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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: September 3, 2008
Main Story: "So What Now?"
Main Story Writer: Kurt Busiek
Main Story Penciller: Mark Bagley
Main Story Inker: Art Thibert
Back-Up Story: "Let the Burning Begin"
Back-Up Writers: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Pencillers: Tom Derenick
Back-Up Inker: Wayne Faucher
Ray Palmer says he can't find a way to send everyone home, but John Stewart's new robo-powers allow him to interface with CSA machinery and do just that, followed by more discussion of what a Trinity is and how Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are all acting like each other, which Vixen says is a threat.
All the slaves get sent back to their respective planets when Enigma interferes, but not before one of Despero's goons burns a symbol into Superman's forehead. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman say "I feel" and the story ends.
To be continued...
The heroes attack Sun-Chained-in-Ink but he has the powers of a sun and increases gravity and shoots solar winds (or something) to stop them. Hawkman attack Primat, grabs Max Lord's coffin, and slams it into Sun-Chained-in-Ink, which does nothing.
Oracle says he's powerful enough to vaporize the planet, and then he does... something to stop Hawkman. Metamorpho turns into a spehere and Geo-Force reduces his gravity and takes him up through the atmosphere. He falls once he can't breathe anymore, and Supergirl throws spehere-Metamorpho out into space where Sun-Chained-Ink explodes, but everyone survives for some reason.
Meanwhile, TVM has escaped with Max Lord's skull. Hawkman feels guilty and Batman calls all of the heroes back.
To be continued...
Main Story - 1: So if the Anti-Matter earth was always hell for its inhabitants, how can you tell the difference now that it's rioting and the populace is killing each other now that the CSA is gone? Hasn't it always been like that?
The whole of this just doesn't really make any sense.
The only thing of possible significance that happens in this issue is that Enigma runs in and... activates the device that Green Lantern, Firestorm, and Atom were about to activate anyway. Yes, they've upset the balance and he wants them gone... but they were already planning to leave, so what did he do that wasn't already going to be done anyway?
Enigma's question mark staff also can now apparently fire energy beams that activate portal-devices. Who knew?
I feel like I am actually struggling here to find something to write about. This was a big pile of NOTHING and so what can I say other than NOTHING happened. Portal activated, Superman burned, everyone goes home. That's it. There's no character, no drama, no excitement, no reason to give a damn about anything that happens.
And on top of all that, we get more repetitious garbage about "You're a Trinity! Trinity TRINITY trinity! Did I mention Trinity?"
Yes, Kurt, you mentioned Trini...
OKAY, WE GET IT ALREADY! You can stop with the ann...
"There's THREE of them, see? OMG!"
Main Art - 2: It was average until the bottom of page 6, where Superman looks like someone pried his eyes apart and flattened his nose. And then you get to the last panel on the last page, where Batman looks like Batman, Superman looks surprised and Wonder Woman looks like...
A plastic blow-up doll.
Come on now!
Back-Up Story - 2: This just doesn't make any sense. Hawkman LOOKS INTO A SUN and sees someone laughing inside.... after his retinas burned and he was blinded for life, apparently.
And Supergirl, why she's amazing, folks. She can THROW A SUN, but more than that... when the sun explodes in space she can "shield" Hawkman, Metamorpho and Geo-Force!
Never mind that a story point was that Geo-Force COULDN'T go that far out into space and we see him falling back to earth... but suddenly, there he is again.
But back to my point... the power of a sun explodes and Supergirl... "shields" them. With what? How? They're in SPACE? Is she suddenly ten times their size? This is lunacy, I say.
...to say nothing of the fact that I've now seen a hero use a coffin (containing a dead body) as a WEAPON to hit a villain. In the back.
Only in Trinity.
Back-Up Art - 3: As average and without personality as you're likely to see.
Cover Art - 5: I enjoy Jim Lee's work, and this is no exception. The material of Superman's shirt being pulled by Owlman is exceptionally nicely done.
Nobody is actually fighting the CSA any longer and they don't actually appear in this issue at all, but hey... the "logo" for the book still never matches up with the character so that's probably asking too much.
Main Story - 2: Hello and welcome back to 'America's Top 52'. This week's long distance dedication comes to us from a Lois Lane in Metropolis, Illinois. Her letter starts -
Well Lois, you got it. Coming in at the bottom of the list once again, here's "Trinity" (sung to the tune of the Bee Gees classic pop song "Tragedy" - with the sincerest of apologies to Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb):
When the book's a wreck and it's full of dreck,
When the plot is trite and it just ain't right,
It's hard to read
With no one to refund your $2.99.
When the big three heroes lose their fans,
When the readers cry and we all know why,
It's hard to bear,
With 38 more issues that won't go nowhere.
Night and day I'm burning through my comic books.
Oh, burning one with a real flame or TNT.
Busiek, you're two for two on Superman.
You really should be going now, going now,
Leaving town, leaving town...
When the book goes on and the plot goes off,
When the fanboys cry and Dan knows why
It's hard to bear,
With nobody loving this weekly affair.
When you lose control of the DCU,
When the fanboys cry and we all know why,
It's hard to bear,
When I am so hating this weekly affair.
Main Art - 3: The art feels rushed. Like a fast food burger from Big Belly's. But with an after-taste.
Back-Up Story - 3: Simple story, lots of heroes. Same guy who wrote the lead story. Go figure.
On the other hand, enough with the 'poor Hawkman' subplot already.
Back-Up Art - 4: Not bad as far as super-hero free-for-alls go, but after last week's climactic splash page of heroes, I was expecting a bit more.
Cover Art - 2: Is that really supposed to look like an owl? How does a guy get the idea to dress up like an owl anyway? I mean Batman chose the bat to strike fear. Is an owl a really scary thing in the antimatter universe? Or maybe he chose the owl to say 'I'm so tough and scary that you'll even be afraid of me if I fashion myself after the kindly old owl.'
Finally, Superman a dirty fighter? Say it ain't so. But look where the trajectory of that fist at the end of Supey's right arm is headed. That's not a particularly super thing to do Clark. Especially after that nice letter we got this week from your wife.
Main Story - 1: Page 1: A group of no-name thugs appear, and instead of going about their objective, speak of their objective obscurely instead of directly and summate through dialogue.
Page 2 and 3: A series of "chaos" panels that indicate that the world is in turmoil, something already accomplished in the last panel of the last issue, and something that was established in dialogue on the previous page. An attempt to be cute, what with kids and handguns and the "good" Slade that clunks.
Page 4: All of the main heroes in the JLA stand and talk about what has already been summated on the previous four pages. Key chances for conflict are ignored whereby the heroes could turn to Superman and say, "Uh, dude, why did you do that?" Instead, they extrapolate through dialogue and we cut to the B plot.
Page 5/6: Green Lantern suddenly has control of his odd, uninteresting, machine-based powers, which he then uses to rearrange a machine. Firestorm helps somehow, in a way that's not really defined.
Page 7/8: The heroes point to the Trinity and say, "We know stuff you haven't talked to us about your totemic problems, and you should leave, despite being the most powerful among us." As they talk, presumably, Earth-3 burns.
Page 9: Enigma appears and banishes everyone who is not from Earth-3 back home, negating the purpose of the presence of every major character for the last five issues, leaving no conflict resolved at all.
Page 10: The heroes see this, and talk about it as it's happening.
Page 11: Superman gets slapped in the face by a magical doohickey whose purpose remains vague.
Page 12: The guys who slapped Superman explode.
In other words, this entire issue, and the entire arc preceding it, accomplished Superman getting the second facial mark.
Main Art - 3: There are some captions where the words are actually butting the border of the line (first page), many of the backgrounds are minimal, and faces and some bodies are odd.
Most of the action is clearly conveyed, however.
Back-Up Story - 1: Sun-Chained-in-Hamburgers, who BLEW UP last issue, is back to normal, at least until they spend ten pages watching him BLOW UP.
Apparently, he's a sun, but his blowing up has no effect on the surrounding universe.
Mindless, character-less brawl with little point.
Beyond that, what's Red Robin doing fighting along with the JLA? He's a murderer.
Back-Up Art - 5: The backup art is actually strong, sharp, and very appealing. I was surprised at the improvement, and really enjoyed the work.
Cover Art - 3: Fairly cool concept, abbreviated and harmed by the fact that it's Superman under the Batman logo, the image is cropped to display said logo, and nothing on the cover actually happened in the issue.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.