Mild Mannered Reviews – Justice League #4

Mild Mannered Reviews – Justice League #4

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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)

Click to enlarge

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.

3Story – 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?
Justice League

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.

Justice League

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.

4Art – 4: A fine looking book, especially the Superman scenes, too bad he’s moaning about losing.
5Cover Art – 5: That cover speaks volumes. “What do mean you cannot do it? You’re Superman!”
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MattComics
Member
Even before Nu 52 DC spent years throwing various versions of his origin at the wall in what feels almost like rapid succession yet barely committing or not committing to any of them. It seems to me that at least to an extent it’s kinda difficult to nail down exactly what Pre-Nu52 Superman is? I just mean this in the sense that he’s basically the guy who started in Man Of Steel no.1 and went through the Death/Return arc and married Lois. But yet he’s Birthright,Secret Origin,and Busiek run Superman to? I don’t mean this in a strict Continuity Cop… Read more »
BBally
Member

I think its simply because DC is also trying to appeal to the crowd who prefer the Superman from the John Byrne era, who aren’t into anything remotely close to Pre-Crisis Silver Age power level Superman. I remember reading comments from comic readers who said they stopped following Post Crisis Superman once they brought back some Silver Age elements in the 2000s such as breathing in space…etc

liheibao
Member

That’s a shame. However, the fault is all on DC’s shoulders.

lcmcbain
Member
I’m inclined to agree as Silver Surfer, Thor et al that can do the same don’t seem to be hindered as such by their fan base or others. Besides, he wouldn’t be breathing in space because there is no air to breath. The lack of Oxygen would simply not bother him. The problem with his inconsistency is it’s pervasive. I simply hate that writers think a nuclear missile or bomb would do anything to him except make him stronger. The sun is millions of nuclear reactions every second. (assuming he does in fact get stronger the closer he gets to… Read more »
MattComics
Member
Personally I can basically enjoy Superman at any power level as long as it’s done well. But Byrne-ish levels seem to be the most weildy while still having his powers be grand and spectacular but not being totally off the charts like Silver/Bronze Age or going back to Golden Age levels. But I can understand the frustration that it often seems like every writers solution to tackling Superman is down-grading him in some way. Down-grade his powers. Down-grade his morals. Down-grade his costume to jeans and t-shirt, etc. Always having to be reduced or compromised in some way. I’d say… Read more »
lcmcbain
Member

I don’t disagree, although I do prefer him to be more super than any other. My issue has more to do with the inconsistency and lack of reason and logic within the boundary’s set.
And by all rights, he should be one of the smartest on the planet due to his parents and thus genetics alone. And that does not even take into account the enhancement that should come from the Sun. But alas, it seems to be much easier for writers to simply take away as you said.

liheibao
Member
“But Byrne-ish levels seem to be the most weildy while still having his powers be grand and spectacular but not being totally off the charts like Silver/Bronze Age or going back to Golden Age levels.” That is because so many readers came in with Byrne and haven’t read a Silver or Bronze age comic. Those two great ages are usually melded into one, and Superman’s abilities become a burden because he can do anything, juggle planets, etc. However, Aquaman receives an uptick in power, and no one complains. The Flash can run faster than ever, travel through time, steal speed,… Read more »
Kal L
Member
I liked the issue. I feel that it was a solid Justice League story (or chapter in a story). Shows that all members of the League are struggling with the current calamity, and it’s not an easy fix. I especially enjoyed the scenes of Lois asking Batman to have faith in her husband. Really well written. Curious to see where the Cyborg angle is headed for the next issue. So sorry to criticize your review liheibao, but it seemed rather a big moaning session on the lack of information as to what Superman this is meant to be, rather than… Read more »
liheibao
Member

Yeah, but you liked the issue.

Kal L
Member

So… Are you saying there was nothing to like about the issue at all?

liheibao
Member

Not at all, but you liked it whole hog, so my review, for you, is mere “moaning”.

Kal L
Member

“No I in fact didn’t like it “whole hog”, however I did enjoy the issue. Your review mentioned very little about any of the JL members and everything else that was going on.
Yes I did think you “moaned”, because your review mentioned nothing about the current story, and a whole lot about Superman’s lack of power levels etc…

I’m not trying to attack you in any personal way, and I do feel your argument has merit. But not at the expense of a whole review of this issue I feel.

liheibao
Member
A review can be of the whole issue, portions, or a sequence of the story that drives it. If the overall story was potent enough to overshadow the Superman sequence, I would have wrote that. However, as the players are in the same stance that they were last issue, and since Superman’s actions were the draw of this installment, hence the cover, it’s fair game and a fair review. Superman’s mission to the Earth’s core was the cliffhanger of the last issue, and the teaser on the cover. His actions didn’t live up to the build up, making this issue… Read more »
Super El
Member
There have been several little meek rumors about how unruly the Superman staff has been in regards to the character and the creators. You see stuff like one of its leaders being accused of sexual harassment. Their policy of darkening the suits in an effort to remain “relevant”. Their several cases of shelving imaginative ideas like that “Super League” arc that never got to see the light of day just so the death of New 52 Superman and Rebirth could take us by surprise. How Guen Yang’s “Immagrent Raised in the States” approach got hijacked into being about “Truth” Superman… Read more »
LarGand
Member
I really do not see the problem with placing reasonable limitations on Superman’s powers – in my lifetime, I felt most comfortable with the John Byrne incarnation of Superman, who could fly supersonic (but clearly wasn’t as fast as the Flash) and had to breathe every once in a while (hence the respirator he wore when he exiled himself in space after executing the genocidal rogue Kryptonians in the ‘Pocket Universe’). That’s the incarnation who fought – and, remember, was beaten to death by – Doomsday. He’s more heroic for achieving incredible feats despite his (very few) limitations, for battling… Read more »
Super El
Member

Even John Bryne’s Superman survived being at the center of an exploding sun-eater that sent him back in time, and also got into supernatural conversations in less of a nanosecond.

If anything, the John Bryne version is stronger than this current one.

liheibao
Member

Byrne fans never read those issues. ;)

Super El
Member

If I recall correctly, those issue were probably one of the best of that era. Although I do believe that it’s due to the fact that Mark Waid was one of the editors in one of those stories, and Byrne had little to do with it.

Like I said, it’s probably the best of the Byrne era. Mostly because it actually felt like a Superman story, rather than that of a Marvel Character

Edit: It was Roger Stern that wrote the former story, same guy who wrote “Panic in the Sky!” if I recall correctly. Definitely Bryne era Superman.

liheibao
Member

You’re correct with both. Don’t forget “The Earth Stealers”, written by Byrne, where Superman pushes a planet sized ship, filled with planets. Byrne lovers hate when I bring that one up.

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