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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #681 Superman #681

Superman #681

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 29, 2008

Cover date: December 2008

"Strange Meetings and Chance Encounters"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Renato Guedes
Inker: Wilson Magalhaes

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

The news reports the Kryptonians.

At the Daily Planet, Perry barks at his reporters to go cover the story.

Heading for his Fortress, Superman thinks of his father. When he arrives, a number of heroes await him, cautioning him about the Kryptonians. Superman tells them that they'll educate the Kryptonians and everything will be okay.

In New Krypton, as Superman arrives Kara meets an old friend, Thara, who is initially cold to her. A delegation forms to meet the USA president.

Ma laments Pa's death. Krypto scratches at the door and comforts her.

Agent Liberty appears with Lois as the delegation appears, telling her he went into the secret service.

The Kryptonians arrive and banter with the president. A meteor slams down nearby to reveal Doomsday.

2Story - 2: The title is actually an apt depiction of what happens here. Strange meetings and chance encounters. Problem being, they're just kind of odd, and not really that compelling.

From the gaffe in the opening three pages where the Antarctic and the North Pole are accidentally treated as the same place (presumably) to the random, chaotic appearance of Doomsday, this whole issue was very strange. It seems like they had a bunch of really cool ideas, and strung them together randomly:

New character Thara.

Doomsday appearing as New Krypton emerges.

Kryptonians meeting George Bush.

Agent Liberty returning.

Ma Kent with Krypto.

They're all interesting ideas, but because so little time is spent on any of them, they fall flat. It would be different if this were just a random day in the Superman universe, but this is right after Pa Kent dies, and two pages are spent on that out of 22, none directly addressing it.

Thara was pretty snarky and annoying, and didn't do much for me. George Bush getting a comic sequence devoted to his wacky antics didn't either. You mean to tell me you have a city full of people with Superman's powers and the coolest thing you could think of them doing was having them meet Bush? In what universe?

Agent Liberty is nice to see, but out of context and randomly inserted, it's just strange.

The whole momentum of the comic goes toward the delegation, and then bang, without any real rationality, Doomsday appears. Okay, it's shocking, but why? Why Doomsday, when you have so many Kryptonians to deal with, as a writer.

I do want to like Robinson's run. The problem is, so far, the writing is very sloppy and chaotic, it's not focused on the bread and butter of what makes Supes Supes, and it's got a lot of things that don't make much sense when strung in a sequence. I see a foundation being laid here, but I hope it makes a wall and not just a pad when all is said and done.

4Art - 4: Generally awesome. There are a few issues, like Doomsday not having his hand spikes, but otherwise it's strong. Is it just me, or was that place where the president met the Kryptonians the central place for City of Heroes. Am I crazy?

Either way, very bold and strong all around.

5Cover Art (Alex Ross) - 5: Beautiful. I don't like that Superman as Ross draws him tends to look like a man in his mid forties, but it's still an awesome, compelling image, no denying that.

5Cover Art (Bernard Chang) - 5: Another compelling image. I don't understand retailer variants or their appeal, but hey, if that's your thing, this is a cool one.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2008

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