Happy Birthday, Superman! + Jyger’s Favourite 5 – 5 Favourite Superman Stories
Hey guys, it’s February 29th! Guess who is celebrating their birthday today? 😀
… … … …Okay, let’s try THAT again…
I swear to God, YouTube!!!
There we go! 😀 And yeah, go figure that, in official DC canon, Superman is a leap year baby. Personally, I would prefer to celebrate his birthday as being the date when Action Comics #1 came out, but since there is an actual birth date given for him in the comics, here we are. And for a man who has had stories told about him for nearly 80 years, who has saved the world more times than I could dare count, and has been rebooted and given multiple continuities devoted to telling various tales about him, naturally, everybody’s gonna have their favourites. As such, here are five of my personal favourite stories, both from the comics, the various animated series he’s been involved in, and the movies he’s been a part of. So, I suppose we should start off with the most obvious one that anyone who reads my blog knows is gonna be on here, simply because I’ve gone on and on about it already, meaning I won’t have as much new to say about it here…
In looking back on this book, it’s all the more clear to me just how much potential the New 52 Superman has as a character that is ultimately squandered. He is probably among the more imperfect versions of Superman to be shown off in the mainstream, and yet is shown to nonetheless be an inspiring and heroic individual primarily due to one thing: He never, ever gives up. He keeps trying, no matter how bleak things get, even when his own life is on the line, and even if the entire world pleaded for his sake not to. And sometimes, that means failing and eating dirt. But what’s always been most important to him is to never stop trying. Like all past versions of Superman have done when they are at their best, he inspires others to be better through his actions and his kindness. In addition to all that, though, there’re also great cameos by Batman and Wonder Woman that actually make sense within the context of the story and aren’t just shoved in to make a buck, there’s plenty of Lois Lane being awesome, Lex Luthor remains the great and evil puppeteer, and even Jimmy Olsen gets some nice moments in here and there. There are some clichés of modern Superman stories involved, like the military being leery and untrusting of him, and the reveal of another alien who has appeared on Earth to contest him, but there’s just something about the context in which it’s presented here that works a lot better. If you want a good Superman read set in the New 52, this is probably the one for you.
Probably my favourite modern reinterpretation of Superman’s origins. Granted, it could’ve been stretched out to a four or five parter so that the stuff involving Clark as Superman could’ve been expanded on more, but hey, he’s technically still getting started in the next few episodes anyway, so it works fine for what it is. It even addresses my biggest gripe involving Superman’s origins, which, if you’ve read my blog for a while now, you already know: HOW THE FUCK DID NOBODY ELSE ON KRYPTON KNOW THE END WAS COMING AND DIDN’T HAVE A MEANS OF GETTING OFF THE PLANET?!?! Here, though, the explanation given actually makes a lot of sense. Making Lois more of a rival to Clark kinda works well, too, and lets us see her really working her ass off and taking some serious risks, to where it’s obvious and forgivable that she needs saving so much. Any of us would under those circumstances, it just happens to be her. Granted, I don’t quite get why her skirt is so short that, when Superman carries her around, everyone beneath her is getting a shot of her underwear, but whatever. Point is, it’s a great first outing for the hero and look at his origins for a new generation.
The more I think about it, the more I realize how this is pretty much the archetype of the classic Superman story: Mad scientist creates a device that’ll severely fuck up the world, Lois gets into trouble trying to do her job, Superman has to get involved, and through his quick thinking and incredible powers, he saves the day. And honestly, even after nearly 75 years, it still holds up really well. Yeah, there’s some stuff involving his origins that are talked about that I don’t agree with, like the idea of him being naturally super without the need for the sun, or the fact that he was raised in an orphanage, but, all things considered, not the worst version of his origins I’ve ever seen, either. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s in public domain right now, so there’s very little in the way of stopping you from doing so.
What DO you get for the man who has everything? Well, if you wanna stay on his good side, probably not what Mongul got him. This story’s actually been retold and reimagined from its original comic form at least a couple of times. The ones I’m thinking of are in the fantastic Justice League Unlimited series, and as an episode of Supergirl, entitled For The Girl Who Has Everything. Admittedly, I lean more towards the JLU version, but that could simply be because it’s the first one I saw. However, all three tend to show that the most painful and heartbreaking thing you can do to a person is to make them live out their perfect scenario and then force them to abandon it for the greater good. Also, the comic has probably one of Jason Todd’s best moments EVER. It’s emotional, it’s action packed, it’s For The Man Who Has Everything.
Oftentimes considered by many to be one of the all-time greatest stories of the Man of Tomorrow. Once again, the animated version is the one I first saw, but having read the comics since then, I can tell you there are things about it that they change from the original that I both like and dislike. In terms of the like category, I think I prefer the ending of the movie, where we see Luthor, in what could be his final days, finally understanding Superman and what he stood for, what he himself could’ve been all along if it’d really mattered to him, and while he doesn’t necessarily redeem himself, he does make a gesture that perhaps will let his life have some positive meaning. In terms of the dislike, though, the pacing is a bit off, but that’s kinda obvious, due to trying to crunch down a 12 issue comic mini-series into a 76 minute movie. However, while there are of course some things that had to be cut, the one thing that I wish to God could’ve been kept in wasn’t. I don’t why, if maybe there was concern about showing this for whatever reason, but it is quite possibly the greatest scene involving Superman that you will ever see in your life. Here’s the context: Superman is dying. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, he is going to die. As such, in his last days, he is spending his time doing as much as he can for the world as possible, saving more lives and accomplishing greater wonders than he ever has before. And right as he’s in the middle of all that, his super hearing intercepts a call made by a single child…and this is what happens.
THAT is Superman. THAT is the Man of Tomorrow. How great is this scene, you might still ask yourself? Mark Waid called it the most moving scene in a Superman book ever, and he has read EVERY SINGLE COMIC ABOUT SUPERMAN. As I once shared on my blog, POW once awarded it as the greatest moment in comic book history. As TV Tropes put it, “If you took all eighty years of the character’s history and distilled it into a single pure moment containing all his best qualities, that one page would be it. He inspires strength, wisdom, kindness, freedom, value and hope in just a few words. And he saves a life.” And in terms of how it impacted the people who read it…well, let’s let this person tell you.
… … …I’d put down my fedora for this, but let’s be honest, I don’t really wear it much anymore. It’s gotten kinda old. Regardless, this is where we get into real talk, so just bear with me. A lot of people ask me from time to time how I can care so much about superheroes, when they’re just fictional characters drawn on paper. And, even I’ve asked myself on occasion why it feels like all I know how to write about are superheroes, or people and characters that are heroic in their own ways. This is the reason why: Through their stories, superheroes inspire people. They inspire us to be better, to be stronger, to be truer to ourselves, and to be kind and noble. I think that’s also why I watch Atop The Fourth Wall and find myself in the same corner as Lewis Lovhaug when he talks about comics. He once said that “Superheroes are basically the equivalent of modern-day knights-errant, they go out and help people and fight injustices. But a lot of the best superhero comics are the ones not actually about superheroes hitting supervillains or each other, anything like that. It’s the ones that show that superheroes are about kindness and decency and something far more noble than the adolescent power fantasies that people often critique them as”. I tend to agree. Sure, it’s always great to see superheroes give evil people their comeuppance, and of course I still love a good superhero brawl as much as anyone, but THIS is what they should always be about. They are kind, they are compassionate, and in their fictional tales, they show us what we can be in real life.
…Oh yeah, and one other problem one can have with the animated version of All-Star Superman is that he apparently kills Solaris. I don’t know enough about Solaris to know if he really qualifies as a living creature, so if he does, then yeah, that’s a strike against the movie. Really, the only reason I’m okay with it in Superman Unbound is because, by then, Brainiac was more…well…Um, Obi-Wan, you wanna help me out here?
Thank you. lol
And those are my favourite Superman stories. Got one that wasn’t on here? Leave it in the comments section, and don’t worry, I’ll likely be sharing more of my favourite stories and moments in a couple of years when The Man of Tomorrow hits 80 years old. And hey, be sure to leave any words you’d like to share with Superman on his birthday on your own, as well. Ja né!
Jyger’s Favourite 5 – 5 Favourite Moments of Superman Unchained
So, Superman Unchained sadly ended last week with its 9th issue…which was actually WAY past the original release date. And unfortunately, it kinda shows, what with stuff like Lex Luthor still being a villain in this, whereas nowadays he’s a member of the Justice League (no, seriously, Lex Luthor in the Justice League, that’s a thing now). Really, though, since Superman Unchained was telling its own self-contained story, it’s best read in a single sitting. Heck, I could easily see it made into an animated movie someday. So I DO get why it was only 9 issues in that case. It’s just, I would’ve loved to see Scott Snyder continue to write Superman, since he clearly gets the character and his supporting cast, and this book legitimately feels like a Superman story, which is sadly something that’s kinda rare nowadays.
With that said, one of the perks of the story being over is that I can re-read it and pick out some of my favourite moments and aspects of it. The ones that stuck out, the ones I missed for whatever reason and am catching on the second run-through, and so on. And, because some of these are from the newest issue, obviously, spoilers ahead. If you want to read Superman Unchained for yourself without prior knowledge of what happens, stop here, there’s no turning back. Otherwise, let’s go through my 5 Favourite Moments of Superman Unchained, starting with the one that made me realize just how much I frigging loved this book…
So a terrorist group called Ascension have taken control of a construction robot called Apollodorus, and used it to try and knock over the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. For those that don’t know, here’s a little trivia: The Burj Khalifa is the current record-holder for the world’s tallest free-standing structure, standing at 829.8 metres tall (2,722 ft), possessing 163 floors (plus 46 maintenance levels in the spire and two underground parking levels), and can easily house people in the tens of thousands at any given time. If this was the Golden Age and Superman could still only leap tall buildings, this would be one he’d likely crotch himself on trying to get over. 😛 Regardless, Superman arrives with only 19 seconds until the megatall skyscraper hits the ground, and even with his vast array of powers, his options are extremely limited. He can’t simply push it back into place, since it’d just break apart from the stress. Can’t reinforce the steel with heat vision and freeze breath, it’d kill everyone even remotely close to the glass. And the Apollodorus is still in the area, trying to keep his attention by beating down on him and knocking him into the water. So, with only four seconds left, he instead uses his superspeed on the water to create a huge water-spout, and then freezes it to keep the tower from hitting the ground. Scenes like this prove that Superman is more than just a flying brick, as we see him going through the various options and methods by which he could stop the tower from crashing and save everyone inside, and in the end, it’s only the most precise usage of just the right powers in his arsenal that manages to achieve his goal. I personally would’ve had each panel have a ticking clock instead of Clark’s narration telling us how many seconds were left, but that’s just me, and the sequence is awesome nonetheless.
One of the things that’s always important to remember about Superman is that he’s still first and foremost Clark Kent. A lot of people to this day, in writing Superman, tend to ignore his status as Clark Kent, and how he actually has his own ways of changing the world and inspiring people as himself, as Clark. Now, we see some good moments of Clark doing that in his new role outside of the Daily Planet, as a news blogger, but for me, the thing that stands out most is the flashback to his childhood we see in issues 5 and 9. Clark, after tapping into his ability to fly for the first time by catching a falling Lana Lang, returns home one day to find his mother held at gunpoint by a deranged neighbour who saw what happened. The man, Mr. Colder, proceeds to shoot Clark repeatedly with his shotgun, which of course does nothing to him except knock him to the ground, tear his shirt, and scare the crap outta him. But, when Mr. Colder believes that Clark’s mother would kill him to keep Clark’s secret safe and then plans to kill her first, Clark sends out a shockwave that knocks him across the barn, causing his already weakened heart to flat-line. However, even after what Colder had just done and tried to do, Clark can’t let him die, and manages to resuscitate him. We don’t see what happened next with Mr. Colder, but his expression suggests that he chose to keep Clark’s secret. And keep in mind, this is LONG before Clark ever considered donning the red, blue, and yellow (though mostly blue nowadays, since DC decided to do away with the perfect colour balance of his tights). This is Clark being a noble, heroic individual all on his own, choosing to save the life of a man who would’ve otherwise killed him if he had the ability, and in doing so changes Colder for the better.
Because this book shows Superman interacting with his allies a lot, we see Batman and Wonder Woman play supporting roles in this book. What’s great about their presence is that they both add their own awesome moments, but at the same time, they don’t detract too much from Superman, keeping the story centred around him and his conflicts with Ascension, General Lane, and Wraith. However, at one point in the book, they DO end up facing off with Wraith in the Batcave. Now, this moment is split into two parts, as to keep this at five moments, and because they take place with one more or less directly following the other. The first part is when Batman, doing all he can to slow Wraith down, first drops one of the Batplanes on them (and yes, I insist on calling them Batplanes for as long as there remains a character named Batwing), and when that doesn’t work, he remote activates ALL of the Batmobiles to crash into Wraith (which are thankfully insured…because Batman, lol). And as you can see from the photo above, he’s got plenty. But how can you possibly follow up something that awesome?
…Like that! XD In all seriousness, though, can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Wonder Woman is in a New 52 Superman comic, is kept in character, and the fauxmance is not referenced AT ALL? In fact, looking at this makes me realize, Scott Snyder has now written amazing stories for both Superman and Batman… … …Anyone else curious to see if he can make it 3 for 3? 😀
Okay, this one might seem like cheating, but after I failed to mention this in the last review, I really need to talk for a moment about how awesome Lois Lane is in this comic. Throughout this story, Lois is constantly involved in the conflict with the villains. She reports on the objects falling from space. She goes to meet with someone claiming to be from Ascension (and not too far from my neck of the woods, neither, right here in Maritime territory). She’s constantly put into danger and manages to get out alive. She stands up to her father at every turn. She SAVES Superman at one point. She manages to obtain an object that allows Superman to stop NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON, and not in the stupid way like in Superman 4! There’s even points of the story where we see hints of their mutual attraction again. It’s just so refreshing to see her play a big part in a Superman story again, and how she’s able to be her own kind of heroic and inspiring figure in her own way.
Finally, as I already mentioned in my previous review, throughout this story, we see the conflict between Superman and the character Wraith. We see how they’re similar, how they’re different, how they can be powerful allies, how they’re natural antagonists, and one hell of a final knock-down, drag-out brawl between the two…that somehow STILL manages to have less property damage and death than Superman vs. Zod in Man of Steel (I know, I won’t shut up about it, but it’s true). And yet, by the end, when the only way that Superman has to save the world from Wraith’s people is a move that would ultimately be a suicide run, Wraith ultimately takes his place, seemingly with no regrets. Why? Because for all his talk of how he believed Superman did things the wrong way, he was so moved by his determination and commitment to doing the right thing that it changed him, that he couldn’t stand to watch Superman die. And as I said before, that is the TRUE superpower of Superman: The ability to inspire others to make the absolute best of themselves that they can.
So, those are my 5 Favourite Moments from Superman Unchained. Got one that wasn’t listed? Lemme know in the comments below, and hopefully, someday, we can see another great Scott Snyder-written Superman story… … …Oh, and I also demand Scott Snyder’s Wonder Woman someday, possibly in the pages of Sensation Comics. lol Ja né!
Superman Unchained #9 Review + My Thoughts On Superman Unchained Overall
“Years ago, back when the world was on the brink of war, we sent a message into space. An equation that was more emotional than mathematical. An equation that added up to more than the sum of its parts–nonsensical, but aspirational. An equation that called out, and said ‘Help us be better’. We should never have turned to the stars for guidance. If there is an answer, it’s here on Earth with us. For years, I thought Superman was trying to be the answer to that infernal equation. And I hated him for it. But I see now what his actions say–There is no answer. Figure it out yourself. How to be better. As he is trying to do…And perhaps, now, at the end, I can admit that in being the farthest thing from an answer to that equation…he might have been the closest we’ll come to one.”
Superman Unchained, particularly this last issue, tells a story of Superman that shows that, even in being imperfect, even in not always knowing how best to do a thing, he is nonetheless an inspirational figure. He inspires by trying and doing what he believes to be the right thing, and while that might sometimes end in disaster, he nonetheless presses on and continues to inspire others to do the right thing, and to make themselves better for it. And, as we learn, he does so both as Superman and as Clark Kent, always fighting for what he believes in, even if the world begged him not to, because it was the right thing to do. As we see in this issue, he is given the means by which to save the world, at the cost of his own life, and is willing to make that sacrifice, to put the lives of many over his own. Yet, he’s still saved in the end, and not by a friend, but by an enemy. The story of Superman Unchained has not only been about Superman’s own struggles against Ascension, General Lane, and Wraith, but of Wraith himself. We see by the end of this issue that Wraith was so changed by his encounter with Superman, his enemy, that he gladly took his place at the last moment, sacrificing his own life in the Man of Tomorrow’s stead while showing no regrets upon doing so. And that is Superman’s greatest asset: Not his astonishing superpowers, nor his brain that processes information thousands of times faster than the average person, but his ability to inspire others to be the best person that they can be.
Scott Snyder once again has told an epic of a tale with Superman Unchained. I don’t think it’s his greatest work, but it’s still pretty damned awesome. I will say that part of what makes it so easy to enjoy this book is how much it feels like a legitimate Superman story, something that I feel has been missing from The New 52. Also, I don’t know exactly what went wrong with the publication dates and why the last few issues were set back as much as they were, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that Snyder, and Jim Lee for that matter, were simply so busy with other projects that things had to be pushed back, though I could be mistaken, and I apologize if I am. Still, even with that in play, I loved this book, and am going to miss it now that it’s over. Here’s hoping that Scott Snyder gets another crack at Superman someday.
…Oh right, Superman’s in Batman Endgame, isn’t he?! I suppose that should count for a great Superman re-
……………Or not. lol
What I Bought This Past Week – Nightwing Annual #1, Superman Unchained #4, The Movement #6 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
So, been to Heroes’ Beacon a couple of times in the past week or so, and got some comics, so I’m taking a break out of writing Infinite DC – Wonder Woman for National Novel Writing Month so we can take a look at…
First off all, before anyone asks, NO, I did NOT buy the Zero Year tie-in issues of Green Arrow and the like. Why? Well, because there’s only maybe one or two of the non-Bat Family titles involved that interest me with their stories, and the Bat-Family titles involved…I thought we’d already established their back-stories, how they connect to Batman, and so on during their #0 issues. And frankly, at this point, I’m more than a little sick of massive crossover events involving books unnecessarily. I get that it’s done to get more readers on certain books, but for those that already are, it’s interrupting the stories they had going at the time, and for the ones that don’t, you’re not giving enough reason for them to start reading. Hate to break it to ya, DC, but I do not care what Jason Todd was doing during the blackout that The Riddler caused, AT ALL. The only ones I’m SLIGHTLY tempted to buy are the Action Comics tie-in (it’s Superman vs. a giant storm, leave me alone), Detective Comics (James Gordon taking on a gang working for the Black Mask), and Green Lantern Corps (John Stewart is one of those characters I like, but don’t know TOO much about their back-story before becoming a superhero). Either way though, someone has to tell the major comic book industries that the massive crossover events have to be used sparingly, and that tie-ins to other stories have to do more to entice readers, and there just has to be more of an effort placed into them. Want an example of a good tie-in book to another story? Let’s look at Nightwing Annual #1.
This is actually a tie-in to Batgirl Wanted, a storyline that I’m actually skipping. However, since Kyle Higgins doesn’t delve TOO much into the part of the story that makes my brain hurt the worst (namely Commissioner Gordon being written like a dumbass), instead focusing on telling a good Nightwing/Batgirl story that just happens to take place during this tough time in Babs’ life, it works. We also get a villain that I feel isn’t highlighted very much as the main antagonist: Firefly, complete with a new person behind the mask with a new back-story that…well, isn’t as good, and comes at the direct expense of the old one, but is still decent, and comes complete with a new, badass-looking costume. We also get a touching, at times tragic look at Dick and Barbara’s history and how it always seems to be wrong place, wrong time with them, but how they always will care deeply for each other and have the other’s back when they need it most. It’s a good read, especially for Dick/Babs shippers who want a dose of ‘the feels’.
The Movement #6 was pretty good, and I feel makes up for a problem we had last time with Tremor. It turns out that she told Katharsis that she wanted to quit because it was becoming clear that the group wasn’t doing enough to help people, particularly poor Burden, and after Vengeance Moth and Virtue break up the fight between the two, Virtue actually orders the two to go have, as Tremor calls it later, ‘Dessert Diplomacy’, while she deals with Burden, doing what she can with her powers to alleviate him of his inner fears. But he’s not the only one afraid, as it turns out that Tremor is scared, too. She’s scared for Katharsis’ soul and how stained it’s gotten, and it turns out that so is Katharsis sometimes, so they call a truce and make up. A good issue to develop the characters a bit, which is something I feel this series needs more of. After all, if DC and Gail Simone want people to buy this book, then obviously, step one HAS to be to get them to care deeply for these characters…Oh yeah, and Mouse got the shit kicked outta him, which’ll lead into the next major story arc as the team tries to take on The Graveyard Faction.
Superman Unchained #4, THANK GOD IT MIGHT NOT ONLY BE A 9-PART SERIES! I’m sorry, I know I keep harping on this, but Goddamn it, this is the best frigging Superman story going right now, if for no other reason than it actually FEELS like a Superman story. The characters are as they should be: Superman does what he can to stop the bad guys, but will alter plans to keep as many people safe as possible, even at risk to himself. Lois Lane is smart and quick on her feet, able to survive the worst scenarios thrown at her using her own natural abilities and without the need of any powers, abilities, or a mask (yes, I will be ranting about THAT soon). Jimmy Olsen is Superman’s pal who, despite being a little annoying, I actually feel some connection to in this series. And Lex Luthor is…well, Lex Luthor. He’s the evil genius that’s at least a step or two ahead of everyone else, and is just that perfect blend of insane and brilliant. Add in Wraith, who is the government fail-safe against Superman that still wishes to help him, and Ascension, the high-tech criminals out to bring the world to its knees (and for the most part seems to be succeeding), and this is a hell of a story. But like I said, it MIGHT not be a 9-part series. I’ve been hearing conflicting reports, but from what I can piece together, Jim Lee is only in for 9 issues, and Scott Snyder is currently playing it by ear how long he wants to stick around for. If he decides 9 is enough, then they’ll probably either assign someone else to it, or cancel it. So, what does the future hold for this book? I don’t know, but for now, I’m hoping Snyder sticks with it, because this is the Superman book we’ve needed since the New 52 started. Still, if it doesn’t, at least something AWESOME came out for Supes for his 75th Anniversary.
Anyway, that’s it for what I bought this and last Wednesday. Check in next time in a couple of weeks for more comics. In the meantime, I gotta get back to writing Infinite DC – Wonder Woman, as well as blogging on a couple of other issues that have come up for me recently. Ja né!
- DC Comics’ Forever Evil Part 3 of 7 Out Today *SPOILERS FROM #1-2* (sleeplessthought.wordpress.com)
- EXCL. PREVIEW: “Batgirl: Wanted” Continues in “Nightwing Annual” #1 (comicbookresources.com)
- New Comics Day: Our October 30 Pull List (theimprobablechuck.wordpress.com)
- New Release This Week!: Superman Unchained Issue #4 (thecomicbookstop.wordpress.com)
- Week 44 2013 | Part 2 | Comic Reviews (cynsworkshop.wordpress.com)
- EXCLUSIVE: Brett Booth Joins “Batman/Superman” in November (comicbookresources.com)
- Snyder and Lee’s First “Superman Unchained” Arc to Run for Nine Issues (comicbookresources.com)
- Injustice – Gods Among Us may be an insight into Superman vs Batman (dnaindia.com)
- Villain Month Guide: Part 2 – Superman and Earth-2 (retcon-punch.com)
- Superman: Zack Snyder video explores 75 years of the Man of Steel (herocomplex.latimes.com)
What I Bought Today – Superman Unchained #3 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
WHOA, this is actually on time?! That’s right, it’s the return of…
So this week, there were some awesometastic comics released, so let’s check ’em out. But, since I have a lot I wanna say about one in particular, I’ve decided to give it its own individual post. So, the first comic up to bat today: Scott Snyder‘s Superman Unchained #3!
…Okay, I started this by making a baseball analogy, but I think football might be more appropriate here: Wraith (that’s the super-powered being they had underground) actually kicks Superman from the Salt Flats to Needles. However, it seems it was only to appease General Lane, after which Wraith asks Superman if he’d like to see his home…No, I’m not kidding. He comes off as somewhat socially awkward in that sense. So they go to his home, and Wraith and General Lane explain that in 1939, Wraith crashed into Earth and was found by General William Rudolph. Apparently he was involved in settling a number of wars over the past 8 decades, during which he was given the name Wraith, which stands for William Rudolph’s Ace In The Hole…and I will admit that I find that abbreviation kinda clever. Also, General Lane makes it clear what his problem with Superman is: It isn’t that he’s an alien, or that he finds him to be some all-powerful threat. Rather, Lane’s problem is that he WANTS Superman to go take down dictators and warlords, but instead he spends his time saving satellites and falling buildings, and by doing so, he lets more people die.
I should note for the record that I don’t find this being an example of Scott Snyder getting the message of Superman wrong. Rather, I believe he’s intentionally writing General Lane as someone who gets the message of Superman wrong to make a point. You see, if Lane had his way, Superman would have executed every last dictator in the world, as well as every single individual who was ever seen as a threat. However, Superman doesn’t do that, and with good reason: He’s not a one man judge, jury, and executioner. That’s not how he operates. To do so would not only compromise his ideals, but also put himself on too high a pedestal, which actually proves how wrong Lane’s got it, since he thinks Superman spends his time saving people to hear applause. And he doesn’t try to become overly involved in our every issue, because what would happen if we became so dependent on him and then, for whatever reason, he was gone? All that Superman can do is try to be the best person he can, so that we can learn from his example and be better for that, so that maybe someday we won’t need people like Lane going to war with evil diplomats, because there won’t be any. That’s something I feel a lot of writers continuously miss. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even necessarily blame the writers currently making that mistake, since that’s just been the way it’s been for so long. However, I can tell that Snyder CLEARLY gets the message of Superman, because, in an odd way, only someone who truly got it could write one of the antagonists as having failed to get the message as bad as Lane does here.
But anyway, enough ranting for now. While all this is going on, Lois Lane‘ plane has been forced down into the ocean by the Ascension group, but she and the others aboard are saved by…a bald guy holding a glowing blue crystal. I assume we’ll learn his deal next time. Speaking of Ascension, they start a ruckus in Tokyo, so Superman and Wraith go to deal with it. Wraith mentions that he feels very honoured to be fighting alongside Superman, but lets it slip that it’s also a shame. Why? Because apparently, sometime after they deal with Ascension, Wraith is going to have to kill Superman…Like I said, kinda socially awkward. And all the while, Lex Luthor is up to his old tricks, and has a super-suit stomping around, looking to do some damage, and eventually decides to go kidnap Jimmy Olsen…because Lois wasn’t home at the time, I’m guessing. lol
So I have a question: When this book is LEAGUES above Action Comics and the main Superman title, why did we have to wait two years to get it? I’m just saying, the team of Snyder, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Dustin Nguyen bring a MUCH better Superman book than we’ve gotten at LEAST since the beginning of The New 52. Heck, even Grant Morrison‘s run with Action Comics wasn’t all that good, and he’s the man who wrote arguably the greatest Superman tale of all time. The only thing I can think of is that Snyder was busy writing too many books at the same time and was only able to do this when he left Swamp Thing, and that theory falls flat when you realise he’s STILL writing a bunch of other books at the same time as this now, so…Yeah, I have no idea. Either way, though, this is the main reason I decided I needed to take this time to talk about this book on its own. I’m aware that there are a LARGE number of jaded Superman fans out there right now, and I’m just gonna say this: If you’re sick of how Superman is represented in the current crop of DC Comics, but you still want something new to add to your collection, this is your best option. Is it in the same league as All-Star Superman? Of course not, not even close. But it’s still the best Superman book going right now, and everyone NEEDS to know this.
So that’s Superman Unchained. Next up, time to take a look at the other books I bought today, and I hope you brought tissues for one of them, because if not, you are SO screwed. Ja né!
- Exclusive Q&A with “Superman Unchained” creators Jim Lee and Scott Snyder (kindlepost.com)
- REVIEW: Snyder & Lee’s “Superman Unchained” #3 (comicbookresources.com)
- Superman Unchained #3 (comicvine.com)
- SDCC 2013: Superman Unchained Panel (comicvine.com)
- Creator Interview: Scott Snyder (retcon-punch.com)
- SDCC: Snyder Takes “Superman Unchained” From Concept To Page (comicbookresources.com)
- CBR TV: Snyder Dives into Batman’s “Zero Year,” “Superman Unchained” (comicbookresources.com)
- DC Comics Solicitations for November, 2013 (comicbookresources.com)
- SDCC LIVE: Superman Soars Into The New 52 (comicbookresources.com)
- Threat Level Wednesday – Dinosaurs vs Cowboys, Trinity vs Infinity and Man vs Machine (whatchareading.com)