Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Superman Family Adventures #4

Superman Family Adventures #4 came out last week and continued to be a fun ride. As usual, creators Art Baltazar and Franco continue to infuse some old school Superman mythology into an all ages treat. And best of all, this seems to operate on a pre-New 52 type world, a place where Clark crushes on Lois and Lois is the smartest person in the room.

But despite all that, the main thing about this book is that it is a carnival ride of a comic book, pure fun. While there isn't a glimpse of Supergirl in this book, there are great Lois moments and that might make this my favorite issue of the book so far.

Bizarro made his appearance a couple of issues ago and remains a member of the supporting cast. He actually is sort of the super-family pet ... or maybe more like a toddler that needs close supervision. It is a good set-up for almost instant comedy. I am glad he is still around.

Here Superboy is taking Bizarro for a walk when they discover a chunk of Red K from the Kryptonite spill 2 issues ago. In-title continuity! With an editor's box reminding people where to go! Fantastic!

Bizarro fires the rock away before it can effect anyone. Of course, this being Superman Family Adventures, he super-throws it towards Metropolis where it becomes the ubiquitous 'meteor falling on the city'. The meteor bit is a nice running gag.

The rock lands in Perry's coffee and is swallowed by Titano, a monkey from Haley's Circus (the subject of an article by Lois). And, the resulting radiation turns Titano into a Kong-like giant ape.

Is there anything that screams Silver Age wackiness more than Titano? He is the perfect sort of character for a throwback fun book like this.

And now onto the great Lois moments in the book.

After reading this issue, I have to think that Lois knows that Clark is Superman. First, when Clark shows up with his 'pet monkey' Bob Kent, Lois asks if the come from the same galaxy.

When questioned, she then says she meant 'Smallville'.

When Titano becomes huge and threatens the city, Clark comes up with a lame excuse and takes off.

Perhaps even better, Lois reminds 'Bob' that he probably has to go too. Of course, she could be saying he needs to be with Clark but I think she means he needs to change to Beppo and to some super-monkeying.

The classic Titano had Green-K vision. This Titano has Red-K vision. And when Superman is struck by the beams, an evil Superman appears ...a negative Superman.

Now certainly this could be a riff on the Donner Superman III movie. After all, Donner references have been in this book from the beginning. But for me the cooler moment was when this Negative Superman first appears, it is like a black energy wraith flying from Superman. It looked like the Doom Patrol's Negative Man. So of course this would be a negative Superman.

And he isn't really just evil. He really is more negative. He shows up at the Planet as a Clark Kant, a negative guy who can't do anything. I love how the Planet staff just roll with this stuff.

The real Superman calls Kant out for a fight, the two Supermen skirmish for a bit, and then they are squashed back into one being by Titano.

It is almost too bizarre to comment on.

Titano ends up depowering when he ... apparently ... poops out the Red K. The chunk bounces away, Titano shrinks back to a regular-sized monkey. And all is back to normal.

The threat ends when the giant monkey passes his power source in his stool. Hysterical.

And now, the best scene. Clark shows back up to work maybe a bit too soon, his hair still sporting the classic spit curl.

It is Lois who points it out, smooths things out, and walks away. She has to know he is Superman and is just playing along. And Lois should be able to figure this stuff out. I love Lois in this book.

And as for the Red K, it is swept up by a sanitation worker who turns out to be Lex Luthor in disguise. Internal continuity and a cliffhanger in a 'kids' book'! Aw yeah!

As I have said before, this comic reminds me about how fun comics can be. And, as usual, this book appealed to the supergirls at home as well as me. That means it is truly All Ages.

No complaints about this book. It is like candy for the mind.

Overall grade: A

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