Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Superman #11

Well, what can I say about the Superman book that I haven't said other places. George Perez was given the keys to the kingdom but backed out after one arc and hinted at issues with editorial. Dan Jurgens comes in and has been writing standard if lackluster stories, most likely hamstringed by the unclear prior years of Superman's career and by the announcement that Scott Lobdell will be taking over. With such turnover and with the uncertain foundation of the character being built in Action, this book has felt a bit off kilter. I feel for Jurgens. He certainly couldn't define new characters or build a long term plotline given his short stay on the book.

Superman #11 is Jurgen's penultimate issue and promises on the cover to reveal the secrets of the Kryptonian biosuit Superman has been wearing. But in the end, we don't learn about the suit at all. Instead we get another story of Superman fighting an alien. Indeed, the best part of this issue was a dinner scene with the supporting cast. At least that characterization has been strong here.

The art also has a pedestrian feeling to it, although everyone on the creative side of things knew they were playing out a string of meaningless games so why put in extra effort.

The issue starts with Superman breaking into a Russian military science building, easily overcoming their laser defenses. He calls the Russians paranoid but I guess his breaking into the facilty confirms why they should be a bit worried.

While investigating, Superman finds some crucial evidence, stumbling on a recording where we learn the Russian sub from a few issues back were retrieving an unworldly capsule from the sea floor. I think this is one of those things I have to roll with - Superman entering a gutted building, pressing one button, and finding the video that provides the exposition.

We learn how Superman ended up there via a flashback, that dinner scene I mentioned above.

For ditching Lucy at the train station, Clark is forced to take her, Lois, and Jonathan Carroll (the barechested guy in Lois' apartment from way back in Superman #1) to an extremely expensive dinner.

It is here we learn that Carroll is a foreign correspondent and a 'decent guy' (at least that is what Clark thinks of him).

Also, Lucy is played a little edgy, a little vampy, and a little adventerous telling Clark no one has ever stood her up twice and that they should bungee jump from the Bogdanove bridge. I don't know if she is a Kid Cat Grant or just a confident young woman. And, as Jurgens is leaving, I might never know.

My favorite moment of the book is a Lois moment.

Morgan Edge also happens to be eating at the restaurant tonight and he and Lois talk about the recent erroneous 'Superman's secret identity' story Edge ran. Lois goes 'for the jugular' zinging him for looking like an idiot regardless of the ratings he got. Nice! Great Lois moment.

Before the food arrives, everyone's cell phone buzzes about an incident in Russia that might involve their nuclear plants. All the journalists leave to do some digging on the story. Interesting that Clark says he will make it up to Lucy. Could Jurgens have wanted him to court the vivacious Lucy? That would be weird but interesting.

Of course Clark went straight to Russia as Superman.

Back in the building, he runs into Russian security including 'Ivan' a high ranking security agent. Ivan provides more exposition. The Russians have been looking for their own Superman to balance world power. They found another dimension with life but whatever was in there looked back and shot the pod to our world.

Don't look into the abyss or it might look back?

Again it is something of an easy way for the story to be told to me. Ivan sounds interesting as he is elusive with details of his past and boasts of having been on the Secret Service. But Russia being nervous of America sounded a bit too Cold War for me.

Superman tracks the being into a Russian town where everyone ... everyone ... has been killed.

This alien then engages Superman and using what seems to be high-tech weapons and scanners, pretty much trashes Superman.

Maybe this is supposed to be a riff on Predator? But this also felt a bit 90s Image too.

And so we end on a cliffhanger, Superman unconscious (I guess the suit reverts to its basline white without biorhythm input).

So outside of a nice Lois moment, this felt pretty much like filler. Nothing special, nothing terrible. And so there is only one more issue in the 'Jurgens Era' of Superman in the DCnU.

Overall grade: C

1 comment:

Dave Mullen said...

I was okay with the issue, it wasn't at all bad just marking time is all. Because I've enjoyed Jurgens art and the treatment of the first two or three issues I am sympathetic to these last three as I understand what the pitfalls are likely to be due to the backroom goings on.

My biggest beef this issue is that is a blinding xerox of Superman #655 with the first appearance of Subjekt-17, I'm very surprised it passed editorial the similarities are so great. The other beef is seeing Superman's suit torn to shreds after all the "Indestructable" hype surrounding it. I can rationalise it a bit as this attacker is from another dimension and purposely armed but I shall hope for a direct explanation next issue or I won't be too happy...

I think the resteraunt scenes were the highlight of the issue and for me it's Morgan Edge who gaained my interest, he's becoming a favorite of mine as he's such a strong personality with understandable motives for what he does. The competition between him and Lois is good stuff but I do question what Clark is doing mixing with this sphere of influence when all he is is a streetlevel reporter!
This circle Lois is now mixing in is way away from his newsroom and knocking-on-Doors daily routine... It's becoming a credibility issue for me.