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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Beyond

Superman Beyond #7

Superman Beyond #7

Released Digitally: August 22, 2012

"Failsafe" - Part 1

Writer: JT Krul
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inker: John Livesay

Reviewed by: Shawn Morrissey

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There's no time like the nick o' time, especially when you're Superman and Earth's atmosphere is being canoodled by a "meteor field" of kryptonite. Batman - as in Bruce, not Terry - comes to Superman's aid, and the two pummel their way through Solomon Grundy and his nanotech ruffians. The two aging allies are having a hard time of it, and with the Metropolis supercops incapacitated, there's little in the way of help.

Superman pulls out a Hail Mary attack on Grundy to get him off of the Dark Knight, leaving the latter open to call his Batwing and therefore escape. The only place that offers any real kind of protection for Superman is his Fortress of Solitude. The Man of Steel makes a fingers-crossed promise to stay put while Batman heads back to Gotham to work on getting the kryptonite out of orbit.

Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, holo-Lex gives his daughter Lucinda a few lessons from Superman 101: powers or not, Superman always comes to the aid of those in danger. The danger this time is a massive demon-like robot set loose on the City of Tomorrow.

4Story - 4: I can pick out a thing or two that I think some readers would have problems with in this issue; namely, the kryptonite working so slowly on Superman. I remember some of the complaints about Superman Returns involved the kryptonite island and Superman lifting it out of the ocean. With that much kryptonite, the argument went, there would be no way Supes could lift it, let alone toss it out beyond Earth's orbit. There's a lot more to be said for that, I agree, but while I think that scene in the movie was quite epic, it does raise some questions about inconsistency. Just how much kryptonite is enough and how quickly does it work?

Personally I like the idea that Superman struggles and strives despite the pain to keep on fighting. That's certainly one of the most inspiring aspects of the character, his will to push on until he can push no longer. Just the same, I think there should be some sort of standard for kryptonite in all continuities. If the ol' K-metal is used, in given continuities, it works better when it's treated like a character, with properties and medians from which it doesn't stray too far.

Big I think the kryptonite was used well here, but I'm eager to see how it all works out, especially now that there's a robot... that's turns into a skyscraper.

Another problem I foresee for fans carries over from issue #6: the World's Greatest Detective. Let's face it, Superman fans and Batman fans often don't get along. I think some of us Supe-Heads are a bit ruffled that Batman is DC's golden boy at the moment. There's a lot of boiled blood when Batman comes to the aid of Superman. True, I was hoping Krul had some very clever trick to pull out of his hat to get Superman away from the kryptonite (see my last review), but I'm not disgruntled that the way out ended up being Batman. Personally, I think Batman's cooler than Isaac Hayes on Christmas Eve in Winnipeg, and I really enjoy the relationship between the two: Superman's open acknowledgement of their friendship against Batman's feigned disinterest. It was great to see the World's Finest together as geriatric partners and friends.

All in all, I thought this was a well-paced, action-filled issue. I still really like what Krul is doing and I think this issue is among the best so far. After all, who doesn't like robots... that turn into skyscrapers?

3Art - 3: I wonder if there was a build-up of negative criticism of Porter's art to the point where DC demanded the penciler get his act together. The art is far more consistent than in previous issues, and is slicker and easier on the eyes. Some of it is downright excellent, particularly Solomon Grundy. There's a lot left to be desired, but I hope this is a hint of better things to come.

4Cover Art - 4: Hands down, this is the best cover to the series so far. Livesay's inks are on prominent display here. It's the kind of cover you can judge a story by, and it's excellent.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2012

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