Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Superman Family Adventures #6

Superman Family Adventures #6 came out this week and as usual was a fun comic to read, one that both me and the supergirls at home enjoyed. In many ways, the book is a more classic approach to the Superman character and his supporting cast and as such, is a welcome change from some of the darker, more sullen, more isolated feeling in the main book. And, also usual, there are a couple of laugh out loud moments. Comics are supposed to be fun and this one is.

But more than anything this issue seemed to be a sort of reflection of DCnU. Creators Art Baltazar and Franco used Tiny Titans to poke fun at some of the continuity issues in the DCU. Here, this issue doesn't poke fun but the similarities between this issue and some of the current goings on in Superman seems almost too uncanny to be coincedence. Maybe I'm wrong.

But just as Action Comics Annual #1 has Superman fighting a man infused/powered by Kryptonite and being saved by John Henry Irons, so too do we see that play out here. And just when we hear about the Daily Planet's woes and Lois' lack of ethics in Superman, here we see a more familiar Lois showing how it can be done in this new era of information.

One thing I have liked all along about this book is that the characters are family and act like family. They work together and seem to enjoy each other's company. So to see them working together, saving a crashing space ship and catching this title's omnipresent meteors, I have to smile.

"Good job cousins! Nice catch Krypto!" is better than "I don't have time to pound you Kara" which we saw so recently.

The spaceship was piloted by Jack Corben, who emerges from the ship looking literally green about the gills.

But more importantly, there is Lois reporting the news for the Planet's streaming website. The Planet doesn't have to devolve into the National Enquirer, even in these times. There are ways for it to remain a source of the news without compromising its intergrity. And there are ways for Lois to remain the hard hitting investigative reporter she is. She doesn't need to belittle efforts to remain above the fray.

Thanks for showing me a Lois I can believe in. One who has figured out Clark is Superman, remains silent about it, and continues to report the news!

The space ship malfunctioned for some reason and so Superman brings it to S.T.A.R. Labs. There John Henry discovers some alien code and a familiar looking connected 3 circle symbol. No immediate answers but it is pretty clear Brainiac is around.

Is this a hint at an ongoing plotline in this book??

Unlike Action Comics, Superman thinks John is there simply to be a friend and help, not as a possible threat.

Luthor shows up to talk to Corben. Corben is sick because of a dose of Kryptonite radiation poisoning he got when the ship when through an asteroid field. With some verbal gymnastics, Lex convinces Corben that Superman is behind this problem and the Corben needs to get some revenge, something Luthor will help him do.

I felt this was something of an homage to the Superman The Animated Series Metallo origin where Luthor dupes Corben into fighting Superman (even more ironic since Luthor was responsible for Corben's physical malady in the cartoon).

And just like that, we have Metallo. I love his bronze age look. It's funny, this Metallo is more Kryptonite Man than the classic 'Man with the Kryptonite heart'. Still his K-radiation, fired through the chest plate, weaken Superman and the cousins.

As in the Action Comics Annual, Irons decides he needs to lend a hand. But rather than donning his own armor, he jumps into Luthor's battle suit. Still, he knows who his inspirations are so he scrawls an S on his chest and grabs his trusty hammer.

Thus, the Man of Steel is born. It's like Reign of the Supermen all over again. With one well placed strike with the hammer, the chest opening is dented shut.

But Irons (as in the Annual again) is only stalling for the Super Family to come back with some protection.

A short time later, Superman and the cousins show up in the Super-mobile and garbed in lead outfits (including ninja hoods which are off in this panel).  And just like that Metallos is dumped into a lead box and sealed. And look, even Natasha Irons is in this book!

How great is this ... everyone is happy, shaking hands, and thanking each other for helping out.

And if that panel wasn't enough, there's more. when Solomon Grundy rampages the call themselves the Superman Family and go off together!

So that's a nice little story introducing Steel, showing the family working together and spotlighting Lois.

But to be honest, the ending of the issue was the best part. Each member of the super-family keeps getting punched into the Kent Farm barn, making a mess of the hay. After having cleaned up the hay three times, Ma decides to take matters into her own hands and heads to Metropolis.

There she chastises Grundy only as she can and makes him clean up the mess.

Aw yeah! Definitely reminded me of the all-powerful Ma Kent seen in Super Best Friends Forever recently. Just fantastic.

No complaints here. This is a fun book and it shows a true super-family working together and having fun. It shows Lois reporting and streaming! Add to that some humor and I am a happy reader.

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Wonderful review of a lovely comic. I was also knocked out by the similarities with Action Comics Annual. On the one hand, I find it hard to believe the Johnny DC department are kept in the loop as to the minutiae of up-to-the-minute Superman releases. On the other ... blimey.

It's terrific to see an A-plot, a subplot (Jimmy's suspicions) and humour, with room for the Krypto and Fluffy vignette, that delightful Ma Kent short and a puzzle page ... this is a great value comic for all the family.

And I can't tell you how much I love Kara's costume in SFA, the cape looks so great with a skirt.

valerie21601 said...

I gave suggestions to a online friend, Batmom to family friendly DC Comics as she was despairing she would find any all ages comics from them.

Batmom loves comic books especially DC Comics and wants to pass the love for them to her young children. Sadly she can't let her kids (under 12) read anything from the DC Comics 52 universe.

I told her about Tiny Titans and the Superman Family Adventures series and she and her kids LOVE THEM!!! She had no ideal they existed and Batmom is so happy to have finally found DC Comic series she can share with her own Tiny Titans.

She is now getting all of the back issues on them. (I don't know if Batmom is getting the TBP versions.)

S said...

i get very annoyed when they mixed characters up.
Otis and Parasite
Metallo and Kryptonite Man.
I just get so fanboyish when that happens. What do you think?

Lionel Braithwaite said...

Nice, funny book-I might buy it, if I can afford it and all of the other Superman Family books that I also buy (Superman, Action Comics, Supergirl, Superboyand Justice League, as well as Star Trek.