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
Cover date: December 2008
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Dale Eaglesham
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Earth-2 Sequence: Jerry Ordway & Bob Wiacek
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Mr. Terrific, Alan Scott, Stargirl, and Starman come through the portal. They meet Michael Holt, the Mr. Terrific of Earth-2.
As Starman explains the map of the multiverse, Mrs. Holt appears, jarring the Mr. Terrific of Earth-2.
The heroes of Earth-2 interrogate Power Girl with Kryptonite, forcing her to defend herself by escaping and attacking her former friends. She convinces them that she honestly doesn't know what's going on, hearing the Earth-2 Power Girl explain that she's searched for the Earth-2 Superman for years.
Brainwave incapacitates the Power Girl of New Earth as the Justice Society of New Earth arrives, pleading with them to free her. Brainwave indicates that the Power Girl present actually has the same brain patterns as the Earth-2 Power Girl, diverging only when Power Girl was appropriated for New Earth, suggesting that a Kal-L may still be alive.
Starman tells the Earth-2 heroes about the Infinite Crisis and the Crisis, explaining the new continuity, essentially. Starman uses his suit, which he realizes is actually a functional map of the multiverse, and returns them home.
Starman hints that one day the Justice Society Infinity (the JSA of Earth-2) will help Power Girl in ways she can't imagine.
Alan Scott and Mr. Terrific wonder to themselves if Gog can't bring back Jade and Mr. Terrific's wife.
Story - 5: Though this story systematically deviates from the focus of the last few issues, and though it would be very easy to criticize it in the wake of the cruelty of the Earth-2 (gee golly) heroes, this issue nevertheless shines and improves upon the story before it, though I'm not sure how it could have, given how awesome the series has been so far. It's rare I can go twenty issues without any major complaints beyond too many characters, and it's even rarer that that criticism is then later blown out of the water by a strong purpose for that previous "flaw."
Power Girl's homeworld is a place that reflects New Earth, and it does it in a way that an alternate Earth should. In ways that challenge the characters in a way that befits their character. Ever since 52 re-established the multiverse I've only seen that happen twice. Once with the Tangent series, and once here. If I see more of it, I might be inclined to say that restoring the multiverse was a good idea.
Seeing Mr. Terrific see his wife (I'm presuming she's dead) was a tragic thing even though I had NO idea of the context. I'm gonna go look it up, but man, it's really, really strong here. And Jade, I was equally impacted, knowing the context.
Even though Gog is skirted, it's still a concept set up by the fact that now the heroes have yet another reason to trust in Gog, a concept that's tearing the JSA apart.
It's funny, I get flak when I repeatedly bash something, but here, JSA is a book that I can consistently say good things about. I hardly ever get too many comments, and people don't seem to get as passionate as they should about how truly good this book is. I don't know how the hell this team book is not in the top ten when New Avengers is. Not to knock New Avengers, just saying, this book is its equal clearly, at very least.
Art - 3 (Ordway): As much as I like Ordway at times, it's a very much older style, and a lot of things look like I remember art in the 90s. It's greatly detailed, but there isn't anything that just really stands out for me.
Art - 5 (Eaglesham): With Eaglesham, I find little character details in everything. Look at the way Power Girl is slumping in her second page appearance. That alone is enough to five this. There's so much of what she's experiencing explained in that cantered walk alone. Fine work.
Cover Art (Ross) - 5: It's beautiful, it avoids that odd light source stuff he's been doing lately, and it's brilliantly colored and posed. The only complaint I have is:
Power Girl: "Robin, what are you doing in space without a helmet?"
Robin: "Well, I wanted to...." PLOOOOOMPT! (and other head explodey sounds)
Gog: "Well, #%@%!"
Cover Art (Eaglesham) - 4: A bit rough around the edges, but still quite a dynamic pose, it represents something that happens in the issue, and is a strong piece.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.