Monday, September 6, 2010

Comic Book Review: The Last Family of Krypton #2

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Cary Bates
Artist: Renato Arlem
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover Art: Felipe Massafera

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Superman Origin stories have become a constant publication within DC Comics, it seems there’s no end to a writer’s take on the Man of Steel’s beginnings.  However, when it comes to writer Cary Bates, Superman embarks on a beginning unlike any other.

We see a matured Clark Kent going through the normal high school routine, dating Lana Lang, fighting to fit in, etc etc.  But what makes everything different is that Superman’s parents are around.  We are finally able to see what exactly Jor-El would have thought of his Son’s flying heroic deeds.  It was tough enough that Kal was forced to live away from his parents, now he has chosen a life style in which his father disapproves of.  This is clearly a story of how a father and a son fight with each other’s difference of opinions and ideals.  But what’s even more interesting, I get the feeling that Bates is making an argument that this Superman story should never have happened.

While Superman is still fully Kryptonian, he is also fully Earthling too.  His life may have begun on his alien homeworld, but his childhood and lifestyle all formed on Earth.  Superman was able to develop an understanding for Earth’s needs and decided to answer that call.  Like he said, he has walked in their shoes and lived among them as if he were one of them.  (Which, really, he is.  Let’s be honest.)  With his family always taking care of the major disasters, Kal was never quite sure what his purpose was.  And then, after his gift of red, blue and yellow, he found himself helping the people of earth on a much smaller scale, finally discovering his calling here on Earth.  But his father made it clear that the publicity his son was getting, and the El family crest’s meaning changing for the people of Earth, the beginning of the end for this father and son could very well be around the corner.  How will this change how Superman behaves?  Will he retaliate against his father or vice versa?

I do appreciate that Bates is keeping this Elseworlds story very low key with the addition of popular characters.  Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, and a team of terrorists who share the same name as an alien monster whom killed Superman over a decade ago all make an appearance, but it isn’t overbearing.  Many Superman Origin stories, Red Son for example, bring in established characters for the mere sake of bringing them in.  Cary Bates utilizes these added characters intelligently and with purpose, but never making them the center of attention.

Renato Arlem is pretty great with his Superman artistry.  I’m a little “iffy” about his style of shading, but I guess I’m more partial to the dark and gloomy side of comic book art.  Otherwise, Arlem certainly has a style unique to himself.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
I’ll respect your opinion if your waiting for this to come out in trade paperback, but honestly…you’re going to hate yourself for waiting so long.

Rating: 10 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 10

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