Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Superman #29

Superman #29 came out last week and featured Superman fighting against and then with Starfire.

We all know that come June, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. will be taking over the book. That means we only have a couple more months of writer Scott Lobdell on the book. And it also means Lobdell only has a couple of months to tie up several of the plot lines that he has had churning along in the book.

It also means that I only have a couple of more issues to read Lobdell's take on Superman which has never read quite right.

Ed Benes provides the art here and it is clear that he was having a good time drawing Starfire. She certainly is drawn in a very provocative manner throughout.

And is there any cover that describes the New 52 DC Universe more that this one? Starfire, one of the company's hero, is attacking Superman, endangering a young boy, at a State Fair! A State Fair! If it wasn't depressing it would be ridiculous in its cliches.

You might recall that last issue Superman was going to interview the criminals Lois helped bring in when Starfire blasted the police station wall. She was going to kill the criminals regardless of what Superman had to say.

But right from this first page I am confronted with the odd voice of Superman in Lobdell books. "As much as he tries to fit in on this world ..."?? "He's always going to be a strange visitor."??

It is as if Lobdell wants to move Superman away from humanity, have him forget the Smallville origins, make him alien.

I get that he is from Kryptonian. But he was raised in Kansas. By the Kents. It is that upbringing that defines him. Not standing in the sun.

Superman is able to immobilize Kory briefly so he can interrogate the criminal. But the crook mutates in front of him, becoming this monstrous thing. Before Superman can ask him any questions, Starfire returns and incinerates the guy with a starbolt.

The criminals are acting as hosts for alien life forms which are mutating them. In theory, the 'man' is dead, his body just a vessel for the Daemon being. Kory says since the man was dead, she didn't have to worry about killing 'him'.

Of course it means she killed 'it', a sentient albeit evil Daemonite.

At least Lobdell has Superman chastise her for killing anything.

I have to say, if you like nonstop cheesecake, Benes has to be a favorite. We certainly get enough of a view of her chest and behind throughou.

The 'guns' the beings were toting were inoculators. The man injected himself with a Daemonite, willingly becoming its vessel. I wonder if these people know they are basically killing themselves?

So let's also take a look at the New 52 universe. In this universe, Starfire ... a hero supposedly ... blasts through a police station wall. She kills someone in front of Superman. He doesn't chastise her in any meaningful way. The Metropolis police waste no time in emptying their revolvers at the two heroes.

When Starfire learns there are more of these guns on the streets, she leaves to mete out some fatal justice.

Last issue, Cat Grant decided to reject Morgan Edge's offer to buy

In a rather creepy way, we see Edge, in his car, approach Grant as she walks home. When she tells him she isn't selling, he gives her this veiled threat.

Now after Jimmy warned her about Edge trying to hide something, and after this sidewalk approach, you think Cat might be a little more aware that this is a threat. But instead she seems to take it at face value. This is a brief scene, so maybe we will see her be more astute the next time.

Sure enough, all the criminals Lois brought in have mutated into monsters and are tearing apart the jailhouse. Starfire is quite verbose in her hatred swearing to turn all the monsters into smoldering ash!

Superman does arrive to try to stop her, reminding her that there are alternative to killing. He freezes the monsters in their place.

Another look at the sorry state of the New 52? Starfire calls Superman a childish prig. So much for him being the inspirational figure for the world.

The Daemonite-possessed inmates are brought to STAR Labs where the scientists there basically say there is no cure. The scientist actually belittles Superman a bit saying he can't 'super-believe' a cure into being. That's right ... a STAR Lab employee making fun of Superman's ethics and hope. Classy.

Luckily Superman is able to detect energy off the inoculating guns which leads him to the Daemonite headquarters.

On the outskirts of town in an abandoned building, Starfire and Superman run into this kid. Does anyone think he isn't a Daemonite? Look at how Benes' draws him.

While Superman talks to him as if he were human, Kory reminds him that Daemonites can remain dormant. This kid 'could' be a Daemonite. Duh ...

Then, after revealing he is Daemonite, the kid self-immolates, vaporizing himself. Ummm ... okay. If he was going to kill himself, why reveal himself. He was, in theory, safe and undetectable in the human form.

Starfire tells Superman that the Daemonites are putting the world on notice.

But what is this pose by Benes supposed to be telling me. Is she smacking her forehead like 'Hello M'Ghann?' Is she squinting at the nighttime sky, hoping to see a Daemonite ship in orbit? I don't get it. Maybe it is just supposed to be eye candy.

After the end of that story, we peek in on Lois who continues to manifest Brainiac power.

I have talked about the sorry state of the New 52 a lot. Has anyone suffered like Lois? Here, she uses her powers to tampers with her boyfriend's mind. Does that sound like something Lois, a pursuer of truth, would do? Maybe the Brainiac piece is making her borderline evil? I actually have to hope Lois is evil to explain this because I don't want my Lois to do this.

Plus, talk about convenient ... the Parasite drained Lois of just enough energy to remove her memory of Clark being Superman ... but not enough to drain her completely. Guess I have to roll with it.

And what is stopping Lois from using her powers to rediscover Superman's secret identity. She has to be powerful enough if she is freezing a platoon of criminals last issue and wiping minds in this one.

If there is one bright thing about this issue it is the reintroduction of Blackfire in the DC universe. She is working for Helspont and the Daemonites. But her dialogue makes it seems as if she is doing so begrudgingly, somehow protecting Tamaran by serving the Daemonite cause.

I do like the goth sort of look for her, especially the Alice Cooper eyes. I am not surprised about the skimpiness of the top. But the hair, eyes, and spiked cape all work.

But this issue is ultimately forgettable for many reasons. I don't think the Daemonites story will be concluded in the next couple of months. So maybe this was a way to put this arc on the backburner for a different time.

Overall grade: C-


The Wandering mind said...

I really like this blog. Your posts have taught there is way more to Supergirl than I originally thought.Blackfire was already reintroduced in Red Hood and the Outlaws when Lobdell was still writing it.She seems to be more noble this new universe.I liked that arc.

Martin Gray said...

I liked Superman constantly chastising Starfire, but yes, he really did put up with too much of her nonsense.

I think Cat's understated 'OK' represents her doing a double take on the Edge moment.

I really hope Scott Lobdell does tie up his main plots, and heck, he must have known Johns was coming before he brought in the space window.

I'm not thrilled with the return of the Daemonites, they're rubbish, DC should abandon them.

That cover reads differently once you know the kid is a baddie, but yes, the point is, you don't.

The Starfire bit of the art shows that Ed Bene's needs to grow up.

Anj said...

I really like this blog. Your posts have taught there is way more to Supergirl than I originally thought.

Thanks for the compliment!

Interesting that Blackfire was in Red Hood. What issues?

And you are right, she seems noble here, not outright evil.

Anj said...

Mart, I agree with so much you say especially the Daemonite sentiment.

I thought Superman was taking a little bit too much guff from Starfire. At some point he should have said 'leave Metropolis, I got it'.

And yes, Starfire has beautiful skin ... and so much of it! Thought I was looking at a girly mag.

Jay said...

Well, he did get Superman down really well this time around. Is this how Starfire acted in Lobdell's Red Hood run, though? To my knowledge, after the controversy of the first issue, his run there was largely praised and Starfire one of the main reasons. But here I agree she was kinda annoying.

The Lois stuff doesn't bother me at all. I've been assuming for some time now that she is not of sound mind and body. Should it be revealed that she is, then I'd have an issue. But I really don't think that's going to be the case. Brainiac's influencing her in more ways than one, that's my bet.