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Superman Unchained 2015 Wall Calendar
12 full-color images. Includes 4 extra planning grids for September through December of 2014, plus full pages for January through December of 2015.
Cover date: December 2003
Writer: Mike McAvennie
Penciller: Kevin Maguire, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Jerry Ordway, etal.
Inker: Tom McCraw (except where noted)
Reviewed by: Barry Freiman (email@example.com)
Story - 2: As with issue one, there isn't a lot that directly affects Superman fans in this issue. There's a bit more of the Man of Steel's image than in issue 1 as he is seen in the really grand drawing of the "Satellite Era" Justice League and a few others as well. On those gallery pages, the text accompanying usually mentions Superman, but beyond that, if you like Superman in particular, the letter "S" gets covered in the last issue. Too bad Earthlings don't read Kryptonian; after all, it isn't really "S", it's Kryptonian for "El".
Unless I'm mistaken, this is the first time that these different Justice League "eras" have been referred to as such as a complete time-line. The use of "Satellite Era" as the term to refer to that jumbo League living in a satellite 22,300 miles above the Earth brings this older fan back to simpler days right before the DC Implosion of 1978 and 1979 hit the industry. And, given that Superman is one of the "Magnificent 7" (essentially the Grant Morrison run that reinvigorated the Justice League), there's a little more to like as a Superman fan in this issue than just the 2-page ad for Smallville that graced the pages of the first issue.
It is somewhat disheartening that Brainiac failed to merit a page in the last issue given the League and Supergirl and Superman prevented his "Panic from the Sky" in the pages of Superman's books in the 1990's. If Lex isn't covered in issue 3 (and Mxyzptlk!), I'll smell conspiracy.
Art - 3: Again, the art in these gallery books is wildly inconsistent. Jose Luis Garcia Lopez renders an absolutely beautiful Hawkman in a powerful pose. While another artist might have been tempted to draw Hawkman in flight, Garcia Lopez captures the essence of the character with Hawkman's feet firmly planted on the ground. Too bad the same can't be said for the stereotypical flying heroine with the birds passing by drawing done by Sal Velluto and Bob Almond on Hawkwoman (whose inclusion given Hawkgirl's popularity on the Justice League cartoon and in the JSA comic book is somewhat confusing since Hawkwoman is an altogether different character).
My favorite drawing in the entire issue - and what a wonderful full-sized poster it would make - is Jerry Ordway's incredibly faithful rendition of the Justice League of the 1970's and 1980's: the "Satellite Era" team. Every hero just pops off the page in that drawing and he manages to evoke the art from the Justice League title at that time and succeeds quite well.
My least favorite drawing would have to be the JLA (Year One) by Michael Avon Oeming and color by Tom Smith. The drawing is done in an abstract, almost, but not quite the animated style and, while I don't recall who drew the JLA: Year One miniseries, the art in that series was more realistic to reflect the story that tried to bring a sense of sophistication to the Silver Age League's formation in a post-Crisis DC Universe. The point of JLA (Year One) was to create a realistic Silver Age retroactively and this drawing doesn't reflect that nor does it even reflect the animated League.
Cover Art - 5: While I still think Phil Jimenez needs to look for his own voice as an artist and not emulate George Perez so slavishly, I adore Perez's realistic style and Jimenez's art is similarly impressive. As a creative type, I think Jimenez needs to take more chances with his art beyond being Diet George Perez (and the same goes for Jimenez's writing, which was sub-par during his run on Wonder Woman).
Notwithstanding that, two heroes literally jump out at you on this second cover of the three cover triptych: Superman and Captain Marvel. Maybe it's because they sued each other, maybe because they are likely the two most powerful males in the DC Universe, maybe because they have two of the coolest costumes in all comics; it's always fun to see Superman and the Big Red Cheese together.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2003.