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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: April 1, 2009
Main Story: "What's in it for Us?"
Main Writers: Kurt Busiek
Main Pencillers: Mark Bagley
Main Inker: Art Thibert
Back-Up Story: "Much to Discuss"
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 Trinity want to leave Paris, and this upsets Lois, Alfred et al. Tomorrow Woman starts fading like Marty McFly and decides to telepathically hit the Trinity with the emotions of their friends, which makes them talk in yellow bubbles without saying anything.
This makes the Trinity finally talk to their friends, who chastise them. The Trinity refuse to revert to normal because it was their human weaknesses that ruined their other world and they need to be gods to make things right. Then they save Tomorrow Woman from fading out and disappear.
To be continued...
Main Story - 1: TWELVE pages of "story" and all we got was: Despero aligns with Morgaine and the "Dreambound" escape.
That's two pages of story tops. So what are the other ten here? Empty filler.
Problem is, even the two pages' worth of story weren't anything good or worth reading. Does anyone other than Kurt Busiek care that Sun-Chained-in-Ink is back? Why are we seeing his reunion?
Why are the CSA working with Despero? Why would they listen to him?
Well things don't have to make sense in "Trinity", now do they? Busiek has still failed to ever explain things like how Morgaine knew Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman's secret identities (and she had to, in order to know items from Lois Lane, Alfred, etc would be connected to the Trinity).
This entire series has been a textbook example of how NOT to put a comic together, and what happens when there's no real plan, no forethought, and more concern paid to pet characters (Konvikt, Tomorrow Woman, Krona, Sun-Chained-in-Ink) than to the characters the book is supposed to be about.
And the dialogue is just utter garbage. Just look at Kanjar Ro's line at the top of page 4! "This is exactly what you did to me and why I hate you, and what I plan to do about it, and now I have said it out loud because that is what people do and how they talk!"
This is not 1985. That doesn't fly anymore. The only thing this book has going for it is that it's letting Kurt Busiek play out all his childhood silver-age fantasies and showcase his pet characters instead of the actual Trinity.
Glad you're having a good time, Kurt, but as the title says...
What's in it for us?
Main Art - 2: What is happening in the top right panel on page 5? Is Kanjar's face... bubbling?
Whatever it is, on the bottom of page 10 now he's ripping a piece of paper because he's mad?
If I can't tell what's going on, there's a problem.
Back-Up Story - 1: Oh look, more Tomorrow Woman. Just what everyone reading "Trinity" has been clamoring for, no?
This doesn't even make any sense. The Trinty HAD god-powers and destroyed the world they were gods of, killing millions of people (My god, did that actually happen in this book? What is wrong with you, DC?!), and now their logic is that all that death and destruction only happened because they were... too human? If they were more human they wouldn't have had those powers in the first place, right?
And it is JUST like Superman to abandon all of his humanity and to think that will make things better. Just like it's JUST like Superman to participate in petty arguments that kill millions of innocents.
This is the best comic ever!
What the hell is with empty yellow dialogue bubbles when they get hit by Tomorrow Woman's thought/emotion beam or whatever? That doesn't even make any sense. My first thought was it must be a printing error. Never a good sign.
And in trying to not be petty and selfish and "human", the god-Trinity are being petty and selfish. Now Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are hypocrites, too! Let's destroy EVERYTHING good about the Trinity before the book is over! Come on, there's still time to have them kick some puppies and drown sacks of kittens!
But don't worry, at least TOMORROW WOMAN WAS SAVED and is now real in the real DCU... or something.
JUST WHAT I WAS HOPING FOR.
Thanks for nothing.
Back-Up Art - 2: I am absolutely sick of Tomorrow Woman's stupid sideburns and her flapper hairdo from 1923. I'm also sick of the "god Trinity", and the way Lois looks like a man in drag, and... well, let's be fair, I'm sick of this book in general and it's probably coloring my opinion here, but what can you do?
When every week you just hope it would end already and everything about the book would be forgotten in a day and never talked about or referred to again, that's bound to happen.
Cover Art - 2: Exact same thing as last week, change the gender. Snore.
Main Story - 2: Primat's inclusion this issue raises the score to a "2" this week. Everything else in the lead story is just a lot of primate dung.
Main Art - 3: That's "3" as in not great and not horrible. One thing's become clear on this series - lead artist Mark Bagley's work is consistently inconsistent. His work on this series has ranged from horrible to fantastic. The art is neither of those things this time out. It just sort of hangs there.
Back-Up Story - 2: Talk, talk, talk till you're as blue in the face as godly Superman. How many times will we see the supporting heroes confront the godly Trinity to no avail? More times than it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop that's for sure.
Back-Up Art - 2: More of the just-fine category of art.
Cover Art - 2: Oh god. It's super godly hypno-eyed Man of Steel. Look into his eyes: you will buy this book, you will buy this book.
Main Story - 1: The story clunks forward as a mix of dialogue that explains what's going on, puts the names in the dialogue, and has villains, kid you not, whispering to themselves about their plans. If you had someone draw this in a silver age style and distress the pages, there is virtually no chance that people would be able to tell this book could have had the benefit of thirty to forty years of comics being taken as a serious medium, with characterization, attention to craft, and conflicts that spring from the characters coming for the forefront. But we can see it, plain as day.
Characters that return from the dead sans reason, villains that agree to fight heroes they can't possibly defeat in their current state, heroes with the powers of gods for no apparent reason. There's also out of character fun, like the Crime Syndicate taking orders just for the chance to throw their might at the Trinity despite the fact that they laid out an overly convoluted, Machiavellian trap for them earlier in this very story.
Main Art - 3: A little rough and rushed in places, particularly the faces, which is where Bagley seems to flag most in the rush to the finish line. Still, passable work, enough to tell the story, and I'm amazed his work is standing up to the time strain. Truly pro, even if the work suffers from it a bit.
Back-Up Story - 3: Taken completely out of context, this was actually a decent examination of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman's obligations with godlike powers.
The problem is, none of it really necessarily sprang from the characters save a few brief lines, which worked for me. But if you take all of the dialogue irrespective of the characters who said it, and looked at it, you wouldn't know who was saying it without the picture. You might respond, "Well, isn't that the point of an illustrated story?" To a degree. But I counter that good writing would stand up even without the pictures, just as good pictures should stand up without the dialogue, theoretically, in most cases.
Quiz my belief. Who said these:
"But they're... disassociated. Looking at everything in absolutes..."
"And if that doesn't prove something's wrong with them, I don't know what does!"
"Look us in the eye! You really need to be colossal?"
I'm not going to type a million of these, my point is that this whole scene could have been Lois talking to Superman and established the same things, easily. With much the same dialogue. That suggests to me that there's no uniqueness to the characters involved beyond little thrown in quirks, like Alfred using "Child" every once in a while, or Lois, "Buster."
That's by the numbers, by the book, and unoriginal.
Back-Up Art - 3: The art does the job, but can get wooden at times in these pages. It's essentially a lot of people in costume talking, so that adds a lot to the absurdity at times. Usually that's subsumed by context or place, but they're just on a roof talking, so it's, I would imagine, harder to vary.
Cover Art - 1: Superman phone home. Even Ultraman's like, "Huh?"
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.