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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.

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Futures End: Booster Gold #1 [Review]

Futures End Booster Gold #1Pressure Point

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Moritat, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Will Conrad, Steve Lightle, Stephen Thopson, Mark Irwin, Ron Frenz, Scott Hanna, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colors by: John Kalisz
Letters by: Taylor Esposito
Cover by: Jurgens, Rapmund & Hi-FI
Editor: Joe Cavalieri
Asst. Editor: David Pina
Group Editor: Matt Idelson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

[———- Please note: I will spoil this issue’s ending below, denoted by a further note. ———-]

I wasn’t going to cover any of these Futures End one-shots as a singular/full review, but then, that was partially due to the fact that all these others have just been the month’s iteration of an ongoing monthly book. But to the best of my knowledge, Booster Gold has not had an ongoing series since that final issue that tied into Flashpoint pre-New 52; and I haven’t a clue where he wound up via Justice League International and whatnot.

But knowing his creator–Dan Jurgens–was the writer on this issue in that way alone made it a no-brainer for me to pick this up, once I’d given in on getting ANY of these one-shots. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the issue and hadn’t seen anything for it in promotional stuff outside of the title itself. So seeing the cover was a thrill–this is definitely one of my favorite covers of the month. I’ve always loved the blue-and-gold contrast…the pairing of Booster and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as well as simply the contrast of the two colors against each other. That makes for a striking cover. It’s also great to see the same title logo used as the last ongoing series…it lends an extra bit of recent-nostalgic familiarity to this.

As this isn’t just the month’s “five years later” glimpse of an ongoing character/series, we actually get a look at a Booster bouncing through time/dimensions trying to remember a mission, as we see Booster imprisoned, being interrogated for something…and eventually see that rather than some disjointed story there’s more going on than it seemed initially…and certainly gives me a “selling point” to catch up on and keep up with Futures End.

I was initially put off looking at the issue’s credits seeing a number of artists credited with ranges of pages…couldn’t one person (say, Dan Jurgens himself) do the entire issue? But I almost immediately realized then that hey…multiple worlds/dimensions…different artists lend some variance to the worlds, and contrary to my initial snap-judgment, I quite enjoyed that element here.
Booster himself looked familiar, yet there was something a bit different to the character that I couldn’t place…I vaguely recalled that he’d had a “new” costume in the New 52, so I wasn’t sure where this fit. Thankfully, that actually worked with the story.

After all these years, I really enjoy seeing Jurgens work on the character–particularly the story, but the art as well. There’s also that Booster Gold is one where time-travel is an intrinsic part of the character himself…which adds to the logic of this issue’s existence. Even if the character does not have an ongoing and may or may not (for my ignorance) be a regular part of any ensemble cast of an ongoing book–for anything involving time travel, I’d expect him to be a part of it in some form.

[——————————— Spoilers below ———————————]

By the end of this issue it became apparent that this was not a matter of Booster being imprisoned and the bouncing-through-time-and-worlds-and-dimensions being merely a mind-thing with someone screwing with him to convince him to give up a secret. We’re actually dealing with the New 52 Booster Gold as well as another version…and it seems to me that this other version is either THE pre-52 version or darned close to it. I don’t know where DC officially stands anymore on stuff, but this “hint” that the DC Universe *I* grew up on is still out there is a welcome treat, whether isolated to this title, this issue alone, or something bigger.

[——————————— Spoilers above ———————————]

All in all, like the Swamp Thing issue and the Supergirl issue, I ultimately found this to be an issue independently interesting and engaging (particularly by the ending and the “new view” of the earlier pages it generated for me), and very well worthwhile to have bought and read.

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

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