Saturday, September 10, 2016

Superman #6: The Comic I've Been Waiting Six Years For

Thursday, I read Superman #6 and felt something I hadn't felt in a Superman comic in a very long time: Superman.

As I put the book down, I realized something, I was smiling and then, I picked it up again and read it. It was better the second time around. It went deep into my heart. It had symbolism. It had heart. It had family. It had Superman.

Everything that has made Superman, Superman could be found in this issue.  It had hope. It gave a glimpse into the future while giving us the best of the past.

There it all was: Superman rallying the souls of Krypton to simply do what's right. Not just to save his son and wife, Lois but to fight against The Eradicator's singular eugenics.

In a bit of writing brilliance, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason present Superman to us through his son's eyes. We get to see Superman through the truest of eyes: the eyes of a child. As a kid, there wasn't a battle I didn't believe Superman couldn't win and with issue six, Jon Kent is us.

In an effort to defeat The Eradicator, Superman calls to one of his greatest allies and the minute he sprung into the page, I just... just... man. It's good to have him back and most likely as a faithful companion to the newest addition to the Superman family.

Maybe my favorite thing was seeing Lois Lane be amazing all over again. In the previous issue, to save her son, she donned the suit of armor Batman wore to face the fires of Darkseid's homeworld of Apokolips in order to save his son, Damian. That was deep. In that moment, her love for her family was shown as fierce as any in the DC Universe.

The final pages of this comic end with the corniest but most necessary of moments; Superman being presented with the Key to The City of Metropolis as Jon and Lois look on from afar. *sigh*

And on the final page, Superman presents his greatest creation to the two people, outside of family, who matter most. With a small "Hi," from the new Superboy and new Trinity assembled, Superman's Rebirth era, became something I went into wholeheartedly.

He is, again, a man who is sure.

He is here to stay.

13 comments:

King Beauregard said...

Oh hell yeah. The real Superman is finally here again.

Graig Kent said...

To be honest, I thought I'd love the return of "my" Superman to comics wholeheartedly and without hesitation...but I'm hesitant. The first couple issues of Action Comics and Superman have Superman engaging in a lot of proactive violence, particularly when he fights with Lex. He already knows this Lex isn't exactly like his universe's Lex and yet he can't get outside of his own frame of reference or experience and starts punching the guy up. That's not Superman. A similar thing happens in the Superman book, where he immediately starts fighting Eradicator because of his past experiences.

Perhaps I've created an ideal of "my" Superman that's not an accurate representation, but I don't want him to be illogical and hotheaded. He's smarter than that. And misunderstandings that lead to fighting are such a pet peeve of mine.

As well, I don't like the fact that Clark, on more than one occasion, in both books, has abandoned the greater threat to go look after his family instead. Okay, I don't begrudge the character for doing so, but I do have issues with the writers for not addressing the conflict that it should cause Clark. He is a protector of the people, and if he abandons the people to protect his family, that should cause him some inner conflict for sure.

Both Tomasi and Jurgens to me are capable of better and both of their inaugural stories have been mediocre. Tomasi's run so far has had some really fun moments, and has gotten stronger as it goes on, particularly in how he deals with Superman as an inspiration figure and not just a physical one, but it still feels a little hollow and directionless. Introducing Superman from a lost reality into a new reality, his coming out as a public figure, there's so much meat there, and to immediately go into an insular story that deals with none of it feels like cheating.

Meanwhile, Jurgens returns to his most tired of stomping grounds with Doomsday. Does anyone even like Doomsday? He's a character with one singular purpose, to kill Superman and that's been done, we don't need to go there again. And yet Jurgens just keeps going there as if there's really anything more to explore. I want to see more of Lex. I want to see more of Superman getting established in this reality. I want to get a sense of what this character and his family's status quo will be. Throwing Doomsday into the mix has given us none of that. I do enjoy a good mystery. Another Clark Kent? That's pretty good.

I found the first issues of Superwoman and Supergirl to be more in line with what I was looking for out of the Super books in Rebirth. I'm keen to read Trinity to see "my" Superman interact with a Batman and Wonder Woman unfamiliar with him. I'm actually excited for the Super-Sons, as Jon already seems a good counterpoint character for Damian.

Hopefully with the main Superman books it's just getting these raucous, big-fighting storylines as bait for new readers and that they'll settle in with some actual characterization in the next arcs.

Graig Kent said...

wow..sorry, comment turned into a blog post/rant/review of my own :P

King Beauregard said...

I am glad for your rant. And, I too felt that Superman hit some wrong notes and I have zero use for Doomsday.

But the writers are showing a grasp of what makes Superman work, and that's something we haven't seen much of in a very long time. They're being allowed to proceed in the right direction, and that's goddamn nice. (I maintain that Tomasi and Jurgens have known how the "real deal" Superman is supposed to be all this time, and simply have been forced to write him poorly by editorial. Eddie Berganza, look him up -- dude's a worm.)

Jurgens ought to be promoted to Superman editor: he has a feel for the character but he doesn't tickle my fancy as a writer. He could do quality control like nobody's business.

If I had to tell a writer how to make sure Superman is being written properly, at all times ask the question: would Ma Kent be proud of how Superman is behaving? If not, is there a good reason for Superman to be going against Ma Kent's ways? This is not to say Superman is a broken mama's boy manchild of course; this is a guide for the WRITER.

Graig Kent said...

KB, I like your guideline.
In fact if you take your guideline you see exactly why Superman is the way he is in Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman...he is the boy his parents in those movies raised him to be. Heh, at least there's that internal logic going on there.

I just read the latest Action last night, which was delving into this new Clark Kent, and man! This is what I want, and I'm all in for this story.

And Superwoman #2, I read that too and I'm loving it as well, despite trying to convince myself that I don't so I can have one less book to buy, heh. Jimenez has always had a thing for density (he draws so much in his panels and writes so much story per issue) but that shouldn't be a bad thing, should it? I mean, I didn't like that he set up Lois and Lana as novice superheroes in issue 1 and then created a montage that turned them into established superheroes (to the point that Lex is crying out "Where is Superwoman?" this issue)... I think I would have liked Lois and Lana's story teased out more, but I get why they accelerated it to this point (probably not Jimenez's choice). Yeah, I'm liking it a lot. I like the Superman family of Lana and John Henry and Natasha Irons and Maggie Sawyer and Lex... Jimenez writes them well. I had no idea Lana and John Henry were together. It was such a surprise. With Natasha calling her "Aunt Lana", does this mean they're married? Awesome! It's totally out of left field for me because I haven't read any Superman New 52 book outside of Morrison's run...but I like it. (Although, Natasha didn't pick up on the fact that Lana let slip that something had happened to Lois, which seemed like a scripting flub to me).

Did anyone read the American Alien Superman story by Max Landis? Any good? I'm not certain if I like that guy's writing.

King Beauregard said...

This guy reviewed "American Alien":

http://tessatechaitea.tumblr.com/relevantpagetwentytwo

He liked it, and based on his reviews, I think he gets Superman pretty well. Some of his reviews require you to pay $1 to his Patreon, but by about issue 4 or 5 he dropped the Patreonning. Do check 'em out.

You can also see my commentary as the series progresses; based on what the reviewer presented, I think Clark evolved from an okay hero to The Real Deal Superman by the end of the series.

Devon Sanders said...

I'm just happy beyond words that we've got a Superman who knows who he needs to be. After 75 years, it's hard, as a reader, to accept the Peter Parker paradigm that the "New 52" placed on him.

This is the character who you look to when the crap has hit the fan. The minute he walks into a room , the shorthand should be, "It's going to be OK now. Superman is here."

I missed that feeling and am happy to have it again.

King Beauregard said...

I was willing to accept the Peter Parkering of Clark as a transitional phase; the promise of the nu52 was that we'd see the characters grow into their best selves. Only, we never got that with Superman.

Still, even early in the Morrison run, I saw Peter Parkerisms that were really encouraging. For example, a corrupt Metropolis cop was trying to push Clark around, and Clark asked him, "when you were a kid and you wanted to be a cop, is this what you dreamed of? Be the cop you always wanted to be." God, that was so so right.

I like a Superman who, when he enters the room, you know everything's going to be okay. But there's one more piece that they're getting right too: a Superman who, when he enters the room, you can feel comfortable with because you know he isn't a petty jerk. George Reeves's Superman was real good at that: the essential weirdness of a god in circus tights was right there in front of you, but even so he was too damn personable to make you worry about the hundred effortless ways he could harm you. Check out 2:30:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcwEsiC3STg#t=2m30s

Graig Kent said...

Thanks for the link KB. Just caught up on his reviews. Sounds like the early issues of American Alien are more divisive regarding his portrayal of Clark/Superman than the later ones. Looks like the last issue with Superman vs Lobo is well worth checking out.

King Beauregard said...

Reading "Superman" #7, I just realized the simple yet effective trick Tomasi pulled. Earlier in this thread I recommended that writers need to ask, "is Superman acting in a way Ma Kent would be proud of?" Well Tomasi's little trick is making Superman into the next Jonathan Kent. That makes him all the things we love about his parents as well as all the things we love about Superman.

I had misgivings about Lois and Clark having a son -- would that ruin the dynamic? -- but now I see more than ever that it's exactly what the dynamic needed all along. Last survivor of Krypton, growing up with kindly parents on a farm, saving the day a thousand times, and what does he do for an encore? He goes back to the farm and raises a son (while still saving the day a thousand more times).

I also predict Clark is going to become a slightly reluctant community leader; that's a guess, but we'll see. I just don't see Tomasi introducing us to Clark's neighbors without the community becoming integral to the story he wants to tell.

Devon Sanders said...

I'm just enjoying the heck out of this run. Between the first Rebirth issue to the sixth issue, this book just has everything I need. this is without a doubt, Superman.

And you're right, Superman has absolutely become his father and more importantly, undeniably human.

King Beauregard said...

Didja see the season 2 "Supergirl" premiere? It's like falling in love with Superman all over again.

Devon Sanders said...

I'm watching the second episode and just... I am so happy.

They are hitting on so many things I love about this crazy universe.