Not Quite a Moral Challenge in Superman 40

By Mark Mitchell

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

While Superman’s abilities to punch hard, fly fast, and jump high are the sizzle to his steak, the real meat (pardon the tortured metaphor) of Clark Kent as a character is his strong moral center. Comic books are lousy with characters possessing superpowers, but only a precious few represent truth and goodness like the man from Krypton. That’s why the Superman stories that really stick with us are the ones that find ways to challenge his moral certitude — and by challenging it, ultimately end up amplifying it even more. At multiple points, James Robinson and Doug Mahnke’s Superman 40 is on the precipice of testing the Man of Steel’s philosophical strength in interesting ways, but never shows any interest in doing so.

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A Friendship-Strengthening Crossover Concludes in Super Sons 12

by Spencer Irwin

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

I’ve been reading Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s collaborations for the better part of a decade now, and there’s one thing I’ve learned — even when I’m not fully taken by one of their plots, the emotions behind their stories always ring true. That’s what makes Super Sons 12 by far the best chapter of the “Super Sons of Tomorrow” storyline: it’s far more concerned with the emotions of all the characters involved than it is the time-traveling, hypertime-shattering plot. Continue reading

The Big Brother of Steel in Superman 39

By Michael DeLaney

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

With DC’s recent announcement that The Man of Steel will be regaining his red trunks, it looks like they’re embracing the the classic Superman of yore. Another example is Superman 39, which centers around Superman spending the day with young cancer patients. If that’s not golden age wholesome, then I don’t know what is. Continue reading

A Bad Dad Provides Clarity in Action Comics 995

by Spencer Irwin

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

The past few issues of Action Comics have featured Superman at his worst. His determination to go back in time to watch Krypton’s destruction (all in hopes of proving that Mr. Oz wasn’t actually Jor-El) has practically made him the bad guy of this story, as his stubborn refusal to heed Booster Gold’s warnings to stop meddling in time have endangered all of history. Even at his best moments in this story, though, he’s come across as a bit shortsighted and condescending. It takes a revelation about Booster’s father to help Superman gain some much-needed clarity. Continue reading

Superboy Must Die in Super Sons 11

by Michael DeLaney 

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

The Terminator definitely wasn’t the first “travel back in time to prevent Armageddon” story, but it is one of the most popular ones, and it has been homaged countless of times in the comic book medium. The “Super Sons of Tomorrow” crossover is the latest such arc. Batman-Tim Drake from an alternate future has traveled in time to kill Jon Kent, who causes the destruction of Metropolis. Continue reading

Batman 37 Knocks it Out of the Park

by Drew Baumgartner

Batman 37

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

There are lots of reasons to love superhero comics. Maybe you’re in it for the high-wire action or the sci-fi worlds. Maybe you’re in it for the superhuman feats or the super human morals. There are as many reasons to love superheroes as there are superhero fans, but I think at some level, every fan must share some real affection for these characters, and perhaps even a childlike desire to be them. Those aspirations usually exist off the page, taking shape in our minds as we read, but Tom King and Clay Mann have found an elegant way to address the phenomenon in-universe: making Batman and Superman fans of one another. Continue reading

Dark Nights: Metal Finds Its Thematic Core in Issue 4

by Spencer Irwin

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

So far, Dark Knights: Metal has been best known for its reverence for DC’s history and its dedication to ideas and concepts as convoluted and zany as they are grand and cosmic (i.e., the instantly iconic Baby Darkseid). This focus has made the event a breathless thrill-ride, but in issue 4 Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo finally start to dig into the thematic and character-driven cores of their story, instantly making it a far more memorable and satisfying experience. Continue reading

Batman 36: Discussion

By Spencer Irwin and Mark Mitchell

Batman 36

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

Spencer: Is Bruce Wayne the mask, or is Batman? Which one is “real”? It’s a long-standing debate amongst the comic book community, and given the myriad of different interpretations of the character, probably one that will never have a definitive answer. My own feelings about this question have shifted and evolved over time, but if you asked me right this second, I’d say that both Bruce and Batman are masks of sorts — the millionaire playboy and the dark knight, respectively. We don’t see him too often, but there’s a real Bruce beneath both those facades, one with real human emotions that often get buried beneath the weight of his own mythology. The best parts of Tom King’s run on Batman have been the moments where he’s let that real Bruce shine through, and more than anything it’s been Catwoman who has allowed this Bruce to do just that. In Batman 36, King adds another tool to his storytelling arsenal that similarly cuts right to Batman’s hidden humanity: his best friend, Superman. 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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Doomsday Clock 1: 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 wasn’t even five years old when the Cold War officially ended, so I can’t really comment on what it must have been like to live under its omnipresent dread. I have plenty of first-hand experience, though, living in 2017, a year where each and every moment has felt like it may be the world’s last, a year which has seen a constant struggle against tyrannic forces just to keep vital freedoms alive. If Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Watchmen channeled the Cold War’s constant unease into its narrative, then Doomsday Clock does the same thing with the chaotic political battleground of 2017, creating a fraught, tense world that feels mere moments away from ending. Continue reading