Saturday, October 9, 2010

Comic Book Review: Superman:The Last Family Of Krypton

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

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
The third and final issue of this drastically wonderful Superman story brings us a tale that, more than likely, hits right at home for the typical American family.  The father, who has numerous delusions of grandeur and an over-arching god-complex combined with the guilt of Krypton’s fate.  The mother, who takes it upon herself to bring the father back to reality, showing him that he doesn’t have to be a Superman all the time.  The son, who seems to have a greater sense of justice and purity of heart, but still mirrors his father’s personality in so many ways.  This is a true story told in such a fantastic way that only Cary Bates was able to deliver.

Even though this very human and family aspect story was where bates’ heart was at, I really enjoyed how he took the familiar and typical Superman aspects and turned them into an unpredictable prose.  In a way, the Superman of the Bates’ universe seemed more intelligent than the Superman of cannon DCU.  This of course comes from actually having his parents around to educate him, even if his father was very distant and negligent during Kal-El’s youth.  And despite their many differences of opinion, how they worked together to stop Luthor and B towards the end showed they still have a certain amount of respect and love for one another that they were unable to express until now.

The war between Jor-El and Laura was a prime example of how marriages end up falling apart so easily, even after years of happiness.  The two had taken different approaches on life which put both at odds with one another.  This begs us to ask ourselves, do we have every right to leave the one we love when they make a change for the worst?  Laura definitely gave it her all in making the marriage work, but did give up for a brief period.  But as with most American love stories, love conquers all.

Let’s not forget about the clever way Bates’ ties in this whole notion that the El’s presence on Earth hindered the origin of the other well known heroes, such as Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, etc., leaving room for another question about destiny vs. choice.  This aspect of the story was exemplified even more with the scene between the Guardians of the universe and Jor-El, going back to the age old question…Is Superman necessary?  Or even better, is it in Kal-El’s destiny to become Superman, to become the protector of Earth?  (I’d sure like to know what happened to Wonder Woman though…)

And we shouldn’t forget about the absolutely stellar artwork by Mr. Renato Arlem and his very merry colorist Felipe Massafera.  To be honest, this style really isn’t my forte; I’ve always been fonder of the clean lines rather than the rough, ragged look.  But with Arlem’s penciling combined with the beautiful colorizations by Allen Passalaqua, I can’t help but give the art in this book 10 thumbs way up!  And that includes the masterful cover art as well by Massafera.

I did wonder if Luthor was going to end up actually being a good guy, or if bates’ would keep him as he should be...a megalomaniac.  I found it even more hilarious when Luthor did, in fact, call himself that.  As crazy as Luthor is, he doesn’t ever deny that he has a god complex, I’ve just never seen it spelled out like it was here in issue #3.  Wonderful, absolutely wonderful!

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
As this miniseries will never be considered part of the “true” Superman mythos, I believe this has officially become the best Superman story to ever be told!  It’s only rival would be the wonderfully clever Superman: For Tomorrow.  If you haven’t picked up this series, go to your local comic book store and get it!  It’s just three issues that are PACKED with story.  This is not a series where you’ll feel jipped by the $5 per issue price mark.  Bates’ put everything he had into this story and I look forward to the day when he comes back to comics more consistently.  (Please Cary!)

So the question I’m faced with now is, which was the better miniseries?  Superman: The Last Family Of Krypton, or Blackest Night?

Rating: 10 out of 10
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 10
+ 4 Incentive Points

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