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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #210

Superman #210

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 27, 2004

Cover date: December 2004

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams

"For Tomorrow" - Part Seven

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Father Daniel reflects, and as he does, Superman appears, beckoning to him to jump off the building as a leap of faith if he wants Superman to cure his cancer.

He does, and Superman catches him, and turns into Equus, spearing him. Daniel wakes up from the nightmare.

Daniel washes up in the mirror, but he's bleeding from the mouth.

He goes for a walk and encounters Orr, who notices the blood on his mouth.

Orr starts talking cryptically about Superman and people he knows who will take care of Superman. He explains that he wants Daniel to be his confidant because he hears that the man listens well.

Wonder Woman, in the meanwhile, speaks with the woman who conjured the elementals last issue. Her name is Halcyon. She gives a sword to Wonder Woman to kill Superman with, and they speak of one Halcyon killed a long time ago that was like Superman.

Orr arrives, and starts making off-color jokes about the two ladies and their place, including relegating them to household cleaners and then turning them into the objects of bondage fantasy.

Wonder Woman is noticeably upset, as is Halcyon, and they posture at hurting Orr, but when Orr starts talking about the device, and something Superman is going to do with it (he doesn't say what), they back off.

Meanwhile, back in the present, Daniel and Orr continue talking, and Orr hits Daniel with a needle, implying that the injection will kill his pain.

Joker throws a woman off a building, and as Batman swoops in to catch her, Superman saves her first, as the police arrive and capture Joker.

Batman spars with Superman and complains, and they talk about the difference between Superman and Clark Kent. Superman leans on his Kal-El and Superman personas now, and tells Bruce that he's really Batman. In response, as Superman flies off, Batman takes off his mask to show that he's really Bruce.

Superman arrives at Daniel's, and Daniel asks if he can cure cancer. He says that he's never tried, and he won't.

Superman takes Daniel to the Fortress of Solitude.

Batman, meanwhile, realizes something, turns for Wonder Woman, who, in her invisible jet, has already arrived near the Fortress in full battle regalia, prepared to take on Superman, to stop him from doing, well, something. We don't know yet.

1Story - 1: It's rare that I just don't feel I can get through a comic without a break. I mean, they're ten minute babies, you read them, you enjoy it or not, budda bing.

Azzarello really pushes that with me.

Look, let's put it plainly.

It's been seven issues, and we've gone NOWHERE. Nowhere. We have had Superman whining to Daniel Leone about humanity for seven issues, with guest stars that spar with Supes and then fade to trade dialogue with other sub-par guest stars.

Now we have Batman and Wonder Woman, which has a certain glee and automatic response to it, but it doesn't take away the abominable continued story that is more words than any kind of action or plot, and more dialogue play than anything else.

And when that dialogue sucks, you're in for it.

Here's what it's taken Az 154 pages to get to: (A HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR PAGES.)

Lois has disappeared. Father Daniel, a priest, is dying of cancer, and he's talking to Superman about it. Superman is disillusioned with humanity because Lois disappeared, and he may or may not be doing something good or bad to the device which may or may not have caused Lois to disappear, which he secured by taking sides in a war. But now, he won't take a side with cancer, so Wonder Woman's going to beat him up. I think. And I don't know, because it's not very clear.

154 comic pages in 89 words, folks. That's just sad.

The pacing is abominably slow, the dialogue is like a husband and wife team attempting to be annoying (count the number of sentences started by one character and completed by another in this issue), and what they're doing with an artist such as Lee, making Superman stand with one knee up again and again while spouting rhetoric, it's just criminal. The one worthy Lee scene, the one with Batman and Joker, is over in two pages. AHHHHHHRRRRRRRRG!

Who the heck is Orr. We should have more of a conception.

Here's a realistic clue, Az. When people who know the hard lines of the plot talk in private, they don't talk cryptically so that the reader doesn't learn the secret. They say what they know. Like, Batman? He'd say, "Wonder Woman! Superman's destroying the sphere!" To which she'd reply, "I know. I'm already on my way to kick his butt. Girl power!"

And that was a joke, but it's serious, too. Think about it.

We come off of last issue which was essentially a rehash of the Millennium Giants, with the oh so NOT a cliche earth, wind, fire, air, and other assorted water demon stories. A story in which Superman threatens to kill the Earth. Goody.

And now he doesn't want to be known as Clark Kent, he's just Superman.

Now here's my major problem with this. Not that I can't perceive a world so gone that Superman feels this way. But the fact that Az and crew are asserting that this REALLY IS Superman's world, a year from now. And when we meet that world, Superman will somehow have to go to this extreme, and then back to the Superman we all know.

And get this. I don't believe the mainline Superman I know would ever give up on being Clark, because that's what he REALLY is, Kill Bill analogy aside. He's a man who likes to read and write and has a loving wife and an apartment and some Baldy Awards, a cat named Elroy, a crazed mother-in-law, and a billionaire coming after his wife.

Because he's invincible, he enjoys going out and helping people all the time, but when he's done, he comes home and changes clothes in dirty old phone booths to paraphrase a great song, and remains cautiously optimistic.

The man doesn't give up.

This is not my Superman.

This is not a Superman story.

This is a showboating name writer making his way on what he's good at, which is dialogue, but like Austen writing Spider-Man as Superman, it may sell a few comics, but it all comes down to what it really is.

Crap with a flowery bow.

I see right through it, and most of the fans who aren't fair-wheather (buying for the name, Lee or Az) do as well. And when Lee and Az go on to the next big project that offers them bucks and acclaim and easy circulation (like A-Rod and the Yankees, for example), we'll still have faith in our Ruckas, and Az will endure scorn.

And the title will falter.

There are two goals to comics, as I see it. Selling comics, and telling a good story.

This one sells comics.

Fair enough.

But as I said, I see right through it.

5Art - 5: For a man who has to deal with scripts like this, Lee is doing admirably. His characters still don't smile, and Batman is Superman minus a spit curl with the mask off, but he still draws incredibly well, it's just obvious. The scene with Joker and Batman makes me want to see Lee on Batman. Maybe they could get Loeb to write. That would be cool...

Joke. (Though it was a neat series)

I feel just agonized watching Lee have to write page after page of head turning left, then right, playing that game artists have to play when writers are too verbose and don't realize they're writing a picture medium where things are in constant motion.

He's still doing great work, but it's hindered by the story. I can't take from his rating, though.

2Cover Art - 2: Plus a point for being a dramatic pose, but this cover loses SO much for being nothing related to the issue at hand, awkward, and more than a bit out of place.

Themyscara? Wonder Woman tying up Superman?

About to kill him?

Wonder Woman was FOUR PAGES in this book.

It's an homage cover, I realize, looking at the "after" Lee puts in there, but I've never seen the original, and you only use the homage when it makes sense with the book. Remember "The Real Steel Deal!", and then when they used that cover for Bizarro? It was creative, you see, because it was a Bizarro issue. This, this Wonder Woman cover, it's nothing to do with this story.

But Neal, it might make sense next month, lighten up.


This is the FLAGSHIP. It needs more thought and editorial review than this. As does Action, which many would argue is the second hierarchal title.

Put Rucka on Superman, I say.

End this.

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