Friday, December 22, 2017

Review: Superman #37 [REVISED]

Superman #37 came out this week, the first part of a crossover arc titled Super Sons of Tomorrow and involving a time displaced Tim Drake trying to stop a future disaster in the present. And while the premise is interesting to me, mostly because of other characters promised to appear later on, I wasn't exactly hooked by this first issue.

That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I did. But I always hope a first chapter is really going to set the table and leave me clamoring for more. And my response here was a bit more tepid.

For one, the first half of the book is really a Batman book. And the book is Superman. I know, this is the first half of the first part of a story that will crossover into multiple titles. And the opening scene is important for the set-up. But still ...

Next, I'm not quite sure about some of the characterization as portrayed in the issue. Is Batman still the paranoid plotter with secret anti-hero plans? Did that change? Is Superman really the sort of person to say he is going to teach a 'lesson in pain' while having angry red eyes?

But lastly, I just read a story in Detective of a time displaced Tim Drake trying to stop a future disaster by manipulating the present. Did the two offices know about the similar plots? At least it is mentioned here.

The art is done by Jorge Jimenez who brings the usual slick style I love. His action sequences flow well. No complaints there.

On to the book.

The opening sequence has future Tim, in his Batman costume, breaking into Wayne Manor and fighting Bruce. Throughout the fight, we hear that this is just like that Detective plot. Who is Tim trying to stop this time?

It is quite a brawl ... ten pages worth of a fight. That is half of Superman's book!

Another thing that felt just a touch off about this was the more brawling style of the fight. These are two of the best martial artists in the DCU and they are using fruit bowls and toothbrush cups as weapons ... and having those blows land.

It is a brutal fight scene. And in that way, it reminded me a little of the Comedian/Ozymandias fight which opens Watchmen in its savagery. But just was a little inelegant.

In the end, Tim uses a gun (presumably a tranq gun) to drop Batman and get into the cave. And there we see that Batman still has suitcases with plans to eliminate other heroes. Is this still in continuity? I guess so.

Also, if this was the goal, couldn't this Tim just wait until Batman was out of the house and slip in and take it as opposed to initiating this brawl?

Okay Anj ... time to move on.

We finally get to see Superman in his own book.

In the fortress, we see him rebuilding the Kent ice sculptures which were recently destroyed. I am definitely happy that this is happening. For one, the Kents raised him. They should be honored. And after the recent Mr. Oz debacle, Jonathan and Martha should be held in even higher regard.

I can't help but see Superman saying 'he was a man of infinite jest'.

Tim breaks into the Fortress and starts a fight with Superman, guns blazing.

Superman shrugs off the opening attack, recognizes this Batman as an older Tim (he had been informed by Batman of the prior plot), and asks what is going on.

Again Tim says he needs to stop something terrible. And he doesn't want to kill Superman because Superman is still doing good. Perhaps this is a bit of hubris by Tim, thinking he could so easily dispatch Superman?

After a smoke bomb distraction, Tim hops into the ever-present, always charged Kryptonian battle armor. It is here that Superman gives the 'lesson in pain' line.

Finally something is uttered that really grabbed my attention. Tim says that Conner taught him Kryptonian so he could control this thing.


Ah, but which conner? The straight up evil clone from the early New 52, the one the angry Supergirl called 'it' and 'abomination'? Or the Superman/Lex clone from pre-Flashpoint? I have to assume the latter. And that is very interesting ...

The fight spills out into the tundra where Tim springs his trap (or rather Batman's trap). He captures Superman in a red Kryptonite energy cage which weakens Superman. (I'd much rather it be red sun than red K. Doesn't red K still cause weird things to happen?)

Hat tip to blog friend Mart Gray (of the Too Dangerous For a Girl blog) who asked Tomasi on Twitter. Turns out it was supposed to be red sun!

And then we finally hear Tim's ultimate goal. To kill Superboy, Jon Kent.

Nice cliffhanger. Lovely art. And Conner?!?

I suppose that should be enough to whet my appetite. Maybe I am just in a Grinch-y mood as the holidays approach? But it didn't grab me as much as I hoped.

Overall grade: C+


Martin Gray said...

I hated this, where was Supergirl, DC hate her ...


I liked this more than you. That long Batman opening struck me too but as I enjoyed it, I shall just go with it (I try to No Prize it over at my own review).

Was New 52 Superboy ever actually called 'Conner'? I think maybe he never made it that far. Anyway, you'll have read Super Sons #11 by now and will know.

On the one hand, I shall always hate Batman having plans to take down his friends. On the other, how many times do evil duplicates turn up? Consider them anti-Earth 3 weapons, for example, and it's another thing entirely.

I think you're onto something, Tomasi and Gleason HAVE to have meant Red Sun rather than Red K... shall we tweet them? I shall tweet them, see if it can be fixed in a digital update/for the trade.

Great review!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this issue. I don't mind other characters hogging in on an issue. It's required to make an interesting arc since DC doesn't really have any shared comics for the main continuity.

I did rub my eyes at the Red K several times. I have to believe that there is some thought to it. Maybe Red K from Tim Drakes timeline works differently. It would be funny as hell if it was like that and his plot fails miserably as Superman turns to an asshole and chucks him to the moon. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised core mythos mistakes about the maybe most famous superhero in the world can be made and slip through every checkpoint. Cool of them to fix it in the trade though.

Leaves some hope that the whole Action Comics Supergirl debacle is a mistake too and that the lore knowledge isn't up to par at DC at the moment.

Thay said...

I did not like this issue and the arrogance is normal among people who face Superman even though they have no motive for it.

Conner will eventually come back, it's only a matter of time before that happens.