Mild Mannered Reviews – Justice League #4
Justice League #4
Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 7, 2016
Cover date: November 2016
“The Extinction Machines” – Part 4
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Penciller: Jesus Merino
Inker: Andy Owens & Jesus Merino
Cover: Fernando Pasarin & Brad Anderson
Variant Cover: Yannick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn
Reviewed by: T.A. Ewart (aka liheibao)
The Justice League continues to battle against the latest threat to Earth, with next to no success. Every turn has the Green Lanterns, Flash, Aquaman, and company losing ground at a steady pace. Cyborg learns what’s in store for the Earth, and can only surmise it as being out of options. Much rests on the shoulders of Superman, but while Lois Lane believes in him, the Man of Tomorrow isn’t quite as confident.
Story – 3: The Superman scenes took me out of the story. Slice it how you like, but he shouldn’t have a problem with this scenario, and the line about breathing is really confusing. Pre-New 52 Superman hasn’t needed to breathe since “Our Worlds at War”. In Superman #6, by Tomasi, he battles in space with never a mention of such a necessity. It’s confounding, but also an inconsistency across the board. Rebirth Superman is being scaled back, for whatever reason, and it’s not a good fit. Is this the Superman before the 2011 reboot? Who had a career as Superboy? Who flew through the sun and remained there to power up? Who held a black hole in his hands. Heard Jimmy’s signal watch a galaxy away and flew back in seconds? If not, who is he?
DC decided to discard Superman for the New 52 version, and now it seems that they are withholding Superman in his full form. Why? So he can be slapped around by Aquaman? Have scenes where he says he’s not strong enough? It’s disheartening to see so much of his characterization brought back, but this senseless fear of him being as powerful as Superman has been shown to be. Looking after power for the sake of bragging rights is one thing, however, there is consistency to be had as well. Even with New 52 Superman, simple things couldn’t be established like whether on not he needed to breathe, and those things can make or break a story, for me, as was done with Superman Unchained. It’s one thing if Superman is being shown to be more powerful in Action as opposed to Superman, but that would be with an established character. Here we have Superman being brought back after Convergence, being shown to be a lower power in Superman: Lois and Clark, then supposedly up to full power now, but what does that mean? If this is the Superman from Pre-Convergence, he was capable of doing a lot more.
My critique/complaint, I hope, isn’t viewed as simply wanting power for power’s sake. There’s a two fold reason, 1) DC has spoke of legacy and I would like to see that legacy honored rather than dashed away i.e. “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. If Superman is what he was pre-reboot, he was once Superboy. Think of the stories, the mentoring he could offer his son from that perspective. Not just character, but experience, which is the thing that the Modern Superman, under Byrne was missing for too many years. 2) As much as character matters, so do his abilities. Why? Unfortunately, without some uber-abilities, Superman is treated as a nice guy/farmboy, who doesn’t have the sense to dodge a punch, attack from a distance, etc. Hitch’s approach was to punch first, think later, rather present a complex problem that required Superman’s abilities used a creative clever manner, which the Bronze Age… and Scott Lobdell, were able to display without resorting to Superman running short of oxygen, which just seems mundane, after so many years of reading. Character is king, no worries there, but the abilities are part of the parcel. I’d like to see both done well.
Art – 4: A fine looking book, especially the Superman scenes, too bad he’s moaning about losing.
Cover Art – 5: That cover speaks volumes. “What do mean you cannot do it? You’re Superman!”
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.