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Superman Unchained 2015 Wall Calendar
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Cover date: March 2009
"Maelstrom" - Part 5 of 5
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Penciller: Phil Noto
Inker: Phil Noto
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Story - 2: There is a certain school of thought that says that if a story begins and ends in a similar way that it rhymes, so to speak. The characters face a challenge at the beginning and then has to face that same challenge at the end with the sum of all they had learned to guide them to their ultimate victory. There are times when this sort of thing works and works well letting the ending act as a pay off for following the story.
SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL: MAELSTROM was not one of those times.
The first issue began with a fight between Supergirl and Maelstrom and it ended with a fight between Supergirl and Maelstrom. Along the way Supergirl supposedly learned something and I guess that something was a greater appreciation of her new life on Earth. I really couldn't tell. Most of the story was Supergirl acting very much like a teenage girl, which was quite good in spots but in others it seemed that she was acting like what the writers wanted a teenage girl to act like and that's just creepy. The themes that Palmiotti and Gray were attempting to explore got muddled in battles with squid monsters and pithy comments about cup sizes.
This final issue did nothing to make me like the series at all. Superman and Supergirl get back to the solar system and then fight Maelstrom and the Furies and at the end we are supposed to feel bad for Maelstrom because she's just a troubled soul trying to get the attention of the man she loves. Then Supergirl spends three hours listening to the radio transmissions from Earth and has a greater appreciation for her adopted home.
I might have liked this mini-series if it was done by more capable writers.
Maybe if Palmiotti and Gray had spent more time focusing on the characters instead of mindless battles than it would have worked out better. Maybe if they would have forgotten the whole Maelstrom sub-plot it would have worked out better. Maybe if it had been three issues instead of five I would have liked it better. Maybe if it had less clichés (Superman getting injured and Supergirl having to care for him) I would have liked it more.
As it stands this story had none of those and I feel like there is about a collective hour of my life that I will never get back.
Oh, and the whole hearing things on Earth while in space. Still bugs that living crud out of me.
Art - 3: I'm not sure if I just didn't notice it in the first issue or if the artwork in this series just tanked in this last issue but I was not impressed with the art in this issue. The bulk of the story comprised of the fight in Metropolis and it was the most static fight I have seen in ages. There was no action to the action. It was kind of boring actually.
The quieter moments were rather strong, though, and even though the writing was awful bordering on horrendous Noto's art saved those scenes. Without the dialogue the page of Supergirl watching the Earth was stunning.
Cover Art - 3: I really don't care for this cover. It's not that the cover is bad, except for the usual complaint that Noto's Superman looks middle aged, but at the same time I am no feeling this one. Still, it was better than last issue's that's for sure.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.