storyline from Elseworlds?  If the circumstances were changed, would Superman have become an evil dictator?  #702 certainly causes me to ponder on that very fact.  His boastful attitude as he basically tells the aliens that they have no right to live on American soil without contributing to their community in some way definitely set off my ASS alarm.  I certainly wish the alien family had been more assertive towards the Man of Steel in explaining why he’s an arrogant, pompous prick, but that is the Superhero enigma isn’t it?  Every superhero must go through this guilt trip of knowing they are expected to help the people of the world since they do, in fact, have the ability to stop evil.  Like Ben Parker continually stated before receiving a bullet to the chest, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  I don’t like it any better than the next guy, but when you know you can do something to help, it’s hard not to feel compelled to do so. 

Now while I understand Superman’s motives, I can’t agree with his methods of persuasion.  “Look here, I have a dead man in my arms!  If you don’t help him, you have no moral standing.”  Thanks for the guilt trip Man of Steel, your rhetoric is impeccable.  I guess I felt like Superman was suffering from a “high and mighty” complex which sickened me a bit, especially after how Superman has grown as a character in the last few years.

It was nice to see that Superman and Lois are still making time for each other.  I still think that if I were Lois, I would have put my foot down and told him to forget about it, but it seems they have a genuine respect and love each other enough to fight through this stage of life Superman is going through.  And can I just say that I love that the aliens attitude towards the series finale of Lost mirrors my own?  Straczynski definitely won some points with me...

Apart from the horrendously awful cover, everything seen within is gorgeous.  The alien armored suit flying down into the basement layer of the alien’s home was so good I might have to find a way at blowing this up and making it a poster for my already cluttered office at home.  I was wondering how in the world this could happen without the rest of the world knowing.  But then we see the boys wondering if there was an earthquake happening in their own backyard which quenched my inquisitive feelings towards the whole situation.  And Superman’s basketball game where he plays against the entire band of young adults was wonderfully impressive, even if he broke the rules of not using powers just a tad.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this month’s Superman edition.  It’s hard to imagine taking on a project like this without worrying how it will be received by its readers.  I am happy with how things are going but I do wonder, if this indeed is a 12 month arc, how this is all going to end up on the road ahead.  Oh well, gotta keep my fingers crossed.

Rating: 8 out of 10
Writing: 9
Art: 6 (That cover just killed this rating)
Themes: 9

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