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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Confidential

Superman Confidential #9

Superman Confidential #9

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 14, 2007

Cover date: January 2008

Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciller: Chris Batista
Inker: Prentis Rollins and Cam Smith


Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman responds to Orion's challenge with dissent, and they do battle before Orion booms Superman to New Genesis.

Superman bats Orion away and flees, discovering a nation preparing for war.

Lightray pursues Superman, who flees to space and sees Apokolips.

Orion chases Superman, Superman bats him away and flees, seeking a place to hide. Inside the city, Metron electrocutes him and takes him captive.

Highfather scoffs at Superman for his size and familiarity to humans. Superman scoffs at Highfather for pretending not to be at war. Highfather shows Superman that Metropolis is in danger through the scrying pools, and Superman demands to go back.

2Story - 2: Where last issue had the benefit of introducing several new characters and a forward momentum, this issue reeks with "stretched" and "repeating." The summary above is short, shorter even than most Countdown issues, and why? Because there are, essentially, five major beats:

Superman fights Orion.

Superman finds out about Apokolips and New Genesis.

Metron subdues Superman.

Superman meets with Highfather

Superman finds out that Metropolis is under attack and demands to go back.

Or, more specifically, two thematic beats.

Superman finds out about New Genesis and Apokolips.

Superman is brought before Highfather and asked to help.

This is stretched to:

Superman reiterates what we already know, that he's about to fight Orion.

Superman fights Orion.

Superman escapes Orion.

Superman is chased by Lightray.

Superman escapes Lightray.

Superman fights Orion.

Superman escapes Orion.

Superman fights Metron.

Metron defeats Superman.

Highfather debates Superman

Superman debates Highfather.

Superman demands to go home.

Notice "escapes," "fights," and "debates." This is what we would call a repeated dilemma. In writing, if you repeat a dilemma, you have to escalate the consequence or the reward. That doesn't happen here, which is why what happens looks really cool, and has fanboy moments, but at its core is essentially nothing.

The age old question: "What is this about?"

Well, it's about, at its very best, whether New Genesis is like the American government. And only in light allegory. Otherwise it's just a punch back and forth.

From Countdown I would expect this. From DC right now I would expect this.

I am absolutely crushed to see this come from two of my favorite writers, Dan and Andy, who I expect much better from.

Yes, seeing Superman meet Darkseid and Highfather is cool.

But yes, we've already seen this, and it does nothing to further the character.

And it doesn't take three issues.

5Art - 5: The art, however, is still incredible, top to bottom, and channels some of the best of Kirby with most of the modern reinterpretations of these characters. Every page pops with color, action, and detail. Really good times.

4Cover Art - 4: Minus one for the words. And really, well and truly, whoever put a giant crappy bit of dialogue in the middle of this wonderful image needs to be shot to death with Omega Beams. Even if it's the artist.

Throwback? Throw it back. Said it once, I'll say it again for words on covers.

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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