Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: Superman Family Adventures #7

Superman Family Adventures #7 came out last week and was another fun issue to read. While prior issues have skirted a more normal Superman adventure with some silliness on the periphery, this one reverses that, embracing some silliness while a standard super-hero story just happens to occur. In many ways, this issue felt much more like a Tiny Titans issue. I'm not saying that's a bad thing.

Another thing to note about this issue is that the family gets the spotlight for most of the story with Superman only arriving at the end. I liked seeing Supergirl and Superboy engaging in some shenanigans away from battling super-villains as it establishes who these characters are in this 'continuity'.

And lastly, creators Art Baltazar and Franco continue to work some DCU and DCnU references into these stories much as they did in Tiny Titans. Moreover, unlike Titans, here they seem to be working on a bigger story, weaving some subplots into these issues.

On to the story!

The issue starts with Supergirl, Superboy, Beast Boy, and Starfire having a snow ball fight near the Fortress. During the fight, it is discovered that Superboy has a loose tooth. And, in a new twist, we discover that on Krypton a lost tooth means a party ... a Tooth Fairy party.

Okay it seems a bit of a stretch, but look at how excited Supergirl is to throw a party!

And it turns out to be a 'wild' party with everyone donning fairy wings and antennae. Even Comet gets a makeover, dressing up like a unicorn. He doesn't particularly seem happy.

The Fortress is stuffed with toy ponies, teddy bears, and action figures ... all delivered without a return address.

I have to say the Titans here look more like the Tiny Titans style of art than the SFA style. No noses, simpler, etc. I wonder if Franco and Baltazar simply miss these characters so much that they like getting them into this book.

Lastly, I love just how elated Supergirl looks here.

The toys are part of a revenge plan by the Toyman. He feels belittled by Superman who kept nagging him to buy extra batteries at the toy store.

In some ways this reminded me of the Silver Age Superman who seemed a bit haughty in how he doled out advice or acted towards people. Sure, he is trying to be helpful ... but it is also a bit annoying, no?

And as this is a revenge scheme by the Toyman, you can guess what happens. The toys 'come to life' and attack.

The Super-family attacked by some ersatz My Little Ponies? Silly and fantastic. And when Superman returns from a lunch run, he is also swarmed by toys.

As I said, there has been some internal continuity in the book and some intrigue. One of the ongoing bits has been the appearance of the 'Brainiac' 3 circles here and there. Here we see it in a 'Brainiac' bug which shows up at the Fortress. And it's speaking Kryptonian!

"Must find Super-family."

Is it friend or foe?

The Toyman isn't just bringing little toys to the fight. He has brought a life size T-Rex.

In a nice little side-brawl, the Super-pets get into the fray. Fluffy, Comet, and Beppo join Krypto and Streaky in battling the robot.

In what should have been an anticipated turn of events, the lack of back-up batteries ends up hurting the Toyman. He cannot activate his ultimate attack because he has run out of juice.

I love the annoyed look on all the heroes. I said it was silly!

Toyman takes a quick trip to jail.

And the Super-pets give the T.Rex robot to the Bat-pets! So now we know how the giant dinosaur found its way to the Bat-Cave. Again, it is a small homage to the DCU but appreciated.

Again, these Bat-pets are similar to those in the Tiny Titans book, right down to the Bat-cow!

But this was the most intriguing part of the book. The 'bug' has signaled some aliens to come to Earth and find the Super-family.

No doubt that these aliens mirror the alien forces, the nanites which attacked Superman in the George Perez story arc in the new 52 Superman book. It is these references to the DCU which makes this more interesting to me. They are often witty or self-deprecating. So will I understand the Superman Family Adventures version of this story more than the Perez version?

It is these flourishes that make this book 'all ages'.

And the other brewing storyline? Luthor is slowly gathering up a cadre of villains and a collection of kryptonite. Is a Legion of Doom or Superman Revenge Squad story approaching.

As I have said before, this book is sort of the cupcake of my comic collecting. It is sweet and simple and enjoyable. The supergirls at home love it. And I think it is wonderful.

Hard to grade these. But a happy Supergirl in fairy wings, some Silver Age annoying Superman, and the usual DCU homages all make for a fun time.

Overall grade: B+

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