“Preachy” Doesn’t Mean “Bad” in Superman 27

by Spencer Irwin

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

“Preachy” is one of those words that I, as both a critic and a human being, hate using. Almost every narrative preaches in one way or another, meaning that the word largely ends up being used, much like “agenda” or “pandering,” only to describe concepts the speaker can’t stand. Yet, I can’t find a better word to describe Superman 27 than “preachy” — I mean, Lois and Clark spend the majority of the issue stating their beliefs almost directly to the reader in language that sounds straight from a dictionary, eliciting several eye-rolls from me. Thankfully, this doesn’t lead to the issue’s doom. In fact, it still succeeds because of three reasons. Continue reading

Super Sons 6: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

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

Spencer: Despite not making a single appearance, the Teen Titans loomed large over the first five issues of Super Sons. The Titans were Damian’s trump card, the cool older friends he could taunt Jon with whenever Jon gained the upper-hand against him. Amazingly, Jon never seemed all that affected by Damian’s bluster, at one point even telling Damian off for bringing the Titans up so much. This all changes as Peter Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez bring the Titans into the fold in Super Sons 6, adding some interesting new wrinkles to these two boys’ relationship. Continue reading

Jon Feels More Like Damian in Superman 26

by Michael DeLaney

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

Filling in for a regular creative team on a comic book is hard all around, for the readers and creators alike. Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleason take a break for Superman 26 and writer/artist team Michael Moreci and Scott Godlewski sub in.  I didn’t love the previous “Black Dawn” story arc, but it was Tomasi/Gleason story so it jibed with what had lead up to that point. One of the biggest things working against Superman 26 is Moreci’s characterization. Continue reading

Dark Days: The Forge 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

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

Spencer: By some sort of weird cosmic coincidence, I’ve been re-reading Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s late 90s JLA run this week. While that series is rightly remembered for its grand, heady ideas and breakneck-paced tales, what impressed me the most this time around was Morrison’s regard for the DC universe — every story was sprinkled with guest stars and allusions to past stories, well-known and deep cuts alike. Despite Rebirth’s best efforts, that sense of history is something I’ve been missing from DC the past few years, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened Dark Days: The Forge — the prelude to Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV’s big summer event — and discovered that it’s practically an ode to DC’s past. Snyder and Tynion are clearly having a blast digging into DC’s sandbox, and it’s hard for that sense of enthusiasm and wonder not to rub off on the reader. Continue reading

Superman 22

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Superman 22, originally released May 3, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: DC’s double-shipping initiative has created quite the creative dilemma: how do you handle art duties with a schedule that makes it impossible for a single regular artist to handle every issue? Most titles have found a regular roster of artists to cycle through, but Superman adds an interesting wrinkle to that concept — while there are several artists who have consistently lent their talent to the book, co-writer Patrick Gleason is clearly its “main” artist, whose work is usually saved for the most important issues and stories. Such is the case with “Black Dawn,” the culmination of Gleason and Peter Tomasi’s first year of Superman stories. Gleason illustrated “Black Dawn’s” first two chapters, but Doug Mahnke takes over for its third installment. The switch in artists could be jarring, but Tomasi and Gleason incorporate it beautifully, using the opportunity to switch the perspective of their story entirely. Continue reading

Superman 16

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Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Superman 16, originally released February 1, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: A lot of my time in Los Angeles has been spent in and around the improv comedy community, and watching a seemingly endless amount of bad comedy (and, truly, few things will make your flesh want to flee your body more than bad improv) really makes you appreciate the pros — people who week after week are able to deliver a baseline solid, occasionally brilliant, show. Consistency is what makes a pro a pro, in comedy, sports, comic books, what have you. The ability to reliably deliver the goods is indispensable. Superman 16 is a slightly disappointing end to Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi’s “Multiplicty” arc, but they’re pros, so even a messier Superman has ideas and moments worth paying attention to. Continue reading

Superman 14

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Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Superman 14, originally released January 4, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: There was something in the air starting around 2005 that demanded male-driven pop culture be characterized by “grit.” Space marines were to be bald, worlds were to be painted in shades of concrete, and heroes were meant to be broken. It’s perhaps unfair to lay the root of this phenomenon at the feet of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins — but here we are. Whatever you think of the movie itself, there’s no question that Nolan’s take on Batman had the (unintended?) side effect of making the character joyless. Everyone wants to be Batman, but who would want to be that Batman? By the time The Dark Knight Rises was released in 2012, this No Fun Allowed Batman was so ingrained in the public consciousness that when Nolan and his brother Jonathan attempted to inject a bit of levity into the proceedings with a handful of actual jokes, some fans of the series balked. And who can blame them? For many, this was the only Batman they knew, and Batman — an adult man who dresses as a bat to beat up clowns and squat fat men and women squeezed into male-gaze fetish gear — was nothing to joke about.

Whether by decree of shared corporate Time Warner overlords or just an attempt to reinvigorize their lineup by capitalizing on the trends of the time, DC’s 2011 New 52 re-launch became an exercise in Nolanization. And while perhaps never as literally grey as the video games of the time, the race to appeal to the same Mountain Dew Gamer Fuel-fueled demographic had the (again, unintended?) side effect of slowly and fundamentally eroding what was so beloved about many of DC’s characters to begin with. To be fair, before Rebirth DC had already begun course correcting toward a more vibrant, diversified, and generally happy lineup of characters, but in some cases the rot was considered too deep. Let us pour one out for New 52 Superman, a sacrificial lamb killed off as a sign of good faith toward spurned fans. Continue reading

Superman Annual 1

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Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman Annual 1, originally released November 30th, 2016As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Michael: I harp on Annuals a lot because in short, they’re weird. Typically they exist outside of the main ongoing story and sometimes are not even written or drawn by the title’s current creative team. Rebirth is not immune to the pitfalls of Annuals, as Drew and I pointed out in our discussion of Batman Annual 1. The consistently strong Superman title, however, follows through with Superman Annual 1. Pete Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Jorge Jimenez provide us with a story that compliments the main narrative and encapsulates the same joy that has made Superman one of the stand-out Rebirth titles. Continue reading

Nightwing 9

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Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Nightwing 9, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: If you go back and read my reviews of recent Nightwing issues, I’m on record as calling this run “grim” more than once. I’m still a bit puzzled as to why writer Tim Seeley has filled Dick with so much angst, but at least Nightwing 9 is an acknowledgement of this trend, and seemingly an active move away from it. It’s a refreshing look at why Dick Grayson is such a powerful character in the first place. Continue reading

Superman 9

superman-9

Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Superman 9, originally released October 19th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: Issues 8 and 9 of Superman read like an entire season of LOST. I’m only partially saying that because the action takes place on a mysterious, temporally displaced, impossible-to-escape island populated by monsters. The comparison is actually more apt in the way both LOST and Superman treat their central mysteries. By the end of issue 9, Clark and Jon’s adventure on the island may appear to be over, but readers are left with a host of lingering questions. In lieu of answers, storytellers Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi revel in the charming and illuminating details of the mystery itself, letting the mysterious, the symbolic, and the evocative beats speak for themselves. Continue reading