Superman 28: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Michael DeLaney

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

Spencer: I’ve never considered myself very patriotic. I appreciate the freedoms and privileges I enjoy as an American citizen, of course, as well as the sacrifices so many have made in order to ensure them, but it’s hard for me to fully support a country built on slavery and genocide, a country that’s struggled to properly care for minorities and the poor, a country that effortlessly and thoughtlessly kills foreign innocents in their own homes. I’m not comfortable putting my faith in an organization whose agendas so often shift (or can so easily be bought); I’d rather put my faith in individual people.

On paper, then, I probably shouldn’t like Superman 28, the conclusion of Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Scott Godlewski’s brief “Declaration” storyline. In many ways Clark, Lois, and Jon’s road trip is patriotism at its finest, yet what endears me to this story is the focus the creative team puts on people; on the people who sacrificed so much to fight for their beliefs, and on the very human cost of America’s many wars. That’s a thesis I can get behind. Continue reading

“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

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

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

Super Sons 3

Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Super Sons 3, originally released April 19th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Super Sons 3 picks up where we last left our boy wonders: Robin vs. Superman and Superboy vs. Batman. The pair quickly discover that they are not fighting their superdads, but instead robot duplicates. Despite their best efforts and hero poses, they prove unsuccessful in taking down their robodads without the help of Sara Duffy — you know, of the short-lived Super Duffys. After the events of Justice League’s “The Amazo Virus,” the Duffys were one of the three percent of the population that kept their superpowers. Following a brief stint of an Incredibles-esque family super team, Sara’s brother Reggie aka “Kid Amazo” went nuts and made his family the hostages we saw in previous issues of Super Sons. Continue reading

Superman 9

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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

Convergence: Superboy 2

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Today, Shane and Spencer are discussing Convergence: Superboy 2, originally released May 13th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Shane: Once upon a time, I wanted to be an actor when I grew up. There wasn’t anything in particular driving this dream, I just knew that I wanted to be an actor, and I made that pretty well known to anyone around me. My parents, to their credit, did what they could to further that dream, enrolling me in acting clubs, community plays, and the like. This passion helped define me as a child, expressing itself in a general sense of theatricality that still, in some ways, exists in my personality. In a similar (albeit more extreme) vein, Superboy’s desire to become Superman that defines him, instilled in him from “birth” as his sole purpose in life. A driving force in virtually every Superboy story, it remains prominent in this Convergence miniseries set so early in his life. As he goes up against heroes from the Kingdom Come universe, he battles with all of his power, even against all odds. Continue reading

Convergence: Superboy 1

superboy 1 conv

Today, Spencer and Shane are discussing Convergence: Superboy 1, originally released April 15th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.

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Spencer: If there’s one flaw to this second week of Convergence tie-ins that wasn’t present in the first, it’s the fact that these characters can’t really change or evolve. Since week one took place at the end of the Post-Crisis DC Universe, the creative teams could examine what an “ending” for their protagonists may look like (before cruelly snatching those endings away), but this week’s books have to keep their stars in a sort of suspended animation — unable to evolve or drift too far from their established fate, they’re more than ever defined by their most basic conflicts and character traits. This isn’t always a bad thing (it works out better for Parallax than, say, Azrael), but it is a bit of a tricky hurdle to leap. Do Fabian Nicieza and Karl Moline manage to succeed in crafting a compelling story for Superboy despite the limitations of the format? I’d say yes, but despite this impressive success, they do falter just a bit on some of the smaller details. Continue reading