The Batman/Superman friendship shines in Action Comics 992

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of the many miscalculations of 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was predicating the success of the entire film on the idea that it’s cool to see Batman and Superman fight. To climax an entire movie with the Dark Knight and the Kryptonian beating the crap out of each other shows a fundamental misunderstanding of why people enjoy these characters. What we like is Batman and Superman being best friends. Together, they’re the Sour Patch Kids of DC’s trinity; a little sour, but also sweet.

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One Moment Undermines an Entire Storyline in Action Comics 991

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

While I’ll probably always question the decision to bring Jor-El back, I actually admire the way the past few issues of Action Comics have used the character. Jor-El has a small, but famous, history — being betrayed by his fellow Kryptonians and sending his son to Earth in a rocket — and Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic wisely lean into those traits with all their might, making Jor-El a man blinded by the betrayals and cruelty he’s faced, and who just wants to continue protecting his son from the predicted end of yet another world. It works so well, it makes it all the more tragic that Action Comics 991 undermines the whole thing. Continue reading

An Exasperated Superman Doesn’t Make Smart Choices in Action Comics 990

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

It’s rare to see Superman exasperated. Usually he’s flying around, helping people; sometimes he feels weighed down by the enormity of humanity’s ability to do evil, but at the end of the day he’s the ultimate optimist. It’s not often we see Superman at the end of his rope, but that’s exactly where he is in Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic’s Action Comics 990Continue reading

Jor-El and Superman Can’t Back Down From Their Convictions in Action Comics 989

by Spencer Irwin

 

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

For simplicity’s sake, comics tend to paint large groups or alien races with a broad cultural brush (“On Tamaran we all follow our hearts and live by our emotions!”), but in reality, entire races or civilizations can’t be that simply summed up. In all honesty, Superman claiming that humanity are better than their base instincts is just as ridiculous as Jor-El saying that humanity are no better than their base instincts — both are trying to sum up six billion people with one easy label that will never be applicable to them all. Both have made a choice to see humanity in a way that reaffirms their worldview.  Continue reading

Jor-El Loses Hope in Action Comics 988

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

While Superman’s mission is most often described as “truth, justice, and the American Way,” personally I think the quality that best describes him and his methods is “hope.” Superman has hope that people can be better, and that’s the one thing he can never give up on. It’s also clearly going to be a major point of contention between him and his father, Jor-El a.k.a. the newly revealed Mr. Oz, as this arc of Action Comics moves forward. Continue reading

Superman 44

superman 44

Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman 44 originally released September 30th, 2015. 

Michael: Modern superhero tales have a troubled history with placing too much emphasis on the “how.” How did they get their powers? How did they become a superhero? How would this actually work in the real world? As always, there are exceptions to the rule, but many creators often spend too much time focusing on the “how” instead of placing the emphasis on what happens next. Case in point: Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr.’s Superman 44. Continue reading

Batman/Superman 22

batman superman 22

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Batman/Superman 22, originally released July 8th, 2015.

Michael: Any given issue of Batman/Superman is a coin toss. The relatively young incarnation of this relatively old idea is more of a companion piece to writer Greg Pak’s other Superman series, Action Comics. It’s an exploration of different avenues for Superman while being grounded by Batman as the constant. What happens when both the constant and the variable of this story-telling formula are changed? Is it the same book?

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Convergence Round-Up: Week Eight

convergence roundup 8

Today, Michael leads a discussion about Convergence 8, Action Comics 2, Blue Beetle 2, Booster Gold 2, Crime Syndicate 2, Detective Comics 2, Infinity Inc. 2, Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters 2 and World’s Finest 2.

convergence divMichael: When’s the last time you read a true finale from Marvel or DC? I’m talking final word, last story, completion of a hero’s journey, close-the-book-on-it ending. I could probably only count a handful of those types of finales in the past couple of years; maybe. Like any analysis of the Big Two, it can be seen in two ways: cynically or inspiringly. Cynically, there will never be a “final story.” The Coca-Cola and Pepsi of comic books always leave a door open for potential future stories because they want your money. Inspiringly, we are witnessing the sagas of modern mythology: endless heroic epics. These stories will never come to a true end because their legend continues and the heroes never say die. It can be impossibly cheesy, but the end caption “Never the end” always clutches at my heart strings. After eight weeks, 41 books and 89 issues Convergence has finally met its end. I think there is a strong argument for the inspiring read of “Never the End” present in most of these finales. Conversely, Convergence been criticized as a sales stunt, so the more cynical finale read is just as viable. Two months later what have we learned? For one, nostalgia can be expensive. Continue reading

Action Comics 40

action comics 40

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Action Comics 40, originally released March 14th, 2015.

Spencer: In preparation for the premiere of its final season next month, I’m currently in the process of rewatching Mad Men from beginning to end. Meanwhile, my best friend just got into House of Cards, and has shown me a few episodes in hopes of getting me to watch it as well. I guess it worked — the first episode hooked me right away — but I already know that there’s no way I’ll be able to go straight from Mad Men‘s unending cycles of dysfunction to House of Cards‘ cynical wheeling and dealing; it’s simply too much darkness back-to-back. I need some sort of comedy as a palette-cleanser between the two series, and I get the feeling that Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder were dealing with a similar dilemma when they came up with the idea behind Action Comics 40. After the angst of the massive “Doomed” crossover and the horror-centric Ultra-Humanite story, the title was in dire need of a fun, goofy story to lighten the mood, and Bizarro’s story here certainly succeeds in doing just that. Continue reading

Action Comics 38

Alternating Currents: Action Comics 38, Suzanne and Drew

Today, Suzanne and Drew are discussing Action Comics 38, originally released January 7th, 2015.

Suzanne: Have you ever read a story arc that you didn’t quite connect with? A few years back, I picked up Geoff Johns’ Blackest Night and was disappointed that it didn’t have the emotional punch for me that so many other readers felt. Maybe I was at a disadvantage — I was unfamiliar with the pre-New 52 universe and this was my introduction to many of the characters. Then I read the first few issues of Johns’ Justice League when the members confront the ghosts of their dead loves ones. For example, Thomas and Martha Wayne appeared and told Bruce how disappointed they were in his choices in life. Again, I didn’t have a strong reaction to the story because the stakes didn’t feel as real. Action Comics 38 includes a horror zombie version of Jonathan and Martha Kent. So can Greg Pak revive what has become a (somewhat) tired trope and also bring renewed focus to a series overshadowed by the recent “Superman: Doomed” crossover? Continue reading