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Superman/Thundercats #1a

Superman/Thundercats #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 19, 2003

Cover date: January 2004

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Ale Garza
Inker: Trevor Scott

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Superman/Thundercats #1b The story opens with a page introducing you to the characters of the two Universes... the Thundercats, Superman, and Mumm-Ra, the Ever-living.

On Thundera, Mumm-Ra begins to use the recently discovered orbs of Barrack, which allow you to go to anywhere on Thundera, to infiltrate the Thundercats.

As he prepares to do so, a bald, scantily clad woman, Lantana Lin, apparates in Mumm-Ra's chamber, telling him that he can use to orbs to secure a second Eye of Thundera in another dimension in the city of Metropolis.

Nupil, one of the beasts Mumm-Ra used as a slave in one of the earlier episodes of the Thundercats (Reviewer's Note: I forget the names of the species, I think it's the Brute Men... Mumm-Ra controlled them, and then Lion-O released them to turn on the evil Mutants... if you've seen the show you'll know the episode) spies on the meeting and tells the Thundercats, who decide to ride out at dawn and stop Mumm-Ra.

In Metropolis, Clark and Lois attend a tour of a Museum for the Daily Planet. Lois whines about having to do the story as punishment for not covering a teeny-bopper.

Clark sees the Eye of Thundera and is interested.

As the Mutants prepare to enter the dimensional gateway, the Thundercats attack.

Lion-O slams into the dimensional gateway with the Sword of Omens, but somehow the Mutants manage to get through anyway, pulling the Thundercats along for the ride.

On the streets of Metropolis, Lion-O appears in front of a kid playing with a Thundercat/Masters of the Universe hybrid figure. The kid is saying, "Thunder, thunder, thunder-" when Lion-O appears.

The people on the streets react with fear to the Thundercats, because they cannot understand their language. The Mutants, invisible by virtue of kryptonite necklaces they wear, attempt to escape.The Thundercats give chase, and the police arrive to deal with the Thundercats.

Cheetara attacks Monkian, and Monkian dodges, causing her to take a car apart. Superman stops her, thinking she was attacking the car.

Lion-O, seeing Superman grab Cheetara, attacks, slashing Superman in the chest. Superman falls back in pain, his suit torn in the chest, realizing that Lion-O's sword is magic-based. Superman feels like he' s been hit with Kryptonite.

Superman takes out Panthro with one punch, throws Lion-O into the ground, and tosses Tygra into a nearby building. The Thunderkittens attack and Superman tosses them with ease.

Snarf uses the Clarifying Staff of Knowledge to translate their language, and the battling heroes realize what is happening and stop fighting.

Meanwhile, the Mutants head for the Eye of Thundera. Vultureman grabs it, but the Thundercats and Superman arrive to take it back. The Thundercats take the Kryptonite amulets and Superman takes back the Eye of Thundera.

Mumm-Ra, now upset, transforms into his fighting form and attacks Superman. Superman fends him off, but Mumm-Ra starts to get the upper hand. Lion-O and the Thundercats step in and take him down, along with the Mutants. Lion-O knocks them back into the gateway, which is now nearby and open, and the Thundercats follow.

Superman explains what has happened to Lois, and Mumm-Ra arrives home to find that the orbs have been stolen by Lantana, who reveals herself to by Mxyzptlk before disappearing.

Superman goes with Lois to the Fortress of Solitude and places the Eye of Thundera safely in a display case.

2Story - 2: I'm torn about this. I mean, I looked forward to this issue a great deal, loving the heck out of both the Thundercats AND Superman, but all in all, I was disappointed.

What do YOU think would make a good Superman/Thundercats crossover? Well, you can't expect continuity or a well fleshed out plot. It would be a nice thing, but hardly possible. Look at JLA/Avengers. It's got a DECENT plot, but you're taking two Universes and combining them. It causes problems. Like having to explain too much or create an overly elaborate plot. (Avengers). Or, in this case, an overly simple plot.

The hardest part about this is that it tried so hard to deliver. Mumm-Ra vs. Superman? Check. Superman vs. The Thundercats? Check. Major players from both universes? Check. But it just came off, well, badly.

Superman dispatches Panthro with a punch. Lion-O with a slam. Mumm-Ra by making Lion-O do his dirty work. And nothing ever felt tense.

I read the Thundercats comics regularly, and they're one of my favorites, because they're constantly imperiling the Thundercats. And I don' t mean Mumm-Ra has a new gun imperiling, meaning in one issue they advance the story ten years, lose Thundera to Mumm-Ra, and have a Thundercat change sides.

I would hope Superman issues, the regular ones, could take a piece of this and run with it. That's how impressed I am with the regular Thundercats work. It's tongue in cheek at times, but never horribly. For instance, they rubbed out the Ro-Bear Berbils in the most recent series, and though it was funny (like slaughtering Ewoks) it made sense, because it's what the despot taking over Thundera would have done.

Here we have something that is certainly continuity altering, but it's treated lightly then thrown away. Anyone else notice how BIG a deal it would be if there was a second Eye of Thundera? How MUCH Lion-O would strive to get back to it? Here it's not even noted, and it will never be noted again, obviously.

The kid playing with the Lion-O was a bit much and anachronistic (if that's the proper word... it's really more across universes than times). The Mutants had Kryptonite amulets... okay. That's probably Mxyzptlk's doing. But why does the Sword of Omens contain Kryptonite? What?

And Lois, though this has become standard, is the word that rhymes with ditch and has female canine connotation. I hate that. I HATE IT!


Characterizers... learn the difference between "determined" and "agonizingly antagonistic". Because I want to date a determined woman, not an agonizingly antagonistic one, and the reason we all like Lois so much is she's supposed to be our everywoman vicariously, get it? So we're supposed to LIKE her, not hate her. And I'd hate anyone as cruel and whiny as she's portrayed, even in crossovers now.

It serves up Cats. It serves up Supes. It even serves up some good Ra and Ptlk. But it never really feels tense or consequential, and the problem is not the writing (the dialogue was just fine) but the plot. It's agonizingly simple and lame.

I have a better one, right off the top of my head. At the Fortress, Superman is looking through Phantom Zone anomalies when he sees a portal to Thundera. Mumm-Ra is standing Triumphantly over Lion-O, about to kill him, and Superman can't simply stand by and watch... he jumps in and saves Lion-O. In the process, Mumm-Ra uses his magic to overpower Superman and then uses his magic (to which Superman is vulnerable) to make Superman his slave. He then sends Superman after the Thundercats, hard-core, and the fight only ends when Mxyzptlk, on the way through Dimensions, sees his nemesis near death. He fabricates some Kryptonite, which snaps Superman out of it, then Superman goes home with Mxy (likely to spar) and Lion-O commences his battle against the forces of Mumm-Ra.

Now the Mxy part is a bit coincidental, but hey, isn't that plot better than the one to this comic? And that's without any elaboration, revision, or study.

So I give it a 2, even though there were enjoyable parts to this story.

5Art - 5: Like the art. The art is superb... generally speaking, Thundercats hold their artists to a far higher standard than the Superman artists, save McG (who does Thundercats at times), Ferry, and Zezelj (before they took him off or he left Metropolis).

The pacing is bad (writer's fault, largely, things taking more time than they need) but the panels are crazy fanatical and organic. The attacks are spectacular, the colors are vivid, and Superman is pretty darned in character even with the Thundercats nearby, and that's hard to do.

GREAT stuff.

4Cover Art - 4: There are two covers. The one I bought is the one with the Thundercats standing on Thundera with Superman, which is why I gave it a 4. Superman was never there. That, and the color of the background is a bit TOO red, but otherwise, the poses are cool and dynamic, nobody looks like they' re trying to evacuate, and the logos rock.

The Ed McG cover gets a 5. It's dynamic, it takes place in the issue (Superman and Lion-O fight side-by-side in Metropolis), and it's got the cool Ed characterizations we've come to know and love. Fantastic, just like the interior art.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

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