Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Superman Family Adventures #5

Superman Family Adventures #5 came out last week and was another fun and madcap issue. As I have said before, SFA remains a guilty pleasure for me, a more classic approach to Superman stories with a knowing tongue in cheek. Creative team Art Baltazar and Franco continue to do a nice mash-up of Silver Age Superman, Donner movie Superman, and current DCnU plotlines.

One thing I liked about this month's issue was that it had a solid Superman story in it. The last couple of issues have focused a bit on the family more than the man himself. So it was nice to see Superman star a bit here.

But the runaway hit of this book is Lois Lane who is just a cool collected intelligent character who is knowingly winking her way through the book. Fantastic.

As I said above, Franco and Baltazar have mixed some Donner movie elements into this comic. We have seen how Superman likes pink. We have seen Miss Tessmacher.

Here Otis, the bumbling Luthor henchman from the films (played by Ned Beatty) is turned into the Parasite when he is exposed to the radiation of yet another meteor which has fallen towards Metropolis.

An Otis/Parasite is a nice mashup because the Parasite has never (on his own) been the brightest guy.

One of the Parasite's first victims is Clark. Fatigued, Clark ends up napping at his desk. In the meantime, the Parasite continues to drain the citizens of Metropolis.

Lois knows who this is a job for. Needing to awaken Clark, she has him drink some of Perry's coffee. Again, it is pretty clear that Lois knows Clark is Superman (even if she is hiding it from everyone). Why awaken Clark? And what is Clark's thing he is going to do?

It is, of course, to become Superman and save the day.

I love this Lois.

Despite the coffee boost, Otis initially gets the drop on Superman and drains him more, taking on more aspects of the Man of Steel including his emotions.

That includes a healthy attraction to Lois.

I love that Lois isn't surprised by this declaration. She is a step ahead of everyone in this book and that is the way Lois should be.

So how does Superman defeat the Parasite? By putting on oven mitts to protect himself. Oven mitts! That's an 'aw yeah' moment.

And then I love how Lois calls out Superman on his liking her.

The second story is even sillier. Luthor applies for a job at the Daily Planet so he can have access to all the paper's files on Superman. With an almost nonsensical legerdemain he is able to convince Perry White to hire him.

Perry is truly a comic element in this book, irascible, constantly yelling, and easily perplexed.

As for Lex, he quickly learns that having Jimmy Olsen's job might be more difficult than he imagined.

For example, he has to constantly fetch Perry his coffee. Coffee seems to play an important role in this comic!

As a Dunkin Donuts guy, I did love this moment where Perry does a spit take when Lex gives him 'Peruvian Italian roasted Cappuccino blend'. Perry isn't into fancy coffee. He wants a good old fashioned cup of Joe.

Just in case we forgot, this is the Superman Family Adventures. Lex is called on to take pictures of all the disasters that the Supers are taking care of. One of them is Superboy and Supergirl saving the Tiny Titans bus.

I think Franco and Baltazar miss those guys.

Lex is continually put into peril, hanging out of the news helicopter to get photos and then parachuting from the copter to deliver Perry more coffee.

I think Lois and the super-family are playing a bit of a prank here, forcing Lex into more and more ridiculous situations. There are too many knowing smiles and thumbs up for it to be anything else. And I love seeing a Superman Family happy to be hanging out and working together.

Lex even gets hung up by his parachute on a skyscraper flag pole. He has to get rescued by Superman.

Again, looks like the Supers are playing a bit of a gag on the evil genius.

These are hard comics to grade. I always enjoy them. I didn't even mention the 2 page Streaky story in the middle. I always enjoy this comic, a book which I think reminds me of how fun comics can be.

I hope at some point this book does a 'H'Eck on Earth' storyline!

Overall grade: A

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