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The ’90s Revisited: Superman #112

superman0112Superman’s Ex-Girlfriend Lois Lane

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Ron Frenz and Joe Rubinstein
Lettering: John Costanza
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Color Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editors: Mike McAvennie and KC Carlson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: June 1996
Cover Price: $1.95

This issue originally came out during a year or so that I’d stepped away from (Superman) comics. For whatever reason(s) I recall basically leaving off with the end of The Trial of Superman, checking in briefly for the Wedding Album issue, and then returning for the start of the "Electric Costume" stuff. So I’d actually missed this whole half-year/however-long "arc" where Clark and Lois had broken up.

And I guess that’s the thing for this issue: it kicks off the "breakup" arc, and the cover caught me this time about the way it did fifteen or so years ago when I originally filled that gap in my runs on the Superman titles.

Superman deals with an attempted prison break, and then he flies Lois to Mt. Fuji for some alone time to talk about where they’re headed. Unlike the previous time they did this, there is not a happy resolution, as Superman is pulled away to save lives, and Lois’ "point" is essentially proven–that Superman is "on call" more than even a doctor or fire/policeman, and "belongs" to the world more than he ever can to one individual.

The issue’s art is good overall, though the "tease" from the cover constrasts sharply with the bulk of the issue’s art. Reading this issue out of context and as a one-off thing, I’m not overly thrilled with the art compared to plenty of other instances I’ve loved art on a Superman book. However, that’s personal taste in general and not reflective of the quality of the art. This brings back plenty of memory for me of this period in the Super-titles, when they were basically a weekly book with a rotating creative team. There’s no "previously…" page, but as a weekly ongoing thing, there wasn’t really much need for one…I suspect one would have been reading ALL the Super-titles or none; as one of the former, I can’t imagine being able to stick with any single Superman title without the others.

Story-wise, this is a Jurgens issue, and by his name alone I’m pre-disposed to like this, given I tend to really enjoy any/all stuff he did with Superman (and to a degree, still does). This issue certainly is not a chunk of story totally in a vacuum for me–I am very much aware of (roughly) where this is situated in stuff–shortly after The Trial of Superman–and recalling the months-long arc of Superman and Lois "separated" and such, so I don’t have that sense of "what the heck was just happening???" heading into the issue, nor do I have any sense of "what comes next?". That we get some pages of Superman/Clark and Lois talking about things, a sense of what both are feeling, and (Clark especially) going through, this is a heartbreaking kinda story if one appreciates the characters and continuity from the mid/late 1990s.

The cover is what grabbed me for this particular purchase, and the memories it evoked–both with having part of the original image from Superman #59, as well as the first time I’d read this particular issue.

All in all, this was very much worth the 25 cents I paid, for the convenience of an immediate re-reading. As with too many comics I presently own, this was a "convenience purchase," as I already own the issue at least once if not twice over, and would just prefer at the moment to pay the 25 cents over digging through umpteen boxes to try to find it and pull it. (Plus, doing that is something different than grabbing a "random" ’90s issue out of a quarter bin.

I’d love to do a full, large-scale reread of ’90s Superman issues…but for now, I’ll content myself with sticking to occasional quarter-bin finds like this.

The ’90s Revisited: Action Comics #761

actioncomics761For a Thousand Years…

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciler: German Garcia
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Colorist: Glenn Whitmore
Seps: Wildstorm
Letterer: John Costanza
Associate Editor: Maureen McTigue
Editor: Edddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $1.99
Cover Date: January, 2000

This is one of those fairly “one-off” issues, the sort I tend to quite enjoy, despite being one who thoroughly enjoys a rich “continuity.” While cover-dated as January 2000, this came out in 1999, and is one of the later issues of the ’90s run on the Superman titles that has really and truly stuck with me through the years.\

While there’s stuff with ongoing plot details, the heart of this issue is about Wonder Woman recruiting Superman to assist an ongoing battle of the gods. Unfortunately, the two find themselves stuck–they cannot return home until the war is over…and they learn that war can last for a very, very, very long time.

I quite like the cover of this issue…at least compared to the main interior art. The art isn’t bad, mind you–but it’s a bit less detailed and more cartooney than I remembered. Beyond that, I’m neither put off nor enamored by the art–it does what it should conveying visuals of the story, it just doesn’t blow me away in and of itself.

The story is what really makes this issue stand out in my memory, such that I had but to see the cover to know this was the issue the story was in, and recall the overall plot. This is the Superman I grew up on, and hold to be “my” Superman: the one who is great friends with Wonder Woman, but extremely sure of himself and his relationship with Lois. That what he had with Lois was essential to who he was, and not something casually set aside for some woman who also happened to be “more than mortal” or some such.

I like the epic-ness of the issue, though it’s a bit far-fetched in a lotta ways, especially in this “era” of Superman. At the same time, it fits–as there had already been hints–if only in Kamandi: At Earth’s End and the DC One Million stuff–that suggest Superman would go on to have an extremely long lifespan. I honestly don’t recall how much “fallout” there was from this issue–but there was some, I’m almost certain.

Despite plenty of attention given to the supporting cast, this issue is a fairly good stand-alone issue, if plucked by itself from a bargain bin. For me, it’s one of the stand-out issues of the 1990s-era Superman run, of all the ongoing titles, simply FOR its dealing with the Superman/Wonder Woman/Lois “triangle” and (to me) strongly affirming where the characters stand with each other.

Tales of the TMNT #32 [Review]

classicreviewlogowhite

Quick Rating: Very Good–Fun!
Story Title: The Eye of Aga-Moo-Tou

Summary: The TMNT and the C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa team up again to tackle the threat posed by Savanti Romero gaining access to the Eye of Aga-Moo-Tou.

talesofthetmnt032 Plot: Laird & Brown
Words: Murphy
Layouts: Ryan Brown
Pencils: Dario Brizuela
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Letters: Eric Talbot
Editor, Creative Consultant: Peter Laird
Managing Editor: Murphy
Production, Design: Eric Talbot
Covers: (main): Dario Brizuela, (variant): Andres Ponce, Ryan Brown, Steve Lavigne
Publisher: Mirage

Despite never having been a fan of the C.O.W. Boys (I was aware of them briefly in the 90s, but never "into" them), this is great fun. We get those characters back, interacting side-by-side with the TMNT in a way that makes perfect sense in the TMNT-verse, and is just…fun.

A nearly-immortal figure locates the mystical Eye of Aga-Moo-Tou, though the Eye is also located by old TMNT villain Savanti Romero. Meanwhile, at Moo Mesa, the C.O.W. Boys are going about their regular business, when things go all wacky thanks to Romero. Back on Earth, Tsou-T’an-Jin makes contact with and transports the turtles to Moo Mesa, where they find their old friends mind-controlled/possessed by Romero, and the battle for the Eye is joined…

At its surface, this is a rather simple, stereotypical story…mega-powerful mystical artifact located by a villain, first protagonists on the scene defeated and turned on second-wave fellow heroes, yadda yadda yadda. Then again, it really isn’t much deeper than that, if you look strictly at story elements. The fun and enjoyment comes from the specific characters–here, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles AND the C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa thrust together in a single story.

The story flows, hitting key beats of structure. Not being terribly familiar with all the characters, I can’t say for certain that everyone’s in-character; the turtles seem to be right on track, so I presume the COW Boys are, too..and given that (as far as I can tell) original creators of all characters involved are…well…involved with this issue, I’ve no reason to believe this does anything but fit both sides of the "crossover" of the properties.

The art throughout is just fine, with all the characters being totally recognizable, and panels clear/clean as to what’s going on. This isn’t just some comic adaptation of a cartoon, but it’s also not one of the darker, gritter of the TMNT stories.
For jumping in cold and just wanting "a" TMNT story, this is a great issue to do so with, and it’s even kid-friendly on the whole–probably moreso than a certain teen wizard’s exploits, for point of comparison.

The great thing about this title is that it features a monthly supply of in-continuity TMNT stories by a variety of writers and artists that include stories set in the characters’ past, present, and future, as well as easily contain property crossovers like we have here. While many titles from bigger publishers might suffer from radical shifts in creative teams from issue-to-issue on writing and visuals, it’s become a sort of staple for this book.

If you can find it, I highly recommend this issue…and really, the series in general for any of you longer-time TMNT fans.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Life With Archie: The Married Life #2 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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