Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Review: Superman '78 #6

Superman '78 #6 came out last week marking the end of this mini-series and making me want a sequel immediately.

Writer Robert Venditti and artist Wilfredo Torres absolutely captured the feel, tone, and look of the Donner Superman universe. They gave us the Lois and Perry and Lex we know from those movies. And they also gave us Brainiac, a villain they made somewhat sympathetic.

But they main thing they did here was give us a Clark that was instantly recognizable. This is a Clark who won't give up, who understands goodness, and who inspires. If you want to give someone a book that epitomizes who Superman is and what he stands for, this is a pretty good book. 

Torres continues to shine, giving us great likenesses and fantastic action. The art definitely brings out the emotions these characters are feeling. In particular, the scenes with Lois just sing.

It all feels like it ended too quickly. How I would have loved 3 or 6 more issues of this team doing this Superman. Maybe this will sell well enough to get us a sequel. And while we are at it, maybe we can get a Supergirl '84 book too!

On to the specifics!

Last issue, Brainiac downloaded his consciousness into a battle-bot to take on Superman.

Throughout the fight, the two combatants talk about their different life experiences. 

To Brainiac, humanity has proven they cannot be trusted. He thinks they will ultimately wipe themselves out. He has to bottle a city to protect humanity's legacy.

Meanwhile. Superman keeps saying everyone deserves a second chance. He is talking forgiveness here. Something which will play out in a bit.

Brainiac plays the unfeeling, scientific robot but he actually is pretty emotional.

As the battle goes on, he becomes unhinged screaming how he lost everything.

Suddenly you see how Brainiac and Superman are two sides of the same coin. Superman lost everything and has thrived. Brainiac lost everything when his world was destroyed and he has gone bad, kidnapping and destroying civilizations himself.

But this raw emotion here, this sadness in Brainiac, makes him somewhat sympathetic. He is hurting.

Of all the panels and all the things Superman has said in this series that I love (and there have been many), this might be my favorite. 'The first two people I met took me in and loved me as their own. How could I net see good?'

That's just great stuff. 

The battle goes on until Superman overtaxes the battlesuit causing the ship's system to go critical.

Superman realizes that the most important thing in the ship are the cities. 

I think that is an interesting wrinkle, Superman being the holder of so many civilizations.

Meanwhile, Brainiac downloads himself into a new body. 

Unfortunately, as soon as he is functional, the ship overloads and explodes.

Great panel progression here, from determined to shocked, from colors to the red tint of the alert.

Just like that, Brainiac is dead.

But also means that Metropolis is now plummeting to Earth.

I talked about how great the characterization of these cast has been.

The Luthor of this book has been the epitome of what Gene Hackman gave us.

Here, afloat in his hot air balloon, he sees Metropolis falling to its doom. 

Given Hackman's Luthor's obsession with land hearing him quick about the real estate market crashing is just pitch perfect.

Of course, Superman is able to slow down the descent and gently place the city back in place.

I talked about the emption in this work, especially in the Lois scenes.

I loved these two panels. Lois just melts into Superman in that second panel, her hug just a bit tighter. She knows she nearly lost him in this Brainiac mess. She won't let go so easily from now on.

You could have shown one panel. 

But doubling down with two panels, just slightly different, it adds some time, some energy to that hug. Great storytelling.

There's nothing left but the wrap-up.

While Lois grabs the headline, this Clark has to pretend he was knocked out in his home.

Reeve's Clark was always almost too bumbling but he needed to explain his absence. 

The Daily Planet scenes were well done here.

And then the biggest change in this Superman's universe. Suddenly he has all the cities in his Fortress, including Kandor home of his birth parents. 

This strikes me a little Silver/Bronze age with Superman promising to find a way to enlarge Kandor. But this new dynamic with Superman inspiring his parents, giving them hope, is really great.

Okay, I have gushed enough here. Each scene, each interaction, each joke ... I have loved it all here. So thanks again to Venditti and Torres for bringing me back to this happy place and making me smile. This was a home run.

Overall grade: A+


William Ashley Vaughan said...

This was a worthy sequel to the Reeve Superman movies. Venditti and Torres captured the characterizations and the sensibility perfectly. It is a joy to see a bright, optimistic Superman in the classic style. Somewhere Siegel, Schuster, Boring, and Swan are looking down in approval. Here's hoping we get a sequel.

Anonymous said...

Ah The Hackman Luthor, the World's Most Fiendishly Gifted...Realtor. Count me in on a sequel to this mini, I think we can trust Venditti/Torres to get Helen Slater's Supergirl "voice" right when the time comes. At the very least we'll get that team up at last.
Hey I wonder what the sales figures were on this? Useful information I think.


Anonymous said...

Some sales figures:

#1 33,000
#2 26,000

That might have met expectations and hopes. That's better than lots of recent titles. #2 beat Aquaman The Becoming #1, JL Last Ride, Suicide Squad Annual, Batman Adventures Continue, Shazam, Checkmate, WW Black & Gold, JL Infinity, The Conjuring, Sensational WW, Crush & Lobo, Icon & Rocket, Mister Miracle, Pennyworth (11K!), RWBY/JL (10K!) and probably more.

Their numbers aren't available but I'm sure Task Force Z, Arkham City Order of the World, and Aquaman/Green Arrow are selling next to nothing.

DC continually publishes books that it's incredibly obvious are going to have poor sales.

Whether there might be a sequel to Superman '78 could depend on how well DC expects collections to sell.