Friday, December 31, 2010

Episode #159: Superman In 2010: The Year In Review!

2010 was a mixed bag for me as a Superman fan, moreso than than in a long time.

This year the long New Krypton storyline ended with War Of The Supermen, which I reviewed in episode #128. Superman: Secret Origin also concluded. New storylines began that will stretch well into the next year, Grounded in Superman, and Lex Luthor has take over Action Comics, like he takes over everything else, in a sequel to Blackest Night. Luthor is on a quest to recapture the Black Energy.

A new Legion title began, and the same group of 31st Century heroes also took over Adventure Comics, both being written by Paul Levitz.

Another old comic book writer returned to DC, Cary Bates, with the Elseworld's title Superman: Last Family Of Krypton, which I reviewed in episode #148.

The basic premise of Grounded has not jelled with me. I found it to be out of place with Superman at this stage of his career. As others have said before me, if Superman couldn't save Pa Kent, why would this woman's claim that the Man of Steel could have saved her husband from a tumor have made him question himself. While a few individual issues have been pretty good, like the one of the aliens in outer space in Detroit, and the recent one on child abuse, Superman has seemed aloof, unlike he was even at the end of War Of The Supermen. And for the events of New Krypton to not even be mentioned until Dick Grayson Batman questioned Superman about his motives a few issues into the plot, is not good storytelling. It's as if the previous stroyline has been forgotten as the creative team moves on to the next story.

It hasn't helped with J. Michael Strazynski's announcement that he was leaving Superman and Wonder Woman, to concentrate on the sequel to Superman: Earth One graphic novel, is a bad publicity move. Noone looks good here. I wish DC would stop looking for the biggest names and look for the best names to write good Superman stories.

I'm not going to drop the Superman books, just yet. I've read great to bad Superman stories over a lot of years, so I have faith that the Man of Steel will rebound. But if the new storyline next year with the return of Doomsday doesn't appeal to me, I will consider dropping the Superman titles until a storyline comes along that interests me. Not too long ago that would ahve been unthinkable. I hope DC comes up with a good story, and doesn't just think, "Okay, what have we not done to Superman, yet. I know, we'll have Doosday rip his arm off!" I hope it doesn't come down to a stunt like that. I just hope Superman can walk a lot faster and get this story over with.

One character I hope returns is Clar Kent. I miss Clark Kent. When the regular identity is ignored for the flashy guy in the capes and tights, it makes the character too one dimensional and boring. I like the twists and turns of Superman's life as both superhoer and newspaper reporter and husband. Here's to more of that on 2011.

For my best Superman story of the year: it's Superman: Last Family Of Krypton! Cary Bates has lost none of his talent as a storyteller, and he found a great way to challenge the Man of Steel and his family, and develop the supporting cast in new and interesting ways.

It's just too bad that it couldn't have been one of the regular Superman books.

In 2011, the Superman Fan Podcast will shift the main focus of the episodes. With quite a number of Superman podcasts popping up, covering various eras, I'm going to shift the main focus of this podcast to the silver age, which happens to be the era I began reading comic books, in the mid-1960's. And that will begin with the very first episode of 2011!

Next Episode: The Search For The Silver Age Superman!

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