Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
Glen Weldon (Author)
A celebration of Superman's life and history - in time for his 75th birthday. How has the Big Blue Boy Scout stayed so popular for so long? How has he changed with the times, and what essential aspects of him have remained constant? This fascinating biography examines Superman as a cultural phenomenon through 75 years of action-packed adventures, from his early years as a social activist in circus tights to his growth into the internationally renowned demigod he is today.
Hardcover: 352 pages
"Superman: Unbound" Animated Movie
Superman battles Brainiac in order to save his home planet's city of Kandor which has been miniaturized on Brainiac's ship. Based on Geoff Johns' mini series.
Cover date: June 2003
Writter: Adisakdi Tantimedh
Penciller: Galen Showman
Inker: Galen Showman
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (email@example.com)
An Italian military man tests out a telephone line in front of the crowd, and is amazed by the results.
Lois Lane, a reporter, walks with Lex Luthor, a scientist, and asks him about the potential of the Age of Wonder.
Martha and Jonathan Kent walk the crowd, and Clark Kent arrives on scene, flying onto a field to the amazement of others with the torch of the statue of liberty. He explains his powers, and people marvel at his work. He tells Luthor he's looking to further science, and Luthor promises to introduce him to Edison.
Edison, later, is unimpressed by Clark until he uses heat vision and super-breath to form a light bulb. Later, Clark creates the perfect filament far faster than anyone else could have.
Luthor belittles Clark for not trying to make money, but Clark is all about helping humanity. A man named Nikola Tesla asks Clark to help him test an idea that Edison finds preposterous, AC current. Clark agrees, and Tesla shocks him. Because of this, Tesla is offered money to give the patent to Westinghouse...
Later, Lois is with Lex at Niagara Falls as Clark harnesses the power of a dam to create a Westinghouse hydroelectricity plant. The crowd gathers, and Lois is pushed off of the edge. Clark flies down and saves her, and the newspapers have a field day.
Clark goes home to see Ma and Pa Kent, and they tell him the truth...he is not human. He is shown the spaceship he came in.
Later, he shows an orb from the spaceship to his colleagues, and they see in Krypton a scientific Utopia. They agree to pursue it for the betterment of humanity to a raised glass.
A week later, Ted, a fellow scientist (looks suspiciously like T. O. Morrow) tests his gravity rod, which enables him to fly and shoot blasts of energy. He becomes Starman. After a successful test, he returns. He blasts Clark with his permission, and the blast goes awry, bouncing off and hitting a vial of chemicals. Barry, another scientist, suddenly has super-human speed...he is the Human Flash.
1893. Superman and Starman attempt to distribute cold lamps, lamps that burn bright without electricity, to a populace. When they run out, the populace riots, and Superman and Starman are humiliated.
Lex berates them later, telling them that science is about money. Clark leaves in fury, and Lois comes to his apartment later to comfort him. She kisses him, to his surprise, and leaves, suggesting a costume. Clark takes her advice.
1896. Clark is called to Lot 51 in Nevada. An alien has crash landed, and wants to give Clark a Green Lantern ring. Clark refuses, telling him that he has enough power, but Captain Jordan, nearby, a war veteran, is a true man of justice. The alien accedes and gives Jordan the ring. Green Lantern is born.
1900. Before a wall spray painted with THE GREEN ARROW LIVES, a fanatical group of religious zealots decry the League of Science. Meanwhile, Clark Kent addresses a gathered millennial crowd.
Later, he talks with Lois, who has refused Lex Luthor as a husband. Lois wishes to marry him. They are wed.
Time passes. Clark and the League of Science approach Lex Luthor's Zeppelin, only to find that everyone alive is dead, to their horror. They take Lex, whose hair is falling out, to safety. Lex screams as they blow up his Zeppelin, telling them that his radium research was on the ship.
Later, Clark and Lois visit Lex at a hospital, where Clark hears him talking about a radioactive death ray. Clark chastises him, and warns him not to continue.
The League of Science convenes to discuss their stance against weaponry, and Jordan defends his use of the power ring to help the United States win a war. After all, he IS a patriot. Luthor pulls Jordan aside as they agree to remain non-violent.
Bruce Wayne and his parents arrive at the League of Science, where Clark has promised Bruce a tour. A terrorist bomb blows up, killing the Waynes and sparing young Bruce.
Lois tells Clark about the Spartans, a group who threatened proceedings, and she gives him the address. He takes the League of Science to the address, where a man called The Green Arrow takes them all almost single handedly, telling them he will take care of the terrorists. He tells them that he was not responsible, but that they are irresponsible in playing God. He runs off before they can catch him.
Later, aboard his new Zeppelin, Lex tells Green Lantern that it is time.
Jordan finds Clark and asks to speak with him privately. Clark is on a rare date with Lois, but he agrees. They go up into space on the premise of talking about the new Watchtower they are building, but Green Lantern throws Clark out into the vacuum of space.
Later, the world mourns the death of the super man, and Lex knocks on Lois' door, trying to "console" her.
Story - 3: Usually Elseworlds have had innumerable problems of format. This one is not an exception. It has a lot to say, and it says it in X number of pages, so it seems rushed, not paced. I don't like feeling rushed through a story, especially one that will last for approximately 100 pages.
Also, ditch this general format, DC:
Issue One: We are introduced to all of the major characters, but in a new, exciting way they've never seen before.
Issue Two: Everyone meshes, and the good guys win.
Why can't we ever be thrown into a universe where everything already is the way it is, like with JLA: Destiny? Or The Dark Knight Returns? Or Kindgom Come? I hope to write an Elseworlds, soon, and I have a plot, but it doesn't involve eighteen new versions of old origins and a different time period. More on this as it develops, but the point is, this issue suffers, and I mean SUFFERS from introduction of character syndrome, made popular in a million Elseworlds before this one.
Why can't there just NOT be a Green Arrow in this JLA, or a Flash, or whatever. I don't know. It makes the period seem cheapened when they all suddenly have what we have now with no real consequences save a riot.
Luthor makes sense. Superman even makes sense. But what about the other characters? They make sense, if you're looking for a JLA tale, but the real intrigue here is Luthor, Supes, and Lois. If that's the case, why make this a JLA special and add 20 pages of origins for Starman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Flash, and the like?
At any rate, the idea is novel, but the execution is rushed long. I think when this world meshes it might make more sense, but as it stands now? We all know Superman is not dead, and we all know what will happen next. The league will turn on Luthor and Lantern in hopes of bringing idealism back, and since this is an Elseworlds, someone may die (OOOH), and then there will be resolution.
Question: How does one invest their self in a character that they know will disappear in one more issue? The flaw of Elseworlds.
Average for Elseworlds.
Art - 4: A little above average. A good Clark, a good Lex, a good Lois. A very distinctive Ted. Unfortunately, due to the writer (not really the artist's fault, necessarily), the art felt rushed and little bit like it needed to do too much in too little space.
Still, the colors are bright and vibrant, the characters get from A to B well and coherently, and it WAS better than typical. Above average.
Cover Art - 4: The art here is compelling, it has a dramatic pose, and it is well drawn. It depicts a hypothetical from the issue, and in this is it compelling and not deceptive, but it still suffers from not really being too appealing. It doesn't say, "Buy Me." And usually, I'm all for something being more based in the story than in pose, but in this case, the issue burdens my mind with its speed and its repetition, so the cover turns me off. Probably again the writer or the concept, but still, that keeps it from a 5 for me.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2003.