Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book of the Week 8/13/08 Action Comics #868

Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Gary Frank
Inks by Jon Sibal
Colors by Brad Anderson

Look to the sky...

I, like many others out there, have always preferred other icons such as Batman over Superman. I always felt that Superman wasn't totally relatable. That's not to say I didn't believe in Superman as an icon and inspiration. I just felt that writers tended to tell better stories with other characters. With the exception of a few trades and story arcs (Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow) I just couldn't find an ongoing series that I felt did service to Big Blue. Kingdom Come, New Frontier, and the JLA seemed to be where Superman belonged, among the company of other brightly clad demigods, not on his own handling a man who played with large toys and an imp with the voice of Gilbert Gottfried (points for those in the know). I'm happy to admit that I have finally been proven wrong.

We live in a Superman renaissance right now with Action Comics and Superman getting major attention and overhauls. Geoff Johns has, like he's done for so many other titles, made Superman relevant to his own world. It's redundant to go on about boiling Superman down to his roots or how Johns has a knack for bringing a magic to the characters he writes so I won't go on and on about it. We all know it. What I personally like about our recent version of Supes is he's brimming with personality. When he's written in stories like Kingdom Come, while I look up to him, I'm also a little wary of him. In this book, the comment I made earlier about relatability goes out the window (other than the alien stuff). His interactions and motivations are clearly displayed and fit much better than what I've seen before.

Another key to a good Superman story is a good villain. Other than Lex Luthor, Brainiac has always been a very threatening presence in these books. In Action Comics, he's down right chilling. As we now know, we've never truly seen the real Brainiac until today. While his ship reeked of the matrix, the idea of what our villain does is terrifying. Also, we now have a Brainiac that isn't destroyed with a few super punches. HE'S A BIG SCARY DUDE! The hint at his hand in the destruction of Krypton left with an "OHHHH S***" moment.

Gary Franks art is perfect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it! I have gravitated more and more towards realistic art as I've grown older with one of my favorite artists being Rags Morales. Frank comes from the same school in that his characters are realistically proportioned and where real clothes, not garments applied by spray-paint. This is very apparent in the way Kara is depicted in this issue. Standing next to Cat, its nice to see Kara not displayed as over developed jail bait. Also, Brainiac is terrifying. The cold, dead gaze in his eyes makes me almost hear a monotone dead voice emanating from him. The site of his ship showing up over Metropolis sent chills down my spine and I was left with the same emotion as the rest of the citizens, wondering "where's Superman?"

I haven't bought a Superman monthly since the early 90s and I'm so happy to have the most iconic hero finally get the respect he deserves in the title that started all of this. "They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you… my only son. " Go get em big guy!

No comments: