Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Review: Superman Red And Blue #2

Superman Red and Blue #2 came out last week and overall was a better issue than the first issue of this mini-series. I know that is an awkward opening sentence for a review but I was basically let down by the first issue and worried that this mini-series wouldn't be a celebration of Superman but instead using our hero as a plot point to celebrate others.

That unfortunately continues in this book. We get a Ma Kent story. We get a Val-Zod story. We get a Lex Luthor story. And we get a story about Ava, the sweet heroic school girl. And we get a Cyborg Superman story. Of these, Superman is really only involved in the last two. And of those, he really only uses his powers in the last one.

These are all fine stories. They all have something to say. And they all give us their message very nicely. Unlike last issue, this doesn't feel like every story has an important social message to tell that a tangential Superman story is bolted on. But this felt more like a Superman family book than a Superman book and that isn't what I am hoping to get out of a six dollar prestige book titled Superman Red and Blue. 

Maybe the Bolland cover alone is worth the price. Love it!

On to the particulars.

The first story called 'Own' is by Steven Seagle with art by Duncan Rouleau. Solid team.

Ma Kent is needled by some Smallville women that maybe she doesn't care about adopted Clark as much as birth mothers feel for their children.

Ma quietly talks about motherly feelings about children, adopted or not, and how she is Clark's mother. Of course, when she talks about hoping her kid is safe, happy, well fed and rested, we see cut scenes of Superman action. It is a nice way to convey that she might be even more worried.

From a continuity point of view, I was unsure if Clark is known to be adopted in the current world. Of course, this being out of continuity it probably doesn't matter.

But this felt like a 'adoptive parents ARE parents' story and that is fine.

The next story, 'Into the Ghost Town' by Chuck Brown and Denys Cowan, is the most action packed as Val-Zod and an anthropomorphic suit wearing Krypto beat down Prometheus.

 Our one action-packed story isn't even a Superman one.

Fun story with great art. I always like Cowan's work. And bone shaped word balloons for Krypto is genius.

Dan Panosian gives the best story of the bunch I would say.

'Patience' shows Lex Luthor contemplating how to use a chunk of Red Kryptonite which he has adapted to have a specific mutation. It will make Superman powerless.

But then we see him go mentally go through all the ways he could try to employ the Red K and how in each one Superman defeats him.

In the end, he puts the Red K into a warehouse filled with other presumed doomsday devices.

I love that Superman is so much in Lex's head that the battles never even happen. 

This is a Lex story not a Superman story. But it is a great story.

Then a sweet story, 'My Best Friend Superman',  by Stephanie Phillips and Marley Zarcone.

A young girl named Ava helps clear the street of bystanders while Superman battles a robot. When she claims she is Superman's friend, she is belittled by her classmates ... until he shows up, that is.

Love that he gives her his cape. Love the 'actions make you a hero, not powers' line. And love the breezy art by Zarcone who I haven't seen since Shade the Changing Girl.

It is a very lovely story and the pastel sort of reds and blues add that touch.

But again, this isn't really a Superman story.

Lastly 'S is For Cyborg' by Jason Howard.

In it, the Cyborg Superman says that he is now the model for the new Superman. He alone is worthy of wearing the S-shield.

Superman thwarts the Cyborg's plan all while talking about why the Cyborg isn't worthy. In the end it is simple. The Cyborg is selfish. Superman is selfless. 

This at least felt like a true Superman story even if the driver of the plot was the Cyborg. But great art and action lifted this.

This was a decent chunk of stories revolving around Superman with a nice array of talent. And it felt a little more like a Superman book.

Overall grade: B-


1 comment:

Steve said...

I just couldn't get into the first issue's color scheme so I won't be back unless you and Martin intrigue me.