Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Superman Family Adventures #12

After reading Superman Family Adventures #12, the final issue of the series, I was struck by the words of Kurt Vonnegut. “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, "It might have been.” 

Because it pains me that this series is ending. We have heard from creative team Art Baltazar and Franco that they had plots scheduled up to the forties. So there were more stories to tell. And this was such a crazy fun primer to the Superman Family, showcasing old characters, slight satirizing Superman story arcs from the past, bringing a classic sensibility to the Superman family, and just being fun. I looked forward to this book every month as did the supergirls at home. 

So it is unfortunate that this book is ending. Moreover, I think this issue suffers a little bit for being the last issue from a pacing and story viewpoint. It is clear that Baltazar and Franco try to stuff as much of their future ideas into this issue as possible. With so much stuff thrown against the wall, the book has something of a scattershot feel to it. Not that I mind all of these images I am seeing ... I just wish they were given time to breathe, space to grow. These must have been future plots that these two wanted to explore, and without that opportunity, the decision was made to at least give the readers a taste of what they will be missing. 

The issue jumps right into the action. Last issue ended with Luthor bringing in Darkseid. This issue starts in the middle of a fight. Somewhere between issues, Darkseid has sent a massive meteor to destroy Earth. And Superman has gathered to Justice League to thwart him. The JLA are actually on the meteor, trapped in some odd rock structure and Superman is going toe-to-toe. It took me a while to figure out just what was happening.

I also have to point out the new credits between panels. 'Supergirl based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family.' I have tried my best to follow the Siegel family lawsuit but I have to admit I am no lawyer. I do wonder if this will be a tagline on all Supergirl stories moving forward.

It does allow the creators to bring the Justice League into the book. The side-burned necklaced Aquaman? A trousered Wonder Woman. Interesting.

But as fun as it is to see these heroes fighting Darkseid, I would have preferred seeing the Superman Family at the front lines.

And then we get some of those scenes that feel like previews for future episodes.

In a plot taken from Superman Returns, Luthor shoots a Kryptonian crystal encased in a Kryptonite crystal to create a Kryptonite Fortress of Solitude. Now this isn't part of the plot of this issue. So it must be shown here to show us what might have been. I wonder what the whole plot would have been.

And then to make things even nuttier, Luthor shows he has created a clone of himself. But that is clearly Alex Luthor, the gold-suited red-haired kid I know best from Crisis on Infinite Earths. (I choose to forget Infinite Crisis.)

Now that is an issue I wish we could have seen!

As for the Superman Family, they seem oblivious to the Darkseid threat and are fixing up the Fortress of Solitude. How crazy to see Jor-El and Lara talking about making a baby room!! In fact they are only made aware of it when Jimmy hits the signal watch.

Unfortunately this is the only real moment for the extended family in the book. How I wish we would have seen them more in action.

But again, I think that Baltazar and Franco wanted to put as much into this book as they could stuff. Darkseid's meteor is stopped by ... the super-pets! So it is fun to see Krypto and Streaky again. And Super-turtle and Topo and Jumpa! And Ace!

Okay. That is fun. But seems like this was done just because it was the last chance.

And with the meteor carefully landed on Earth, Darkseid just gives up and goes home. And what of New Krypton? The planet that Brainiac has created and is enslaving the Kandorians on? Pretty much never mentioned or resolved.

Oh ... what might have been.

But there is something that needs to happen in the last pages.

Superman reveals he is Clark to Lois. Lois says that she knew all along (proving the nudge-nudge wink-wink nature of the Lois knowing about Clark seen throughout this book).

And so the book ends on this great panel ... Superman kissing Lois Lane!

I was hoping for a wedding. I was hoping for a proposal. But at least I get this!

Again, this was a super-busy issue of Superman Family Adventures. There is a lot here. And it pains me to see this end. If only all these dangling plots and future plots could have been seen in future issues!

Still, I have nothing but love for this book. I cannot thank Art Baltazar and Franco enough for this last year of fun and super-heroics. And, of course, for ending this book with the best happy ending ever ... Superman kissing Lois.

Hey DC, how about more of this?? Please???

Overall grade (issue): B+
Overall grade (series): A+++

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

Yup, not the greatest issue, it needed more focus on the family. But still rather lovely.