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Superman Unchained 2015 Wall Calendar
12 full-color images. Includes 4 extra planning grids for September through December of 2014, plus full pages for January through December of 2015.
Cover date: January 7, 2009
Main Story: "Lady of Bounty and Teacher to All"
Main Writers: Kurt Busiek
Main Pencillers: Mark Bagley
Main Inker: Art Thibert
Back-Up Story: "A Better World"
Back-Up Story Writer: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Story Penciller: Mike Norton
Back-Up Story Inker: Ande Parks
Wonder Woman's god-analogue visited the blue people, and she was very large and giant-sized. Then some gray guy called the Gray Lord showed up and people went crazy and killed each other. Then the Superman god-analogue and the Wonder Woman god-analogue, no longer giant-sized, appeared to stop him but he took control of Superman. Just then the purple guy in the feathery hat noticed Donna was recording the conversation and accused her and her group of being "machinists".
To be continued...
Firestorm and friends fight some villains. Black Adam joins them. Tomorrow Woman and Triumph worry the "real" world they're working to restore might be worse than the one they're already in, even though both know they will be dead in the new "correct" universe.
To be continued...
Main Story - 1: Look, the Trinity is gone for no real reason, but this place (wherever it is) has them kind of but some things are different (Batman drawing away from the world) and some are the same (Maxwell Lord making Superman and Wonder Woman fight). And the purple people and the blue people don't like each other.
Isn't it fascinating?
You know, if you'd asked me before this book started, I would honestly have told you there was no way a book about Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman put out by DC could in any way be about anything LESS than the three of them than this book is.
Did that make sense? Probably not. Well, you can't expect me to think logically... after all, I just read Trinity.
Main Art - 2: No more purple people.
Back-Up Story - 3: Well, I don't give a rat's ass about Tomorrow Woman or Triumph, but there was a nice character moment for them here in knowing their fate is death but fighting on anyway due to hoping the new world will be better and worth fighting for (even though, until Morgaine showed up, their world seemed to be getting along just fine except for Lois's smoking, right?).
A token gesture, perhaps, and certainly nothing to do with the actual trinity, but at least it's SOMETHING.
And when you have a book as full of nothing for so long as this one is, something becomes everything.
Back-Up Art - 2: No more Tomorrow Woman.
Cover Art - 3: Jim Lee's talents - suddenly unwasted!
Resulting image - generic and dull!
Main Story - 1: I'm bored. How about you? Not only is this traveling supporting characters thing just badly told, it's derivative of the badly told story of the supporting characters (including Donna Troy there too) in "Countdown to Final Crisis". Now that Jason's name has come up, I pray every night that Jason Todd does not join this group. It's bad enough that we've already got his personality in the depiction of alternate reality mobster Richie Grayson.
Main Art - 3: For Bagley, it seems like this story is all about the lead-up to Diana's appearance. It's strange that she - and Kal-El/Kellel - resemble their actual selves more than the Batman. It's even stranger that Kel is wearing replicas of Diana's girdle, boots, and bracelets. Add to that the depiction of his chest emblem being hooked into the cape. This was the 1980s Supergirl look. Is the godly representation of Superman a cross-dresser?
Back-Up Story - 3: This story was the biggest surprise of the admittedly small comic-buying week. I didn't hate it. In fact, it's one of the best back-ups thus far.
The story is far from perfect, but it's also far from imperfect, the usual M.O. for "Trinity". I'd call it a major step in the right direction. Or maybe it's just a reality bleep for us readers, then back to nonsense next week. That's hard to say.
Triumph and Tomorrow Woman talk about creating a better world, all the while aware they'll never see it. Taking this story and that dialogue on its own, apart from the rest of the mess that we call "Trinity", we have a really nice character moment that turns out to be both characters's defining moments. Brainwave reveals both characters know they will be dead in the altered universe and that neither knows the other will also be dead. Nonetheless, they remain on mission. That's a testament to the strength of true heroism in the DCU. And admittedly, a bit of a rip - or is that riff - on the "Yesterday's Enterprise" episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation".
Speaking of character moments, it's nice to see some things remain unaltered in a magically altered universe. Of course I'm referring to Black Adam. Black Adam's powers derive from magic. Magic changed the world but it didn't change him. Is there something more to this? Like a source of magic to draw on to ultimately make things right?
Back-Up Art - 4: In a comic, character moments where it's just talking heads can kill a good story. Here the art adds to the emotion. The determination on Tomorrow Woman's face. Triumph's self doubt. These are traits that can be conveyed by words -- and in fact are well conveyed here - but when an artist captures an emotional state, it's like comic gold. The setting is simple. Everything is conveyed in the looks on their faces - and their postures too. Good work.
Cover Art - 2: Doesn't Jim Lee draw any other depiction of Batman? I feel like I've seen this a zillion times before. Wouldn't a more appropriate cover have been Ahtman, the alien representation of Batman? I think so. But that wouldn't be an attention-grabber on the shelves.
Main Story - 1: So now we get to watch blue guys reimagine another character, focusing on what would appear to be Busiek's opinion of their central catharsis.
I'm not quite sure, having read it, why Ares morphs into Max Lord, and why it's not mentioned that Ahtman worked with good ole Max for some time (he's just depicted as a villain, which undermines why he was so effective AS a villain - they KNEW him as a good guy).
Beyond that, who are the warrior class, and why do we care?
Beyond that, if Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman already existed, why have they not been existing? Are we on an alternate universe? I'm still unclear, baffled, and not having a good time.
Main Art - 3: The art really isn't that horrible, I just can't get into these blue guys. They look ridiculous, and they're stupid. It distracts from the whole efficacy of the art in general, and makes you just want to put the book down, which I do on average about two times before I finish one. Bagley's talent could be put to better use.
Back-Up Story - 1: Let's use a bunch of random characters only continuity fanboys who are 45 care about, make them go against a token villain no one who hasn't been reading Showcase volumes would care about, and make them emphasize, through dialogue filled with their names and motivations, how lame the plot is.
"You mean, we're trying to essentially kill ourselves by asserting the right universe?"
"Wow! Sounds noble, and not stupid at all!"
"I farted once, on the set of Blue Lagoon!"
Back-Up Art - 3: The art was pretty much 80s-90s in its scope and ambition, though the depictions were good. Many of the backgrounds were plain, and there were also a few times where redundant panels were inserted, notably a panel where Tomorrow Woman and whoever the guy was (it was never properly conveyed to me as a reader) just stare at each other. Another artist could likely have made that an emotional beat, here it's just like, "Why are they not talking?" which pulled me out of the story.
Cover Art - 2: Maybe I'm just in a bad mood (could be... I'm reading Trinity, and the book tends to do that to me), but I'm sick of Jim Lee static shots of heroes in action pose out of context, and I'm sick of books that don't depict what's on the cover at least metaphorically (Batman's not in this book. Ahtman is.). At least it's Batman under the Batman logo, but that's not enough for me.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.