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: March 11, 2009
Main Story: "Our Rightful Realm"
Main Writers: Kurt Busiek
Main Pencillers: Mark Bagley
Main Inker: Art Thibert
Back-Up Story: "His Hunger"
Back-Up Story Writer: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Back-Up Story Penciller: Tom Derenick
Back-Up Story Inker: Wayne Faucher
To be continued...
The Void Hound was born out of the Qwardian desire for something great to hunt, and was then captured and turned into a spaceship and then imprisoned in a Green Lantern ring. The Void Hound attacks a ship in space and tries to destroy it, but John Steward is within the Void Hound fighting back and somehow prevents the ship from being destroyed. Then John notices the people on the ship were criminals and wonders if that's why the Void Hound attacked them, but then John Stewart is somehow "suppressed" by Krona, who wants the Void Hound to work for him and takes him back to his laboratory with plans to sick the Hound on Earth.
To be continued...
Main Story - 1: How can a god be knocked unconscious?
For that mater, only 11 issues from the merciful end of this book... the main villains for 40 issues give up and run for no real reason and now we're led to believe Lex Luthor has a plan and... will be the new villain for the last 11 issues? What?
And here's something that honestly just amuses me. If you go back and look at the issues where Khyber and hilarious-Silver-Age-Brainiac were introduced into this story, they were a BIG @&%#ING DEAL. It was presented as "HOLY CRAP, LOOK WHAT JUST HAPPENED!"
Even though all I did was laugh when I saw this version of Brainiac and sigh when I saw Khyber, the fact remains the story treated them as big players for the villains. BIG.
They then proceeded to do absolutely NOTHING for issue after issue, and now, here... they both run away.
...after doing nothing.
This is a big problem with this book, and makes it feel like it was written by a 12 year-old running his first superhero role-playing game. Look, man! These serious villains just entered the story! Whoa! Cool! Amazing! Impressive! Now let's all go have every hero fight every villain and then resolve it all with a snap of our fingers and oh, those cool, amazing, impressive villains? Yeah I forgot to do anything with them, so they like retreat and stuff, but they'll be back to get you another day you accursed hero-types!
This reads as if there was no forethought or planning put into it at all. It's just "wouldn't this be cool?" after "wouldn't this be cool?" after "wouldn't this be cool?", and no, NONE of it is cool without purpose, meaning, character, depth, and development.
Pointless. That's what this book is. And much like Brainiac and Khyber, it's done... nothing, after being introduced as something BIG that was supposed to have impact and meaning.
And also like Brainiac and Khyber, now I just want to run away.
Main Art - 2: On the bottom of page 6... why is Brainiac suddenly a woman?
Back-Up Story - 3: Come on! NO!! WHY?!
Ok, this is a book about the "Trinity" and it's been horribly mismanaged and botched from issue 1. Fine. Whatever.
But here was a backup, not at all about the Trinity, but which I was actually enjoying. Yes! Awesome! Before this, I had no idea what the hell a Void Hound was. This story involved TURNING A DOG INTO A SPACESHIP, and I STILL was loving it.
Do you understand how monumental that is?
As a concept, that is flat-out stupid. But I didn't care. This story was ROCKING. It was the best thing in this book yet, in 41 issues.
And then Krona shows up.
And takes a metal space-dog to his "laboratory".
HE HAS A LABORATORY? IN SPACE? FOR GIANT FLAMING PEOPLE?
In a story where a dog is born of dreams and turns into a FREAKING SPACESHIP, Krona still manages to ruin everything with his sheer and utter lameness.
The only thing that would be worse is if it was Konvikt.
Actually, no, I take that back. Krona's worse.
Ugh. This damned book is so aggravating.
Back-Up Art - 5: Krona notwithstanding, this was some VERY awesome stuff.
Cover Art - 2: Do not want. Thank you.
Main Story - 1: Metropolis is safe. Safe from what exactly? The lack of continuity on this book is staggering. I don't mean continuity in the comic book sense but in the sense of the internal logic of this one 52-part story.
Were the villains working in concert with le Fey or hypnotically controlled by le Fey? Who knows, who cares.
Are the villains still with le Fey or have they all gone home? Who knows, who cares.
How can the heroic Trinity be re-inspiring reality back to normal when they are so far from normal themselves? Who knows, who cares.
Does Kurt Busiek seem to have even the most basic understanding of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, let alone the DCU? I know the answer to this one. He doesn't understand the DCU or the Trinity's place in it at all.
When all this ends in another 11 weeks, I fear Busiek's inadequacies as a writer will leave Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman less of a Trinity than they were before this mess began. This would be a fine conclusion if this were Bizarro World. But it's not.
Main Art - 3: Some of it looks great, some of it looks rushed. Quite frankly, I have lost the will to review.
Back-Up Story - 1: I am the Void Hound. Weekly, the void called Trinity hounds me as I waste another $2.99 and more time finding new and original ways to say I hate this series. You're welcome Steve.
Back-Up Art - 2: Void Hound. Mecha-Godzilla. Same difference. Except Mecha-Godzilla came decades ago and this just looks like a rip-off of that design.
Cover Art - 2: I hate the godly look of the Ahtman/Batman. Sure, I get the irony that, of the Trinity's godly selves, it is the human Batman who looks least human and the alien Superman and magically created Wonder Woman who still most resemble humans. I just can't help thinking of the Scarecrow's vision of Batman after Jonathan Crane is exposed to his own fear toxin in the 2005 film "Batman Begins".
Here, he's a shinier version of that image, combined with Batwoman's bat, and a Batman Beyond-ish cowl. Superman works in shiny; Batman, Ahtman, Datman (as in "Datman's nuts, grab 'em"), Fatman (an actual character from a 1950s Batman story who surprisingly didn't factor into "Batman: R.I.P."), Thatman (Marlo Thomas's husband I think), or whatever he's called, not so much.
Main Story - 1: I swear, I stopped reading this book twice after the second page because I thought I was reading the same comic as the week previous. That sounds like hyperbole, and I am prone to it, but it's not. I seriously was like, "Wait, what? Didn't I just read this?"
Because I did. This is essentially the exact same issue as the last issue, only now with more reaction shots.
There is one wrinkle. The Trinity act like a bunch of dinks, and for some random, unexplained reason, Konvikt betrays Morgaine and knocks her out with a punch to the back of the head.
There's also some techno-babble from Lex that's particularly sad. Beyond that, same issue.
Main Art - 3: The art that's there is great. The art that is CG background on the constant distracts from the art that's there.
Back-Up Story - 1: We have a monologue that lasts most of the story giving a kind of origin for what is essentially, if I get this straight, a mechanical omniscient spacedog that is fighting with the Green Lantern. How or why Green Lantern and the dog are combined is still beyond me.
Then he runs into Krona, who apparently knows what the dog can do, and turns the dog into his herald and sends him to Earth.
Which is in no way a ripoff of Galactus. Nope!
Back-Up Art - 5: I don't know if here is where I should complain about that awful lettering, but I will, because it's part of the art, and by god, it was abysmal. Hard to read, oddly stylized, and something that made every page an agony on the eyes.
The ART, however, was gorgeous, top to bottom. How something as benign and stupid as the void hound could be made compelling was beyond me, but here it is, such as it is.
The story still sucks, but the art blew me away.
Cover Art - 3: A fairly cool image of Batman under a bat symbol, taken down by the fact that it's out of any real context and has a giant sword on the cover for no apparent reason.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.