H’el on Earth

H’el is coming to Earth, and it looks like only the Super-family can stop him. Who is H’el? What does h’e want? H’ere is the place to find the answers, as we bring you coverage of every issue in the event. This is our nerve center for all things H’el.

The Issues

PreludeWriter: Scott Lobdell; Artist: Kenneth Rocafort

Alternating Currents: Superman 13, Patrick and Scott

Superman – Writer: Scott Lobdell; Artist: Kenneth Rocafort

Alternating Currents: Superman 14, Shelby and Drew

Alternating Currents: Superman 15, Patrick and Scott

superman 16

Alternating Currents: Superman 17, Drew and Mikyzptlk

Superboy – Writer: Tom DeFalco; Artist: R.B. Silva and Rob Dean

Alternating Currents: Superboy 14, Drew and Mikyzptlk

Alternating Currents: Superboy 15, Drew and Shelby

Alternating Currents: Superboy 16, Patrick and DrewAlternating Currents: Superboy Annual 1, Shelby and Freakin' Animal Man

Alternating Currents: Superboy 17, Mikyzptlk and Drew

Supergirl – Writer: Mike Johnson; Artist: Mahmud Asrar

Alternating Currents: Supergirl 14, Drew and Patrick

Alternating Currents: Supergirl 15, Drew and Patrick

Alternating Currents: Supergirl 16, Drew and Mogo

supergirl 17

30 comments on “H’el on Earth

  1. Let’s all pitch our sitcoms starring H’el. I’ll start: “I’ll See You in, H’el” H’el plays a famous restaurant critic, and a rotating cast of guest stars play the Maitre d’s that “see him in” to his seat. This one has CBS written all over it.

    • “H’el if I Know” — H’el plays a quiz show host and single father of three daughters. Each week, he brings his parenting problems to his question writers for help. Basically, it’s Home Improvement with trivia instead of tools.

    • “H’el is for Children”–A psychotic taxi driver has hallucinations of wacky childlike puppets that order him to carry out random tasks–mostly to the benefit of others…. Think Taxi Driver meets the Muppets with the flavor of Wonderfalls and lots of 80s rock music.

    • “Snowball’s Chance” – H’el is a metrosexual lottery winner who, upon cashing out the Power Ball for the lump sum, packs up and moves from smalltown Nebraska to a fancy Hollywood suburb and goes into the specialty desert shop business, befriending a zany cast of foodies and fashionistas.

  2. H’el’s Belles — It would be too easy to set this as a high class escort service, so maybe a period piece focused on raising beautiful, sweet-talking and apparently perfect Southern daughters (who maybe aren’t so keen on being perfect Southern Belle’s) in the build up to the Civil War…. Perhaps one has friendships with the family’s slaves and Union leanings, one could be betrothed to the Colonel while playing for the Colonel’s son, and one has political ambitions she hopes to enact through entrapping the (married) senator, who is a family friend. And of course dad is a rich, power-hungry, conniving, and totally inept businessman/swindler who constantly undermines his daughters. Sort of Dallas meets Desperate Housewives in the late 1850s. Or is that too out there…?

  3. Honestly, there’s some pretty hilarious stuff here! I’ve come to this topic to ask a serious question however; in light of the fact that my favorite current writer (Scott Snyder) and one of my favorite artists (Jim Lee) are teaming up on a new Superman book in 2013, I’m looking to catch-up on Superman mythology. I’m starting pretty much from scratch, I know some of the basics but aside from just cramming in issues 0-12 of Action Comics (and feeling pretty lost in parts) I’ve never read Superman comics before, and I feel like I should get familiar with what he’s all about to give myself a chance to really enjoy this upcoming book. So essentially I’d like recommendations of say, 5-10 trades/story-arcs that define Superman, his main allies and villains. I’ll probably look to repeat this experiment with other characters soon, so I’ll have to find some other somewhat related page to spam then. Also, how is Superman (the title) sonce Lobdell/Rocafort took over, I heard it was pretty bad before but I’m tempted to give it a shot now; is it worth it, will I be super-lost, is this event worth following at all? Thanks in advance!

    • You asked the magic question, Gino! I’m a really huge Superman fan, and I’m pretty sure that sooner or later you’ll be able to track down Mikyzptlk for some great Superman recommendations too. This is what I’d start with:

      Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

      Superman: Braniac by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

      Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow by Alan Moore and Curt Swan, and as an added bonus this trade also includes the also-amazing For The Man Who Has Everything by the Watchmen team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Both of these are quintessential.

      All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Even as a gigantic fan of Morrison’s Action Comics I would say don’t pre-judge this material by what you know of his run on Action – this was an entirely different beast. It distilled the best element of the various decades of Superman into an amazing and definitive interperetation. Each issue stands as a done-in-one like classic silver age comics and yet over t he course of the maxi-series it does still tell an overal story (I *love* this format, it works equally great for me in the classic Jim Aparo-illustrated Aquaman feature in Adventure Comics from the early 70’s that culminates in Adventure Comics 452.)

      And then I’d track down these individual issues if possible:

      Action Comics 544 (50th Anniversary issue with the debut of the robotic version of Braniac and Luthor’s classic armor). Then pick up Superman 385 and 386 for the continuation of the Luthor arc.

      Superman 164 (Superman fist-fights Luthor while powerless under a red sun in a classic Curt Swan issue.)

      Those are some of my most beloved comics overall, not even just Superman. I’ll leave it at that because I’m sure others will have some great recommendations and I don’t want to swamp you.

      Hope that helps, buddy!

      • I know it’s an Elseworld AND Mark Millar, but I found Red Son to be really helpful to understanding the nature of the conflict between Lex and Superman. Before reading that book, I couldn’t wrap my mind around their rivalry. Red Son is endlessly clever and almost ends up painting them both as bad guys, but in leveling their morality, the philosophical differences shine through. Mogs, you have an opinion on Red Son?

        • I haven’t read that one yet, but I’ll pick it up after the holidays to check it out. Honestly, I’m not too familiar with Millar’s work since he’s mostly been at Marvel

        • I just finished Red Son and I have to agree that it’s very good. It’s isn’t as entertaining as Secret Origin or Brainiac (IMO) but it makes you think quite a bit, which is cool. Also, the ending, although very unrealistic, is a nice twist (I won’t say more so I don’t ruin it for Mogo). Thanks for the suggestion Patrick!

        • The twist at the end was the one part that I didn’t love. I get that it draws further similarities between Supes and Lex, but it ultimately seems like a wasted opportunity to tie itself back into the normal version of Kal crashing in Kansas. Still, fun read – glad you liked it!

        • Ya I did sort of expect him to crash in Kansas as well, but his family history was the twist I thought was interesting. Obviously, it’s kind of non-sensical because it implies that a super-powered being descends from a regular man, but I still thought it was an interesting conclusion.

  4. Thanks a lot Mogo, I’ll be checking those out soon. Did you list them in an order in which I’ll be able to understand everything? Because frankly my main gripe with the current Action Comics is not so much that I don’t think it’s good, I just feel like I’m missing information to really grasp everything that’s going on. Also, is there any good material that focuses on Krypton/Kandor, that really piqued my interest as I was read AC. Thanks again!

    • Sort of. DEFINITELY start with Secret Origin because it’s the best introduction to the various elements of the mythology available. Then do Braniac separately since it fills in the biggest major player not mentioned in Secret Origin. Once you have that stuff then you are basically equipped to read any Superman stuff.

      Just be aware that the Alan Moore stuff takes place before the 1986 reboot and that Whatever Happened is supposed to be the last story of the Superman that existed from Action Comics 1 until 1986. All of the individual issues I’ve listed exist before the 1986 Crisis reboot, too.

      All-Star Superman is out-of-continuity and is a complete, self-contained work.

      Hope that helps with a preferred reading order!

    • Oh, and even as a huge Superman fan, I find some portions of Action to be incoherent – particularly involving the different timelines and the Anti-Superman Army. He keeps his narrative struction very, very simple in All-Star and its all the better for it

  5. Ya, that timeline bit was unintelligible to me, but even the Brainiac arc was hard to follow at times. I mean, probably everyone who’s really familiar with Supes knows who Brainiac is and what he’s all about, but aside from his collecting doomed worlds, I understood little of who he is, where he’s from, how/why he’s collecting these worlds. I felt like everyone around me felt when we got the Talia reveal in TDK Rises, then I was like “OH SHIT” and everyone around was more like “eh, what?”.

    Also, does reading the pre-86 stuff require some deeper understanding or will Secret Origins and Brainiac still give me enough material to follow what’s happening (obv. they’re not in the same continuity, but Batman’s background story which enables readers to understand him changes very little from one reboot to the next, only the quality of the book that tells it changes much).

    • I think the the pre-Crisis stuff is all pretty self-explanatory, even the issues that are at the very tail end of that contuinity. I would just do a quick Wikipedia look into Mr. Mxyzptlk. I don’t want to say what story that will play into because it’s a really cool suprise, but there is a plot point in there that does hinge on your knowledge of Mxyzptlk’s power set (nearly all-powerfull in our dimenson), and his mischevous and mostly harmless nature. To banish him back to the 5th Dimension you must trick him into saying his own name backwards.

      For the Luthor arc that begins in Action 544 you might also want to be aware that the planet Lexor is an alien planet that Lex once discovered. He used his scientific genius to rebuild their failing society into a near-utopia by using their own lost technology. On this planet he is married, and his life there is a basically a happy and fulfilled existence since there is no Superman to show him up.

      And Secret Origin does a GREAT job of distilling many of the definitive characteristics of the pre-Crisis Superman into a modern version of the character. I can’t say enough good things about the way Superman is depicted in that book and how well the various elements are distilled into this version of the character. Johns and Morrison are the two writers who, in my opinion, perfectly capture his “voice”. Morrison’s high-concept narration sometimes obscures the fact, but his portrayal of the character himself is nearly always spot-on.

  6. Well, congratulations, Mogo. After many years of being a Batman purist and saying that Superman was too powerful to be interesting, I just read through Secret Origin and loved it, so I’ll be looking further in the next few days, probably much to the detriment of the end of my semester and/or my sleep (I’ll have to stay up to study after I waste all my study time reading comics).

    • Hey, Gino, that’s great news – I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m always trying to convert people over to Superman fandom. He’s a really great character, I just think a lot of writers don’t know what to do with him. I’m rabidly frothing at the mouth for that Snyder run

  7. Ya I suppose it’s true that people don’t know how to use him, all that I’d seen/heard in the past was just fist-fights and kryptonite which, I’m sure you’ll agree, gets old pretty fast. Reading Snyder’s interview about his upcoming run just really made me want to dig into Supes and so far I’m really liking it! I just ploughed through Brainiac and enjoyed that a lot too! Those two books also made me see why a lot of people rave about Geoff Johns so much, his stuff in the new 52 has been ok but not amazing to me and I didn’t like Batman: Earth One all that much in all honesty, but this is really good stuff. So my curiosity thanks you, and my grades will curse you next week!

  8. Oh by the way, in the midst of all this, I never did find out if this event is any good (I don’t want to read the reviews since they tend to be spoiler heavy) and/or what Superman title is worth reading amongst the new 52.

    • No, of course you didn’t find the answer you were looking for, that’d be too easy.

      Drew and I have been enjoying ‘Superman’ with Lobdell and Rocafort on it. But DISCLAIMER: we were also pretty big fans of that team on Red Hood Y Los Outlaws. It seems like their storytelling style is benefiting from the rigors of adhering strictly to the goings-on of this one event.

      And as far as that event is concerned, it’s certainly too early to tell whether it’s going to be worth it or not. ‘Superboy 14’ was a reference-heavy mess (with editor’s notes citing Legion, Teen Titans, other shit I’m not reading), but was actually pretty charming when it stuck close to the Superboy character himself. ‘Supergirl 14’ was probably the best of the bunch so far, and brings up some good questions about what it means to be Kryptonian and what sort of debt these creatures have to human beings (and Earth). At only 3 issues a month (and all $2.99 issues at that), the buy-in for H’el on Earth isn’t too intimidating, but there’s also no real saying how long the event is going to last (the solicits have this thing just going and going and going). So if you want to read new Superman, it’s going to involve H’el.

      And unfortunately, we’re not patient enough to unpack what’s going on in Action, so I can’t really comment on the quality thereof. I read the first trade (as I believe you did as well) and while it’s not without its moments, it’s a little too Morrison-y for me.

      Plus, in like March we’ll get that Snyder Superman book. March ain’t so far away.

  9. Kool, I’ll look into H’el then and see how I like it, I enjoyed Lobdell/Rocafort’s early run on RHATO myself, although it seems that just as the art took a turn for the worse when Rocafort left, so did the writing, which theoretically should be unchanged, but I’ll see. I didn’t know a date had been announced for Snyder’s Superman, good to hear it’s coming soon.

    As an aside, maybe I haven’t been following monthlies long enough and this will seem trivial, but is Scott Snyder taking on more work than he can handle? I mean, in 2013 he’ll be writing Batman, Swamp Thing, a Superman title, co-writing Talon, as well as American Vampire and a new project called The Wake. Is it pretty standard for comic writers to have this many projects going at once? I’m kind of worried he’ll have to drop writing duties on something, I suspect the first to go would be Talon or Swamp Thing, and that’d be a shame.

    • I believe American Vampire is going on hiatus for the time being, and Patrick seems to believe that Snyder won’t play much of a role in Talon after the conclusion of its first arc, so he may actually be breaking even on titles with these new ones. I trust him to know how much he can divide his attentions, and which projects do or don’t need him, so even if he did have to drop Swamp Thing, I’m sure it would be for the best.

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