Action Comics 23.4: Metallo

metallo 23.4

Today, Patrick and guest writer Chuck are discussing Action Comics 23.4: Metallo, originally released September 25th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

villain divPatrick: Have you ever wondered why we find the idea of an evil version of our heroes so interesting? From Bizarro to Venom to Dark Link, we love seeing a warped mirror image of the protagonist. I think it’s because we get to double down on the time we spend exploring their common details. But there’s also this kind of “there but for the grace of God” fascination — if circumstances or perspective were just a little bit different the hero could become the villain. Sholly Fisch tries that same approach to Metallo, and it results in making the character feel less interesting, less unique. Fortunately, that’s exactly what he’s going for. Continue reading

Superman 23.1: Bizarro

Alternating Currents: Superman 23.1: Bizarro, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Superman 23.1: Bizarro, originally released September 4th, 2013. This issue is part of the Villain’s Month event. Click here for our Villains Month coverage.

villain divDrewWhy do we like Bizarro Superman? Is it his goofiness? The absurdity of the premise? For me, I think part of the appeal of Bizarro stories has always been the way they reveal Superman’s compassion for even his exact opposite. Then again, I also just love a good backwards-joke and sentences that begin with “me am.” Whatever it is that draws us to Bizarro — and might make us pick up an issue with his name on the cover — Sholly Fisch willfully avoids in Superman 23.1. We may have expected a story about a goofy, unintentionally dangerous oaf, but instead, Fisch seems content to offer us one about a hyper-serious, willfully antagonistic genius. What we get is so perfectly the opposite of what a Bizarro story should be, it almost achieves a kind of fevered meta-genius — a Bizarro story of Bizarro stories — but it’s simply not good enough to deserve any kind of benefit of the doubt. At least, not beyond how fitting it is that it features a totally senseless monster exploding into a pile of messy goo. Continue reading

Action Comics Annual

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing the Action Comics Annual, originally released October 31st, 2012.

Shelby: I was talking with a friend recently about Superman. He had listed Supes as one of his favorite superheroes; I’ve made my opinion of the Man of Steel pretty well-known ’round these parts, so we don’t have to go into great detail. I made the point that I think Superman is boring because he’s too powerful, that there’s no believable source of conflict in a Superman story. He made the very good point that boring Superman stories are the product of lazy story-telling, not a flat character. A good Superman story should not be about making up some even more powerful bad guy to threaten Superman physically. A good Superman story is about a man dealing with the strengths he has and finding a way to use them well: striking a balance between Clark Kent and Kal-El. Unfortunately, the Action Comics Annual doesn’t give us any of that, focusing instead on a cookie-cutter Superman story that starts with kryptonite and ends with a feeble attempt to explain what a hero truly is.

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