Cover date: September 2009
Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Pere Perez
Inker: Pere Perez
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Guardian chooses Jonathan Kent (Mon-El) and Harper for civilian duty after shaking down the Science Police, a story that is promised to continue in the Secret Files.
Zatara is dismissive of a stagehand who starts to quit. Parasite appears, having killed Zatara's girlfriend, and the stagehand saves Zatara with the trapdoor. The stagehand reveals himself as Mark Merlin, and says they must find Prince Ra Man.
Kimiyo (Dr. Light) and Jim Harper (Guardian) have a date, which is promised to continue in Justice League of America and Superman.
Ion meets Tellus, who tells Ion not to go meet Mon-El, because it will change the future for the worse. Ion agrees not to if Tellus provides Mon-El with knowledge of Daxam. Tellus agrees. To be continued again, in the Annual.
Story - 2: The spare point was for the fight between Steel and Atlas. It was a good fight, and it played out well, but honestly, it consisted of UGGGGH! and AUUUGH! more than any real culmination.
Other than that, this whole issue is pretty much one big advertisement for other stories. Nothing really happens, and what does happen isn't very entertaining.
We get a scene where the Guardian dresses down his crew, complete with a semi-offensive jibe at gays and ladies, for whatever the hell that was worth. To be continued, but not here.
We get Zatara, an extraordinarily annoying character, acting through sloppy scenes like someone we should loathe (he literally does not care that someone is dead), and he is dropped like something epic in an out-of-context way into the narrative. We have no clue who Mark Merlin is, and the pictures behind him are no big revelation. I've been reading comics for twenty years. Trust me, if I don't catch the reference, most other people aren't either.
Beyond that, Parasite had just charged up. Why does a konk to the head hurt him? Do I miss something?
Guardian and Kimiyo have a date, to be continues elsewhere. Is that supposed to be exciting? I don't get it. Maybe if you really like both characters. As it stands, in the narrative I haven't seen Kimiyo really characterized, so I don't. Guardian I dig, I guess, and wish happiness, but it seemed thrown in as an advertisement for another book.
The scene with Ion was sort of interesting, but again, he takes what Tellus says at face value, and that's not how people work. Even in the world of superheroes.
"Take this! Inject your friend with it!"
"It'll save his life!"
Forrest Gump: "OKAY!" (PLUNGE!)
Rational human being: "Why?"
Maybe I missed something. Either way, this book very much leans toward the sloppy and indulgent side of the equation. Robinson so far has been either very touchingly based in character or sloppily self-indulgent. The last few have been the latter category, spending even more time setting the basis for a story without actually doing much storytelling beyond Tellus' action (incoherent) and the fight.
Art - 4: Still rocking, and the best part of the aforementioned fight. The work makes a noble effort in the Zatara section to make him seem epic and interesting, but it's a tough sell. My lone complaint is a panel where Steel looks really, really wooden, right when Atlas is about to attack.
Cover Art - 4: An honest depiction of the center of the front part of the issue. It's a little cartoony, and there's not much definition, but it's a pretty image. I waffled between three and four, honestly, but I wanted to err on the side of my gut. I enjoy the image, there's just something funky about it I can't exactly place.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.