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Cover date: March 2008
"Kryptonite: Book Six"
Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Penciller: Tim Sale
Inker: Tim Sale
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
While Superman dies in front of the Kryptonite, Gallo awakens, telling the goons to kill everyone in the room, including Lois, Lex, and Jimmy.
The creature from inside the Kryptonite leads Superman through his homeworld, tells of Jor-El's pleas to save Krypton, and explains that he's part of a scientific race that observes, but does not interfere.
Tony Gallo, apparently nuts, takes two guns and commits suicide. Jimmy takes his guns, and forces Luthor out before he can murder Superman, Lois, and Jimmy.
The creature explains to Superman that he was watching Krypton when the rocket came out from the planet, and when he tried to dimensionally shift out of the way, he was encased in a piece of Kryptonite.
Superman returns to his body, and takes Bridgewater, the alien observer, and the Kryptonite, while wearing a lead suit, towards the sun, releasing Bridgewater and nearly ending his own life.
Superman speaks with his parents about what makes him human, then goes on a date with Lois to show it.
Story - 1:
All these great ideas, all that masterful characterization, and then... this.
It's not the time, though God knows I spent a good deal of it reacquainting myself with what the heck was going on here after some six months.
It's not the art, the art was just fine.
It's... what on earth just happened in this book?
First off, they reaffirm what we already knew (or at least, I think we already knew) that Gallo was subsumed by the alien entity. Dur, right? I mean, that was established a bit back, right?
Then we're supposed to swallow that this creature, who can leave a solid rock and subsume a human, wants freedom, but doesn't have it? A creature that can supposedly dimensionally shift? Unless, I dunno, harnessed within ROCK. Because, you know, he can phase IN to the rock, but can't phase out. And has the ability to phase, but not the technology or adaptation to avoid phasing into solid objects. And can phase into a solid object in THE VACCUUM OF SPACE where he can breathe, but can't bust his way out, despite being able to SURVIVE A TRIP INTO THE SUN.
The whole basis of the creature, Bridgewater (Gag, what an awful name for an alien), is that he's an OBSERVER. The DC Watcher, if you will. He NEVER INTERFERES! He sat by coldly and watched as the entirety of Krypton explodes! And that's fine by him, because he's a race of little emotion.
But a small-time mobster killing a few people, well... HOO BOY! STOP THE PRESSES! Gotta take over that guy and try and work some good!
It'd be different if it was played like Bridgewater was trying to make up for not saving Krypton, but it wasn't.
And I swear to Rao if I see ONE MORE RETELLING OF THE ORIGIN STORY in the next FIVE %*#$@#$ YEARS, I will stop reading whoever wrote it forever.
ENOUGH OF THE SUPERMAN ORIGIN. TELL YOUR OWN STORY. Or don't expect me to read it. It's NOT more creative when you do it, I don't care HOW many twists on contemporary continuity you make. It's pandering, and it's ridiculous.
Superman has to get a being that can dimensionally shift out of a rock, because he can't dimensionally shift. He's vulnerable to Kryptonite, and lead melts when exposed to THE FRICKIN' SUN.
The problem, as I understand it, is that this rock needs to be busted up, but is, I'm guessing, near invulnerable because it's Kryptonian? That's the only reason I could think of to have Superman push it into the sun.
But wouldn't the sun then STRENGTHEN it? Why not have another hero fly it into the sun? Or direct it there with rockets? Or throw it in from a distance?
Not as dramatic, one would suppose, but the whole scene, instead of thinking, "How noble!" I'm thinking "What the hell?"
The ending, the last four pages, with Lois, with Ma and Pa, it's brilliant. It's the work that the last five issues began. I loved it. But putting it next to such awful crap makes it suck, because you realize what this ending could have been, and how wonderful the series was until now, and it makes you want to gag, realizing you waited six months for this.
Arbitrary continuity restructuring for no apparent reason complaint here. I won't even go into specifics, you either know or you don't by now.
Gallo kills himself after coming back and demanding that people kill the people around him. Sane, then insane. Inconsistent, and odd. Like this finale.
Art - 5: Still a huge fan of Tim's work, and enjoying the heck out of these pages. For all the weirdness the story has, the art doesn't suffer for it, and even if I have no idea why Superman is going into the sun, I don't complain at seeing it.
Cover Art - 3: Decent poses by Sale, but the page is undermined by a garish color scheme and the fact that you're sitting there, going, "Hey, these guys were never even remotely hostile to one another, this cover makes no sense."
Beyond that, to emphasize the fact that continuity is muddled, we're reading a story that isn't in continuity that tells an origin with no continuation anticipated that tries to rather casually still hold the continuity-beholden reader with a subtle "COUNTDOWN 15!" in the corner.
Problem being, Countdown FOURTEEN came out this week, because this book is six months and then one week late. The delay was delayed just ONE MORE WEEK.
Way to respect the people who handed out hard earned cash for this book, guys. You've totally lost my respect with this lackluster conclusion.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.