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

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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

Action Comics 987: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Michael DeLaney  

Action Comics 987

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

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Mark: Modern comic books are built on tropes. After nearly a century of storytelling in the medium, the particulars of what makes a Superman story different from a Batman story are so deeply engrained that creators have a binary choice when sitting down to craft a tale: embrace the tropes or react against them. And while longtime comic book readers tend to seek out and reward stories that are willing to subvert and contort their expectations, either choice can be successful if executed well. Continue reading

Super Sons 5: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Michael DeLaney

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

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Mark: When I was about twelve years old, some friends and I got it in our heads that we deserved to go to a Six Flags theme park located two hours away from our city. We had just wrapped up a school assignment and were feeling pretty good about it; going to Six Flags was, to our minds, a reasonable reward for a job well done. My parents, for what I now recognize to be completely legitimate reasons, were quick to kibosh the idea — they weren’t interested in driving a Suburban full of sweaty pre-teens two hours to a theme park, driving two hours home, and then doing it all again later that night in order to pick us up. Plus, since I was twelve and had no money of my own to pay for park admission or food once I got in, they would basically be paying me $100 for the pleasure. All because me and my friends felt like we should be rewarded for completing our homework. I was furious.

Dealing with pre-teens and teenagers can be infuriating. They are, after all, categorically terrible; self-absorption coupled with crippling insecurity is a toxic combination. But it’s not their fault nature made them that way. Kids are constantly confronted with situations and decisions they are ill-prepared to face, lacking both the context and emotional experience to properly process and asses the situation. But that doesn’t make it any less irritating to be around them. Continue reading

Action Comics 958

Alternating Currents: Action Comics 958, Drew and Mark

Today, Drew and Mark are discussing Action Comics 958, originally released June 22nd, 2016.

Drew: What kind of themes do you expect of a Superman story? Morality? Alienation? Hope? Love? Over his 75+ year history, Superman has come to represent many ideas beyond that handful of suggestions, but those might serve as a reasonable starting point for the character, describing at least the ballpark he tends to play in. With Action Comics 958 — an issue by its very numbering necessarily recalls a good chunk of Superman stories — Dan Jurgens and Patrick Zircher make a compelling case for voyeurism as a key element of the Superman mythos. Continue reading

Superman: Lois and Clark 5

lois and clark 5

Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman: Lois and Clark 5, originally released February 24th, 2016.

Michael: I’m enough of a seasoned comic book reader to know that I shouldn’t be misled by/read into comic book covers. But dammit, I still get my hopes up about covers with the best of ’em. The cover for Superman: Lois and Clark 5 teases that beardy Clark will come face to face with New 52 Batman. Alas it was just a tease. Continue reading

Superman: Lois & Clark 3

superman lois and clark 3

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Superman: Lois & Clark 3, originally released December 30th, 2015.

Spencer: In any comic storyline lasting more than two or three issues, it’s the middle chapters that are usually the weakest. Openings can rely on the excitement of starting a new story, penultimate chapters generally benefit from a big twist, and conclusions, of course, seem to matter the most simply because they’re the end of the story. Those middle chapters, though — third and fourth issues specifically, if it’s a six-issue arc — tend to blend together, existing only to “move the story forward” without really gaining an identity or having a complete, satisfying narrative of their own. Issue 3 of Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks’ Superman: Lois and Clark fits this description to a “t,” and is a weaker installment because of it. Continue reading

Superman: Lois & Clark 1

Lois and clark 1

Today, Michael and Mark are discussing Superman: Lois & Clark 1, originally released October 14th, 2015.

Michael: Many of my early pieces for Retcon Punch consisted of me complaining about The New 52 and comparing it to the old DCU that I knew and loved. I’d often go off on tangents about the way DC does business and neglect the book I was actually covering. I loved and missed the pre-Flashpoint DCU and I still do. Enter a book like Superman: Lois & Clark 1, which allows me to cheat by writing about the old DCU and the book in front of me. Continue reading