Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free Comic Book Day: Divergence

Free Comic Book Day was last Saturday and, as always, it was a great time.

The middle Supergirl joined me in going to the local comic store. We grabbed some free loot. My local comic store limits patrons to 2 free books to make sure that they have enough for the masses. I grabbed DC's Divergence and Marvel's Secret Wars. (I would have grabbed the young Avengers book but they were already out of that book.) She grabbed Attack on Titan and the Teen Titans Go! book.

Despite the business I give the store, I try to buy something on FCBD to help the store defray the cost of all the 'free' books they need to buy. I reached out to Landry Walker to recommend some books for me to try out. He told me to try The Fuse and Invisible Republic. I bought the first issues of both titles and they are sitting on my nightstand. My daughter grabbed the Luna issue of My Little Pony Fiendship: is Magic book.

Divergence gives us a little look at the future of Superman and gives us some info about 'The Truth', the upcoming mega-arc in the super-books. Exposed, written by Gene Luen Yang with art by John Romita Jr,  is probably lifted pages from the upcoming issue but I figured I would review what we know.

We open up with Clark and Jimmy eating out of a food truck in Metropolis. By now, it is apparent that Clark being Superman has gone public. Clark says outright that he is trying to keep a low profile. Obviously a reveal like this would make everyone come out of the woodwork to try to confront or interview or bother Clark.

I suppose this explains the buzzcut and whiskers as well as the hoodie and sunglasses. He is trying to hide in plain site. And this isn't the first time we have seen something like this. (Remember when he posed as a lumberjack when he was hiding out from Kenny Braverman, Conduit?)

But also we learn that Superman is partially depowered. He isn't absorbing solar energy as efficiently as he used to. Maybe constantly using the solar flare power has fried his cells?

But even dressed like this, Clark is recognized by a huge superstrong burly guy who has a grudge against Superman for a prior arrest.

Whoever this guy is, he has glowing tattoos and is tough enough to hoist the food truck up on his shoulders and throw it onto Superman.

Superman is strong enough to shrug off the attack, box this guy's ears, and then takes off. It isn't clear if Clark is leaving because he is afraid he is too weak for a sustained fight or if he doesn't want an open brawl in a populated area.

I will say I loved this page. Yang uses background television screens, tweets, youtube videos, and newspaper blurbs to give us the background we need about the story. Superman has been revealed as Clark. And this was revealed by Lois Lane.

But for me, I loved the tweets, a sort of commentary on the reactionary nature of social media. Seeing the negative tweets about Superman after his years of service rings true. 

After that, we see Lois heading to a motel where she has discovered Clark is hiding out.

Clark has gone to the mattresses. He is in hiding. He isn't working. And he seems angry. Lois wants to help but she is the reason all this is going on. And Clark wants no part of her, essentially slamming the door in her face.

I miss Lois. I miss her place in the DCU. I miss her having a prominent place in the Superman mythos. So this feels wrong.

I have to hope that somehow Yang and Greg Pak and DC Comics know what they are doing here. But that hasn't worked out too well for me recently.


Anonymous said...

"... probably lifted pages from the upcoming issue ...." I thought that was likely at first myself, but supposedly all the material in "Divergence" is original just for that book. Made it worth braving the mob at my LCS to pick it up.

Nobile said...

OK, I never really liked this NDCU stuff since the very start, for many reasons, but I'm not really sure all these more recent changes can really feel "wrong".

Unless you find "wrong" silver age DCU.

Think about it: Superman never experiencing human weaknesses or appreciating good food and drinks, enjoyng friendship in the JLA more than in Clark's everyday life. Being afraid and angry of being exposed, but not really caring about losing his Clark Kent persona. Being a jerk to Jimmy.
And Lois? Well, this storyline mostly shows what could have happened if the annoying Lois Lane of Weisinger's era had finally succeeded in exposing Superman's identity: a total mess and a very angry Superman. I agree, this is not the Byrne's Lois, or the Maggin's Lois, but it's the silver age Lois: making a mess and then being sorry.

And this is not the post-crisis Superman, an it's not the bronze-age Superman that Alan Moore and Grant Morrison celebrated, it is the pompous, overconfident Superman from silver age, using Clark to deceive people and to make fun of Lois, only, in a more serious context. A Superman that "did not need to breathe" and was happy with that.

So, do I like this Superman? Nope, but it IS Superman, and one that used to be very popular.

Jim Werner said...

I'm with you when it comes to Lois. I miss her being an important part of Superman's life...but not in this way. This just makes her a horrible person that didn't care who she hurt for yet another big story.

I thought that Yang's writing was rally good and I loved his dialogue between Superman and Jimmy. I was not a fan of the tweets, probably because it reminded me of how awful people really are!

I did think it was funny that Superman is trying to lay low and stay in hiding, yet he has his costume on under his hoodie! I also thought that this was the strongest bunch of pages Romita has drawn since coming to DC.

I'm now cautiously optamistic about the book come June.

Jay said...

I really think this could mean big things for Lois in the long run. I mean, okay, no romantic relationship, but that's obviously not the only role she can play. Fans just want a strong one for her. And I think this will herald a return to that. Yeah she'll be at odds with Clark for a while but the drama alone suggests a return to prominence in the books. And I highly doubt her motivation will be just to be a jerk. This incarnation of Lois probably just feels its her duty as a reporter to do it or something. Which differs from past incarnations yes, but I'm willing to give Yang a chance to show why this Lois felt it would be counter to her journalistic integrity to sit on this.

Anonymous said...

I was really looking forward to Yang coming on Superman, I enjoyed his work on Dark Horse's The Last Airbender trades. But this is a huge blow to my expectations even more so than the announcement of this news. Clark brooding and hiding, refusing help from Lois and Jimmy and venting noticeable frustration at Lois are all hallmarks of why I haven't connected with New 52 Superman at all.

Also big things for Lois doesn't mean good things for Lois. The Lois Lane fanbase is very annoyed with her role suffice to say and have vented their frustrations on Twitter, Tumblr and more. They're making their voices heard to DC, Yang and Pak, plus they set up an #UnbreakableLois hashtag too. I think they even went and asked real female journalists about this and have evidence that Lois' actions conflict with the Harm Limitation Principle, which is unethical and thus not what Lois would do.

I'm not part of that camp, even I have fallings out with the Lois groupies and I doubt their actions will change anything but honestly this is going to be yet another divisive, controversial and unstable status quo change for Superman and Lois right after Johns brought some stability. First time I'm dropping the New 52 Superman titles but I can't read my favourite comic character on the receiving end of more character assassination. That's not my cup of tea.


Martin Gray said...

I'm amazed that as a regular customer of your store you actually lose out in terms of loot, Anj. Two books per customer? Blimey. (Glad to see DC put the free Divergence book online for free today.)

I'm as tired of tweets as I am of recapping TV screens, but there you go, such is story shorthand.

Did you read that blurb at the front, I paraphrase but it spoke of 'Superman betrayed by the person he trusts most'? If only!

As for Lois being unbreakable, yeah, she is, she'll be back to a more palatable version eventually, so why the hysteria from some quarters? Thank goodness some Lois fans are, while expressing understandable dismay, keeping their upset in perspective.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Such interesting takes on Lois. I don't know if I agree with you Nobile, but it is food for thought.

I suppose this story could be some sort of redemption of the Clark/Lois relationship, a 'darkest before the dawn' moment.

And yes Mart, you would think I would have free reign on Free Comic Book Day given the business I give the store. But I also know I would hate to take the last Avengers free book if that could have been some tiny tot's first comic. So I (begrudgingly) accept the two limit.

In the past it has always been the DC one and Atomic Robo.

Anonymous said...

Chiming in late here because I'm catching up.

I always felt Silver age Lois was trying to expose Clark as Superman not to tell the public but to satisfy her own suspicions and also because her goal was to marry him and live happily ever after as a traditional 1950s housewife. Her motivation was personal and her intentions were not to expose him to the world.

What is going on here is beyond me.

I think DC has marginalized Lois since the reboot. After reading the interviews in the run up to Flashpoint I worried DC was trying to do to Lois what they did to Steve Trevor post crisis, and that is remove her role as a foundational character.

I personally don't think individual writers currently have that much input in to the direction. I think this has been publisher driven.

I don't know what is going on here and how they're going to resolve this. These actions seem out of character for every incarnation of Lois Lane.

I think Lois Lane deserves a lot better than how she's been treated by DC post Flashpoint.

I thought the best Lois Lane I've read in years was in the YA book Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond. I loved that book.

Finally, Convergence #5 was interesting with regards to how it relates to Lois Lane. I have no idea what it all means of course!

Anonymous said...

"I always felt Silver age Lois was trying to expose Clark as Superman not to tell the public but to satisfy her own suspicions and also because her goal was to marry him and live happily ever after as a traditional 1950s housewife. Her motivation was personal and her intentions were not to expose him to the world."

I agree. I remember a Silver Age story (I don't remember the issue, though) where Lois tells she would never expose his identity; she only wants to know.

And I don't agree either this Superman was the Silver Age Superman.