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: September 23, 2009
Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: Lee Bermejo
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Amanda Conner
Reviewed by: Barry Freiman
That's it? Really? We never find out why the aliens were on Earth or why they were intent on taking out Superman. The writer has no sense of timing and last week's pseudo-cliffhanger which played out anticlimactically this week seals the deal.
It should not be this challenging to tell a straightforward Superman story. There is a formula after 71 years: Clark is living life either at the Daily Planet, at home with Lois, working in the city on a story, or saving people as Superman. Something goes wrong that requires Superman's involvement. Superman saves the day. With only essentially 12 pages in total, this isn't the place to tell pseudo intellectual attempts at emotionally deciphering Superman's core.
This should've been 12 individual strips which could have highlighted different villains and supporting characters. Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Bizarro, Luthor, Brainiac, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Doomsday, and Kara Zor-El. There's a reason these core characters have all appeared on TV's "Smallville" - the general public has a basic knowledge of most of these characters and each has particularly iconic personality traits that play off Clark's personality.
Superman Rating - 1: This strip was designed for a mass audience as evidenced by the decision to showcase it in McPaper, USA Today. However, instead of giving the audience what it expects of Superman, we get a stripped down Man of Steel who's smoothed down and dull (kind of like the art too). Overall, Superman has been disappointing and I'd rate the entire 12 week experience a one out of five.
Happily, it isn't all gloom and doom in Metropolis. This week's concluding chapter of Supergirl, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Kara is saved by Krypto and Streaky who are able to communicate with the aliens. The aliens are revealed to be extraterrestrial canines and felines and they think Krypto and Streaky are king and queen of Earth. An exhausted Kara, Krypto, and Streaky fall asleep on the couch in Kara's apartment.
Supergirl Rating - 3: The goofy conclusion with the alien reveal definitely saves this strip. It's a last second reminder that we aren't supposed to be taking any of this all that seriously. Overall, Supergirl was uneven but it mostly did what it was supposed to do which was to entertain. I am giving the 12 weeks a rating of three out of five.
This is such a disappointing close to what seemed like a great idea of combining DC's characters and the Sunday Funnies. I hope DC tries it again after Diane Nelson jettisons Dan DiDio and replaces him with an editor who can edit (no I don't know anything, but he is part of a chain of command that no longer exists).
See ya in the funny pages!
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2009.