Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Superman Family Adventures #11

Superman Family Adventures #11 came out last week, the second to last issue of this title. It pains me to see this title go away. It is such a sneaky funny book, an all ages book no doubt but with enough nuance and homages to keep this long time DC fan happy.

Yes, the most important thing is that the Supergirls at home (aged 14,11, and 9) love this book. But keeping the adult happy is crucial as well. It is what makes Young Justice and Gravity Falls so great. They are all ages and that doesn't have to be pejorative.

I suppose it was a great thing that creators Art Baltazar and Franco knew the end was near because it feels like they are trying to stuff 40 issues of plot into the last handful of issues. This issue is simply stuffed with riffs on older and more modern story arcs from the Super books and even DC books. And my guess is that there is a lot more to come in next month's final issue.

But despite all those references, the part of this book that is most fun is Ma Kent laying the smack down and taking charge.

While Doomsday strapped to a meteor comes crashing to Earth (as he did in the Death of Superman arc), Ma Kent takes Conner and Kara on a field trip to Metropolis and the Daily Planet.

The "Clark-fication" of Supergirl and Superboy is cute. I would have loved ... LOVED ... for Kara Kent to have been Linda Lang but we can't get everything we want.

Last issue ended with the Bottle City of Kandor being returned to its normal size.

But the imprisoned Brainiac has escaped and is complete control of the city and it's populace. I can't exactly tell whether or not the city itself has turned into Green K. But Brainiac reveals he has 'Kryptonite powers' now, the whole spectrum, and is using it control the Kandorians. You can see the various halo hues inflicting pain.

Looks like Zod will have to team up with Superman and Lara to save the day.

One of my favorite parts of this book is the 'nudge nudge wink wink' nature of Lois dealing with Clark's secret identity. It has been clear for a while that she is in the know.

I am only posting 3 panels of a page worth of verbal gymnastics that Ma and Lois have where both discuss Clark/Superman hinting that they are the same guy but never outright saying it.

I have loved Lois in this book. Will there be a proposal next issue?? I hope so. (I had held out hope for a wedding next issue but I don't think there will be enough page space.)

With Superman busy in the Arctic, Supergirl and Superboy have to face off against Doomsday.

Man, I miss the days of a Super-family liking each other and working together.

Unfortunately, Doomsday proves to be too much for Kara and Conner. Hey, he's Doomsday? What can stop him?

Now I have talked about how continuity isn't has important to me in this book. I applauded the return of Lara in this series ... something I am sure I would frown upon in the 'real' DCU. And Franco and Baltazar even brought back Jor-El, albeit in ghostly form, able to be solid for only 24 hours at a time.

Well ... the return of Superman's parents was only the beginning. Brainiac defeats Superman, Jor-El, and Zod with ease. When he squares off against Lara he discovers she's .... pregnant!!!!


Now could she have been pregnant this whole time while in the Phantom Zone? Well, either that or she got busy with Jor-El last issue when he returned.

Either way, Superman is going to be a big brother!

Unreal. No worries about continuity here. This is great!

In this book, Brainiac is talked about like another son of Jor-El. A misguided son ... but a 'son' nonetheless.

Anyways, Brainiac is so floored by this discovery that Lara is pregnant that he stops his attack, grabs Kandor, and leaves. He creates a 'new Krypton' in a heliocentric orbit with Earth.

So this simply reverberates with the New Krypton storyline from several years ago. I hope they end up calling it Rokyn! Riffs on Doomsday and New Krypton! Awesome.

I also think that somehow Brainiac is going to become a good guy here, realizing the errors of his ways, and being welcomed back into the El family.

There is still a Doomsday problem.

But Ma Kent shows her intestinal fortitude, chastising Doomsday with a literal slap on the wrist and sending him on his way.

She already laid some old school discipline on Solomon Grundy a couple of issues ago. I'm not surprised she can take even this savage beast.

Ma Kent has been given some serious props recently. Remember with a simple wag of the finger she grounded Supergirl in Super Best Friends Forever.

And if that wasn't enough, she then does the same to the Brainiac/Nimrod/Terra Man villain.

I love how the villains are all glum, sitting on the side of the road. Too funny!

And then we see Ma Kent riding Comet! Awesome sauce.

Things take an odd turn when Luthor contacts Darkseid, who is in his 'lunch lady' role from Tiny Titans. I almost wish there wasn't as tight a continuity between Tiny Titans and this book. Weird to see Darkseid in a hairnet in this more semi-serious book. I said semi-serious.

Lex tells Darkseid about the new planet of super-powered Kryptonians. The villains seem on the verge of teaming up.

Hmmm ... a planet full of super-humans and Darkseid is getting involved? Has to be some play on Daxam and the Great Darkness Saga. Has to be!

Man, that was a wild ride that was fun, funny, and exciting. With all these plots up in the air ... Lois knowing, New Krypton, Lara pregnant, Darkseid ... there is a lot to resolve. All in one issue. I just hope I get a proposal from Clark to Lois. That would be the best.

I can't praise Franco and Art Baltazar enough for this hidden gem So sad to see it going away.

Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

The Superman Family Adventures is like fan-fiction, really well written and well drawn fan fiction that freely reconfigures continuity at will, I can pay the book no higher compliment.


Martin Gray said...

Amen Anj, great review of a top issue. Do the Supergirls ask about all the old references, or accept things as new?

Pregnant *face slap)! I was thinking Dr Who or hidden Kandorian1