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Tangent: Superman's Reign #1

Tangent: Superman's Reign #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 19, 2008

Cover date: May 2008

"Superman's Reign - Chapter One"

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Matthew Clark
Inker: Jesse Delperdang

Back-Up Story: "History Lesson: Chapter One"
Write: Ron Marz
Penciller: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Jesse Delperdang

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Lori Lemaris, recalling her time as a Joker-like hero, meets with her probation officer, recalling time in jail. She gives money to a beggar, and looks up in lament at the image of Superman, in this universe a bald, black man in what appear to be religious robes. She indicates he's responsible for wiping out the heroes.

A man with a beard attempts to console the old woman Lori gave money to. The old woman tells him that the one they revere is dead, and slinks into the night, indicating she wishes only to die.

The Flash confronts a man calling himself Mirror Master on Earth-1 (yes, the previously unheard of Earth-1, as far as I can tell... Neal). This alternate Mirror Master calls The Speedster of Earth-3 to battle Flash, and as Flash is about to be beaten, the Tangent Universe Flash, Lia Nelson, appears to save him. She reveals she's been trapped on Flash's Earth, and asks for help, using a Chinese Lantern in the JLA trophy room.

The old woman who received money from Lori Lemaris is revealed to be a Green Lantern of some sort. She speaks to a light on her hand, presumably Atom? (Going by Countdown there... thanks for bearing with me, folks, this universe is new to me... the clarity fault is not in the writing thusfar).

Flash takes the Earth-9 (Tangent) Flash to the Justice League Hall of Justice, where the Lantern reactivates. The Lantern on Earth-9 senses it.

The Lantern awakens at the Green Lantern's command, pulling Earth-9 Flash, Earth-1 Flash, and John Stewart away in its wake.

A woman named Manhunter assaults a complex north of "New Atlantis" on the Tangent Earth (according to Wikipedia, Florida was destroyed when Atom escalated the Cuban missile crisis, resulting in New Atlantis in Florida's remains, as I understand it... Neal) Spectre, a member of her team, supports her. They find Atom, the original Atom, in captivity.

5Story - 5: I have NO fricking clue what the Tangent universe is or was. As you can see, I stumble a bit through the above summary, trying to figure out what the heck is going on. To anyone, this is a continuity SLOG. And did I enjoy it anyway?

You bet I did.

I was very poor when Tangent came out. Consequently, I read none of it, despite being a fan of Jurgens, and enjoying the potentiality of the idea. When I heard there was going to be a new series, I waffled about reviewing it, yakking at Steve and saying, "I dunno." I'm glad we decided to give it a shot, because so far, this is like an Elseworlds that completely blows your mind as opposed to the gimmick ones I'm so used to.

Granted, there's a factor of not knowing what's going on here. Longtime readers know that my review policy is to only do for a review what I would do on my own. Meaning, in other words, that I don't do research on a concept. Not because I'm lazy, I know how to research, but because I believe it vital to my review's honesty that I only give my impressions when I am in a state akin to what you would be in. I researched this, because it intrigued me so much I WANTED to go find out what was going on, and I believe you'd do the same, giving this book a shot.

Lori as a stranger, a Joker-like figure... Superman as a bald black dude... Spectre as a kind of assassin. I'm digging it. It's odd. I want to give it room to breathe.

And Earth-1? What's with that? Is that a joke? Is this an error? Are we finally seeing Earth-1? If we are, then what's the difference between it and New Earth? This is, actually, the FIRST of the new universes in the Multiverse since 52 that I've been curious about, mostly because of the lackluster performance of Countdown. Earth-9 and Earth-1 now have my full attention.

Is this a Jurgens bias? Perhaps. I openly admit I love the man's work. But I've been hard on my faves before, and recently, perhaps entirely because of my lack of an ability to enjoy or relate to any coherent formed universe in the DCU. Hopefully, this'll keep rocking.

5Art - 5: Open bias here for Matthew Clark. I've been a huge fan ever since the Adventures run, and pretty much anything he's done I enjoy. The raw humanity and detail in his work is insanely good, always has been, and here it's no exception. I flatly admit I fell in love with Flash from Earth-9. That's geeky, but true.

Back-Up Story: "History Lesson: Chapter One"
Write: Ron Marz
Penciller: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Jesse Delperdang

Bits of the Tangent history are summarized to a woman at a fountain meeting with a geeky man on a computer.

A nuke takes Florida. Men begin appearing as Superheroes, including Dr. Midnight, Booster Gold, the Metal Men, and others. This causes the escalation of the war with Russia, and soon, technology becomes the deciding factor.

When the second Atom dies, a large number of heroes proliferate until ultimately, Superman is in charge.

The woman approves of his summation, and takes him with her.

5Back-Up Story - 5: Intriguing, filling in the bits I don't understand without taking away the immersion, and fun, to boot.

5Back-Up Art - 5: A vivid imagination of the strange and intriguing Tangent heroes. Pretty neat.

4Cover Art - 4: Slick, and a bit odd in ways, but definitely something new. It reminds me a bit of New Universal, but the pose is crazy, mixed a bit with the Elseworlds feel.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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