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Superman (2016) #19 [Review]

superman_0019Superman: Reborn Part 3

Story: Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Mick Gray
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Patrick Gleason and John Kalisz
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Special Thanks To: Dan Jurgens
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: Late May 2017
Cover Price: $2.99

Well, it’s safe to say I had too-high expectations for this issue, coming off the previous issue AND Action Comics #975. Though this issue advanced stuff a bit, it did not on initial reading hold up to my own internal "hype."

With the villain revealed, we basically get to see Clark and Lois being made to forget their life together, their son Jon, and to play along to Mxyzptlk’s game. As the issue ends, we have a bit of a throwback on stuff, that can kinda call into question this arc’s title and make one really wonder what’s going to happen in the fourth/"final" chapter before we head into April’s DC stuff.

Yeah, that’s all a bit vague, especially for a review, but this issue was all over the place–capitalizing on Mxy’s reality-bending powers and inclinations. And this is my "snap judgment," initial thoughts after having just read the issue, taking it–as I try to all my reviews–on a first reading without getting overly deep into it. My preference, my style.

The story picks up from the first half of Action 975, and seems to almost ignore the secondary Dini story. It also seems slightly out of nowhere to me, like I missed something. We had intro/setup stuff and the building of tension in the first chapter, getting things rolling. The second chapter brought that stuff to a head and revealed the villain of the story as well as paying off most of a year’s worth of build. I’ve plenty of anticipation and suspicions as to possibilities for how this story might end…so this "middle chapter" that’s neither setup nor conclusion is somewhat stuck in place, unable to conclude stuff, but not much new to be able to put out there.

The imagery is a bit wacky and trippy…which perfectly fits with Mxy and his powers and such. But it also made for a too-quick read; I rarely "like" multiple splash pages or double-page splashes and find them to be a huge "cheat" story AND page-wise in modern comics. That said, the spread with the game board worked quite well for me, all things considered.

This issue does not "sell" me on Mxy’s legitimate motivation for stuff…where it actually made sense in the Action Comics chapter, here he just comes off as petty and mean…I didn’t feel any of the "heart" of his motivation here.

I’m quite certain virtually no one–especially in this day and age–is gonna be inclined to "jump in" with the 19th issue of a series, labeled chapter 3 of a story. This is not something for a first-time reader, but is an issue for the ongoing reader, or the reader who’s dipping their toe in for this ARC.

In a way, this issue feels nearly "skippable" or extraneous, though I’m sure some small "details" will play into the conclusion and whatever status quo going forward from next week’s chapter. I would not actually recommend skipping this issue, but I’d highly recommend that anyone thinking of picking this up also pick up the first two chapters with plans to grab next week’s fourth chapter!

I was also slightly incorrect in my "assumption" of the covers for this story: they ARE going to join together in a 4-panel connected image…however, rather than a 2 x 2 configuration, they’re a 4-panel "tall" configuration (which is shown in the text piece on the final page of the issue, after the story itself).

superman_0019_blogtrailer

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Superman (2016) #18 [Review]

superman_0018Superman: Reborn Part 1

Story: Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Mick Gray
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover: Patrick Gleason and John Kalisz
Assistant Editor: Andrew Marino
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Special Thanks To: Dan Jurgens
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: Early May 2017
Cover Price: $2.99

[ Please note that I will spoil the issue a bit, so stop reading now and come back AFTER you’ve read the issue yourself, if you do not want to encounter spoilers! ]

I buy each new week’s Superman book pretty much as an extremely welcome again (after some 6 or so years away) "habit"–and have since about this time last year. That said, the covers rarely "grab" me–I recognize them, the issue gets paid for and taken home, and read. THIS issue, though, really jumped out at me for its coloring/color-scheme, the visual design, and somehow being rather unexpected to me. It also seems like it’s a small piece of a singular image that I can imagine being spread out across at least 3 more chapters of this story (though I’ll be highly annoyed–to say the least–if such a thing would merely be VARIANTS for this single issue. I’ll hold to my notion until at least next week, though, and give the publisher the benefit of the doubt for now).

This is the opening issue of a fairly "hyped" storyline that I’ve been looking forward to despite some disappointment at how the Clark Kent story seemed to "end" over in Action Comics last week. (Though I’ll give it credit for playing into continuity and this feeling largely like "just" the next issue in sequence OF an ongoing thing).

We open on a brief scene of someone–presumably this Mr. Oz–musing on time/space blah blah blah, and then seeing multiple individuals in his "collection" acting out–reacting to the fact that SOMEONE (we aren’t told who) got out. Looking to the empty cell, we see graffiti indicating an extreme hope in Superman…before shifting to Hamilton County and the main part of the issue.

[ Spoilers to follow ]

Clark, Lois, and Jon are celebrating the couple’s anniversary when there’s a knock at the door. The "other" Clark Kent seems to have left something for the family (and majorly spooks Krypto!).  They find that it’s a scrapbook with photos that no one on this Earth–let alone reality–"should" have. Its images shouldn’t even exist, they were wiped out with Clark and Lois’ Earth. Before they can dig all that deeply, they notice their house is on fire…but quickly realize it’s not so much on fire as being ERASED. Then to make it WORSE…Jon’s being erased. Superman leaps into action to save his son, as any father would. And we see the maddening, helpless desperation of our hero and his wife as they see everything they know and love…erased.

Talk about a setup and leaving one hanging! I’ve loved only having to wait two weeks between issues for Superman and Action Comics since last spring…but this would be flat-out frustrating to have to wait an entire two weeks…I’m anxious for the next chapter, in next week’s Action Comics…by the time of this post, a "mere" 5 days, and that seems too long!

There’s plenty to be found within this issue and its story. We have stuff pointing to the larger DC Universe as it now stands. We have stuff rooted firmly within the Superman books, and specifically this title. We have reference to earlier issues, and we have references to pre-Flashpoint elements. So it seems that we’re getting some major payoff about to really kick into gear after most of a year of building. Still more, we have a story that seems like it’s pretty self-contained to the Super-titles, not some line-wide must-buy-them-all crossover or such. I believe some of the events of this book might trickle out and be reflected in other titles, but in this issue we’re only directed to Action Comics, next.

This may not be the BEST issue for a new reader to start with…but it’s not horrible, and I also think a lapsed reader could probably do pretty well here, just knowing that this is pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark; that they have a son, and there’s been some other Clark Kent around.

Visually, I have very mixed feelings on this issue. On one hand, I like the cover, and most of the interiors are ok. There are a couple panels–one with Tim Drake (Robin/Red Robin) and one of Jon–that just look really off to me. While Tim’s appearance can be chalked up to his imprisonment, the first large panel of Jon just looks too cartoony to me, overly manga-styled for what is NOT a manga volume. I suppose comparison could be drawn as well to Ed McGuinness‘ art (I’m thinking around 2000 or so), but in the moment, it just threw me off and had me feeling a lot more nitpicky about the issue. The cover, though, is pretty darned good, and would make an excellent print for hanging…and if this indeed is part of a multi-part image, I dare say it’ll likely make a fantastic poster.

All in all, even if you’re not "up" on the various Superman titles, if you’ve a passing familiarity, I’d definitely recommend this issue. It’s well worth its $2.99 cover price, and does a nice job of setting stuff up for what ever is to come, while providing its own major chunk of story and key event for things. I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapter, and to see where things go in general with this story, and the Super-books in general!

Superman Family Adventures #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Superman #712 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

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

The Rest of the Stack: Second Coming, Superman, & Deadpool

When I want to touch on more than I care to review, I post “mini-reviews” under this heading. These, after all, ARE the rest of my stack for the week.

X-Men – Second Coming: Prepare #1 –  I got back into the X-Men comics for a short time a couple years back for the Messiah Complex story. I don’t think I even really meant to, but I wound up picking up the one-shot that kicked the story off, and found myself interested enough to follow it through the various books. I even followed some of the books for a short time after, taking in the new direction of the X-Men stuff (and the milestone issues of X-men and Uncanny X-Men). I passed on Messiah War, though I still hold some small hope at eventually acquiring the hardback to get to read that story. This preview is very underwhelming in and of itself, but the preview art, the slight bit of characterization given of Wolverine, Cyclops, Magneto, and Cable pricked something within me that now has me on the fence about picking up this arc. The “reference materials” in the back of this issue seem to be reprinted from various other works–though as those had been freebies as well, I’m not bothered by it, and they are pertinent to this current stuff. This was a free issue, and there’s a chance it might have done its hoped-for job with me. Time will tell.

Superman #697  – I’m tired of the current Mon-El stuff. I don’t care for the costume–at all, not just the recent changes–and the way the character’s been handled…I just don’t care for the character. There’s not a huge case of dislike, just a case of disinterest. I feel like I SHOULD like the character, but I don’t. This is yet antoher issue of Superman in which Mon-El is the stand-in, though we do see a bit of personality and authenticity here when he admits that he wasn’t ready to take Superman’s place. Though the story and art are not to my liking in general–they just don’t appeal to me–possibly my largest complaint is the gratuitous near-nudity, and general explicitness of a sexual relationship Mon-El’s involved in, which seems to be something that wouldn’t be shown in such detail between Superman and Lois, and does not strike me as something that needs to be anything more than alluded to in general. It looks like Adventure Comics (#8 continues the story from this issue) is becoming little more than an extension of this book…but if that speeds getting this story over with and Superman back into his own title, I’ll be more than happy for that.

Deadpool #20  – After what has seemed at points to be longer than 4 weeks but less than 8 weeks between issues, this title now has reached a 3-parter being told in 3 weeks of 3 consecutive issues. Though I enjoy Deadpool, and am leaning toward a consideration of choosing a single Deadpool title to follow (and this one’s in the lead should such a decision be made), I’m still not a fan of Hit-Monkey or Hitman-Monkey or whatever the character is. I do like that this issue saw the return of Deadpool’s hallucinations–to great effect, I might add. I also like the fact that Spider-Man clues in on and confronts Deadpool about his apparent fear early in this issue, as it addresses a question I had…and was wondering if Spidey was gonna just get screwed over (er…that is, if the character hasn’t already been that way for a couple years now). This is the best (and MOST) of Spidey I’ve read in awhile, and I appreciate the opportunity to read the character as himself, without having to face the changes wrought in that infamous story. Definitely a worthwhile issue for Deadpool fans; not sure it’s a selling point in and of itself for new readers, though. Probably’d also be enjoyable for Spider-Man fans as well…especially those avoiding the Amazing Spider-Man for one reason or another.

Adventure Comics #7 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Adventure Comics #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Superboy:
Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5

Legion of Super-Heroes:
Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

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