Superman 1: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Patrick Ehlers

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

Spencer: One of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen thrown around about Superman as a character is that he’s “too powerful,” that nothing can challenge a man who can quite literally juggle planets. There’s a bit of truth to this, to be sure, but it’s a narrow criticism, one that only takes into consideration physical challenges; the most interesting Superman stories are the ones that challenge him morally, ethically, or in ways that make his physical abilities useless. Superman 1 is such a story, an issue that finds the character at his most physically competent, yet feeling more lost and helpless than ever before.  Continue reading

Superman Fails to Find a Better Way in Man of Steel 6

by Drew Baumgartner

Man of Steel 6

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

Superman always finds a better way.

Superman purist, Traditional

I’m paraphrasing pretty heavily here, triangulating a sentiment from the dozens of arguments I read (and participated in) in the wake of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, but the idea that Superman can always come up with a solution that doesn’t involve murder is a ubiquitous one in Superman fandom. And I agree with that idea as it applies to that film — Superman certainly could have at least attempted something else (or the movie could have done a better job convincing us that he had exhausted his options) — but something about “always finding a better way” doesn’t quite feel like Superman to me. His moral compass true, and he’ll never fail to aim for a solution that satisfies his sense of what’s right and wrong, but the thought that he always comes up with a solution would rob those morals of any real consequence. While some Superman stories might resemble Sherlock Holmes in that “seeing how he solves it is the fun” kind of way, one of the most interesting things about Superman having such a strong morality is that it might be tested or bear some emotional cost. That’s a point Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Fabok leverage twice in Man of Steel 6, as Superman fails to “find a better way” in both his superheroing and family lives. Continue reading

Booster Gold Steals the Spotlight in Action Comics 993

By Michael DeLaney

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


The “Superman time travels back to pre-blown up Krypton” story is so frequent of a tale that DC should make a hardcover collection of them all. A bit more than a trip to way back when, Action Comics 993 touches on the elusive mysteries of Mr. Oz and Doctor Manhattan. Continue reading

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

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!

slim-banner

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

Justice League 24

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing Justice League 24, a Forever Evil tie-in, originally released October 23rd, 2013.

Taylor: What makes someone evil? The term is thrown around a lot in the media and it’s gotten to the point where it seems its meaning has become lost, just as we lose our sense of what good beer tastes like after a few or five drinks. We call certain dictators evil and the same goes for terrorists. In the stories we tell one another we talk about super villains and often these individuals are motivated by hate or revenge or the lust for power. We call these people evil and in both cases this is rightly so. But of course, considering someone evil is all a matter of perspective. One man’s terrorist is another man’s martyr; one’s hero is another’s villain. But suppose for a second we existed in a universe where this yin-yang balance didn’t exist. What would it be like? Justice League 24, a tie-in with Forever Evil, attempts to give us this answer and in doing so shows us some really deplorable characters.

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