Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Episode #6: Superman: The Year In Review

In this episode I review the monthly Superman titles and rank them in reverse order of preference.

Superman Confidential is one of the Superman titles that I no longer read. After the original kryptonite story done by Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale, the conclusion of which was recently published in issue #11. Why the delay with the concluding issue of the storyline I have not been able to find out why. The subsequent storylines did not grab me as much as that first story arc, and so I dropped it from my reading list.

Superman/Batman is another title I recently dropped. I had collected every issue from the beginning, being a fan of the old World's Finest title, especially with the 1960's Curt Swan drawn issues. Recent story arcs weren't as interesting as earlier ones, and so I decided to drop both in order to leave room in my comic book buying budget for other titles I am interested in. Although if I had more room in my budget I would still pick up Superman/Batman because the current story arc, where Batman and Superman are searching the Earth to rid the planet of all kryptonite. I hated to drop it just before that storyline.

Superman has been the weakest of the Superman titles that I still collect. I enjoyed parts of the Arion story arc, where Arion shows Superman a possible future timeline, which I enjoy reading. But I thought the angle of Superman stunting humanity's ability to protect itself dragged on too long.
The recent conclusion to the Insect Queen 3-part story was excellent. It brought into current continuity a silver-age character and updated it. And the next storyline, involving Mon-El and Daxamites also promises to be exciting to read.

Action Comics has been better this year. The General Zod story, written by Geoff Johns and director Richard Donner, has been excellent. The only criticism I have about it is that the conclusion is going to be in Action Comics Annual #11, whick has yet to be published. I think it will finally come out in March. Another thing I did not like about it was that to read the conclusion of the story, instead of taking maybe two more regular issues, will be in an over-sized issue costing more. I just hope that the conclusion has some substance to it, and isn't filled with fluff to stretch the story.
The current story arc, with the Legion of Super-Heroes, is one of the best Superman stories I've read in a long time. This arc retrofits Superman/Legion continuity into current Superman history. The Legion has been forced underground by the 31st century Justice League, and the Earth's sun has been turned into a red star. We see that Superman's bravery comes from his heart, not his superpowers.

If not for All-Star Superman, Action Comics would be my favorite Superman title. All-Star Superman fits in any era of Superman continuity. Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitley, every issue has been excellent. Superman takes Lois Lane to the Fortress of Solitude for her birthday, and in another issue meets some of his descendants. There hasn't been a weak issue in the series. The only drawback to this series is that it doesn't come out monthly. Most of the time it comes out bi-monthly, and sometimes feels like quarterly.

This coming year in Superman comics looks to be exciting. It feels good to look forward to Superman comics as much as I do other titles that I read, such as Invincible and Powers.

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Superman and all related characters are copyright DC Comics.

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