Thursday, June 26, 2014

Superman #32 - A Review

To be quite blunt, I don't like a lot of the changes that The New 52 has brought to Superman.  I don't like having both of The Kents dead.  I don't like the idea of Superman and Wonder Woman dating.  And I don't like Clark Kent having been turned into Peter Parker with better musculature.

As such, I quite happily wrote off the Superman books a while ago.  I was never the biggest Superman fan to begin with, although I did like what Grant Morrison was trying to do with Action Comics before his departure.  I was looking forward to what Andy Diggle was going to do before he decided to leave that series after one issue.  And I was enjoying Supergirl before it was decided it should tie in more closely to whatever Scott Lobdell was trying to do with the Superman books at the time.

So what brought me back for this issue?  Two creators whose work I've always respected, even on the rare occasions when I didn't enjoy it - Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.

Johns seems to be trying to re-establish the connections that earlier writers forsook.  This issue sees Clark being rehired at The Daily Planet and Perry White encouraging Clark to try and build more personal connections with people - something his life as Superman afford him little chance to do outside of his circle of superhero co-workers.  The book also introduces a new hero, who promises to be someone Clark can bond with on a more personal level than with Batman or Wonder Woman.

I think Johns hits the meta-textual nail on the head with White's assessment.  One of the biggest problems with Superman books of late - and many Superman stories in the past - is that there has been too little of Clark making connections with other people.  "The 'Super' has been put before the 'Man', to paraphrase Mark Waid in Kingdom Come, and the books have suffered for it.  Superman cannot just be about punching giant monsters.  It has to be about helping people as well.

Thankfully, when the time for monster-punching does come, John Romita Jr. proves as skillful as ever in depicting the action.   Whether he's choreographing involved fights or rendering talking heads, Romita is one of the best.  He's held up as one of the greats in the business for a reason and that reason is evident throughout this issue.

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