Mild Mannered Reviews – DC Nation #0

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DC Nation #0

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 2, 2018

Cover date: July 2018

“Office Space”

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez
Inker: Dexter Vines
Cover: Jorge Jimenez & Alejandro Sanchez
Variant Covers: Joe Prado, Jorge Jimenez, Jose Garcia Lopez, Clay Mann, Alejandro Sanchez

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

DC Nation #0Superman flies into the Daily Planet, as Perry White has the whole staff gathered around, as he makes a statement about breaking news and Superman articles.

Clark Kent enters the bullpen, and is asked by Perry to give him a story to print. Clark recounts Superman’s actions in stopping ex-military and ex-government officials attempting to sell Lexcorp weapons on the black market to high end buyers.

Perry then promotes Clark to Lois Lane’s old corner office, to which he declines, and a somber feeling befalls the entire bullpen. Perry after saying what he has done for Lois, informs everyone that she has left the Daily Planet to work elsewhere, and then takes the opportunity to introduce a new member of the team, Robinson Goode, a young female who is the new beat reporter on staff.

Robinson personally introduces herself to Clark, telling him that she loved his President Luthor expose, and that she would read it once a year to stay focused.

Perry calls Clark to his office, and asks him to explain his article, referring to the fact that it doesn’t have the Clark Kent panache. He tells Clark that he needs to focus on the job, regardless of what is going on in his life. He also asks about the situation with Lois, inferring that if Clark wants to talk about it, he is there to listen.

Clark tells Perry that he agrees, and to let him try again, and walks out. As he does, Robinson notices Clark heading to the roof and follows him. Clark changes to Superman and flies off, Robinson is just moments behind, but doesn’t manage to see him.

Later in a club, Robinson meets with a mysterious guy, and tells him the current status of the Daily Planet. She recounts that Clark Kent is a hot mess, Lois Lane is M.I.A and that Perry is old fashioned. The man asks if they know what she can do, to which Robinson replies no, and that to tell whomever is in charge that by Wednesday she will own the place.

To be continued in Man of Steel #1.

DC Nation #05Story – 5: Well this is the first taste of the much hyped and anticipated run by Brian Michael Bendis on the Superman titles, and in my honest opinion, it was better than what I expected.

Having read some of his previous work, I’m familiar with his writing style. That said, I was surprised at how I really loved the way he approached the world of Superman in this short story. There was the obvious large focus on Clark and the Daily Planet, but we did also get to see briefly Superman in action.

What was most impressive was the way Bendis constructed the story. The action took place in a flashback, narrated by Clark in the present, whilst there is a whole slew of events that have taken place before hand, that are just hinted at, and sprinkled throughout.

If this is how Bendis will be handling his run on Superman, then I am certain that we will be seeing some spectacular stories in the coming months and years.

Perry is the true MVP of this story, as it is through him that we get the exposition of what we need to catch us up to the moment and the upcoming Man of Steel mini-series. The moment I loved most was in his opening monologue when he says, “No more editorials, headlines, or letters to the editor about being afraid of Superman, I don’t want to print what he could do, I want to report what he actually does”.

Bendis is most definitely a wordsmith of the highest caliber, however this felt to me as a statement of what Superman means to him personally, and also that the stories of the last decade and a half of “exploring Superman” and the “what if Superman…” stories have now come to an end.

There is definite continuity to the Pre-Flashpoint world, with the mention of the President Luthor expose that Clark wrote, and the appearance of the Lex Armors that were being sold on the black market. However Bendis made no mention of Jon Kent at all, which has me curious as to what it is that transpired, that would make Clark and Lois be apart in their day to day lives this way.

The big questions definitely are, what happened to Lois, and why and where has she gone? And who exactly is Robinson Goode, what has she got planned, and who is her true employer?

Even though I was highly impressed with what Bendis managed to accomplished in just 11 pages, there was one aspect that stood out to me that I personally didn’t like, this being when Clark checks Perry’s blood pressure and heart when he sees him getting worked up, he says Perry is solid as a rock, and that “human’s are amazing”… I personally don’t enjoy when Superman thinks of himself other than human, mainly because this automatically forces the assumption that he is above us, which is not the Superman we have been accustomed to in the last few decades in almost all media.

I grew up reading a Superman that was Clark first and Superman when needed, and I realize that that time and continuity has now passed, but it was carried on and adopted in many versions that followed, so I really hope that in this “Bendis” era, we are not given an alien pretending to be human.

This whole story was just an appetizer that Bendis has prepared, and keeping with that particular metaphor, it’s safe to say that we are ready for the main course.

5Art – 5: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (praise be his name), what more can you ask for, when one of the all time greats takes on the art duties for one of the greats characters in modern history. JGJL is one of my top 3 Superman artists of all time, as his style guide art was featured on many of my early Superman toy packaging, coloring books and t-shirts. So I apologize in advance for my bias and overt gushing over the art in these pages.

The opening panel of Superman flying to the Daily Planet, had that classic feel to it, as only JLGL can bring. Which leads us straight into the scenes inside the Daily Planet, where Perry White is front and center. I’ve missed the Planet and its staff in the pages of Superman as of late, so it was good to see Perry be the main focus of that, as the patriarch that he is. Among the staff we see Jimmy but also others such as, Steve Lombard and Annie. Sadly I don’t think Ron Troupe or Cat Grant were there, and maybe Cat has been replaced with someone named Trish Q.

One thing that JLGL has always been good at, is having characters in the scene, even before they’re called to come into focus. This is the case for Robinson Goode. When I went back to reread the story for the review, I noticed she is present in all the panels, before Perry introduces her. And in the following panels, you can see her watching Clark with great interest. This is the type of detail that only certain artists can pull off, and JGJL masters at this. If you go look at his Teen Titans run from the 1980s, it’s the same, no character in the background is just there, they all serve a purpose.

DC Nation #0Loved the way Clark recounted the story that he was covering, featuring Superman, this was done so seamlessly, without loosing track of the flow of the narrative. Again, it goes to shows how much of a master JGJL is of this craft. The Clark Kent to Superman change as he flies off the Daily Planet roof is again classic, but also cinematic. I could almost hear the John Williams theme in my head, as I read that panel of the story.

That said, I need to mention Dexter Vines inks. They did not over power the pencils in any way, and you could see how the line work really emphasized the emotion of the story. Very clean and crisp. Alex Sinclair’s colors are great as always. Not overly saturated, but full of life and bloom.

The art was a real joy to behold, well done DC Nation.

5Other Stories – 5: The book features two other stories, the first being a Batman tale, featuring the Joker, where he has basically held a man to hostage in his home, waiting for an invite to Batman and Catwoman’s wedding. Without giving anything away, it is a Joker story in classic fashion, which is beautifully illustrated by the very talented Clay Mann.

The second is a prelude to the Justice League: No Justice story line, written by Scott Snyder, James Tynon IV and Joshua Williamson. As the different squads of the League move toward a single objective. The highlight was the art, provided by the awesome Jorge Jimenez.

Both stories are a 5/5 in my book, so if you’re on the fence about getting this book, you get 100 x the content of what the cover price is.

5Cover Art – 5 (Garcia Lopez): What an excellent cover featuring the flagship hero of DC. The cover had a classic Bronze Age feel, but more than that, it was a Superman cover with a shirt rip by one of the greatest artists ever to work for DC.
5Other Cover Art – 5: My man Jorge Jimenez takes on 2 covers featuring the JL, and Clay Mann takes on the Batman cover. All covers are excellent, and I wouldn’t not pick up this issue, featuring any of them as the man cover.

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