Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman Annual #1

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Superman Annual #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 30, 2016

Cover date: January 2017

“Tangled Up in Green”

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Penciller: Jorge Jimenez
Inker: Jorge Jimenez
Cover: Patrick Gleason & Alejandro Sanchez

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Clark roams around Hamilton County, his land and that surrounding it are suffering a terrible drought despite the recent spells of rain. He takes to the skies and discovers that anything in remote proximity to the farm is dried out.

As if on cue Dr. Alec Holland bursts from the ground warning Superman that he doesn’t belong on this earth. The avatar of the green, Alec is also known as Swamp Thing!

Swamp Thing tells Clark he was drawn to Hamilton because of the disturbances in nature and Clark recalls when his touch on the soil made it glow with blue energy.

Swamp Thing goes on to explain that Superman draws upon more solar energy than his predecessor and it is that solar energy being drawn to his location that is killing the earth around him. Superman agrees to help but when he pats Alec’s shoulder in reassurance the blue glow appears and begins killing Swamp Thing.

In pain Alec lashes out attacking Clark until Superman formulates a plan and drags Alec deep into the soil hoping the earth will cleanse him of the infection.

Cured, Alec realizes Superman has happened upon the remedy to the situation and offers to fuse with Clark. Misunderstanding Swamp Thing’s actions Superman refuses to comply so Alec grows to gargantuan size and swallows Clark whole.

Inside the avatar Clark awakens but his mind now one with Alec’s own and Swamp Thing realizes that until Superman embraces the future as a citizen of this Earth rather than a visitor he and the Earth will repel each other.

Superman embraces the green and is set free, with a new understanding of his new life and home.

5Story – 5: Dispelling the rumors that the blue glow in the soil was connected to The Watchmen, we instead find that after a year in action, Superman is no longer a strange visitor literally from another planet but one that has a wife, family and future on this Earth. It is an enjoyable tale that isn’t mired down by the current storyline and instead goes into looking at Clark himself.

I’m not unhappy about that, because it’s when writers tumble from one story to the next that the character loses himself and the writers begin to see Clark as a blue and red suit. By taking time to explore the person IN the suit we gain a new perspective and a fantastic story.
5Art – 5: Having an artist continually push themselves is an unforgettable experience. We’ve all seen artists fall back on ‘typical’ poses but Jimenez is always throwing in something new, sometimes as they are retread they get reclassified as iconic. The fact that Swamp Thing takes up more of the book than Superman would be a downside for many but not for me.

Alec’s power set only worked at making Superman more dynamic and going up against him was something entirely different.
4Cover Art – 4: A spooky, Vertigo-esque style cover that lives up to its promise. I’m not particularly sold on the color palette but overall it’s a great start to the new era of Annuals!
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Kal L
Kal L
December 2, 2016 6:51 am

Great review Adam, thank you. The art in this book was phenomenal! It was the highlight of this annual for me. Jimenez is simply fantastic, I want to see more Superman from him. Good thing he’s doing Super Sons early next year! I read this issue twice, I wanted to get the full gist of it. I was a little disappointed that the “blue” wasn’t Watchmen related, but I still have a feeling that something big is coming. We have to remember that Mr Oz came to Clark before he took up the mantle of Superman again for this Earth,… Read more »

December 2, 2016 9:02 am

Have to disagree with this review. I was initially excited that this story might shed some light on the mystery hanging over what, exactly, happened with the New 52 Superman and Lois Lane, and elaborate on the relationship between them and the current, pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark. But instead, what do we get? A lame, overlong, unnecessary and tension-free battle between two allies and some half-baked pop psychology straight out of a cheap self-help manual. So ‘The Green’ was feeling sick because this Superman was still too attached to his past? And all it takes for Clark to get over… Read more »

December 2, 2016 1:56 pm

This issue fell flat for me. Maybe if we had seen some evidence of Clark holding on to his past life (preferably in this issue, but even sometime in the past year), so that this actually felt as cathartic for us as they tell us it did for Clark.

Also, I’m getting pretty worn out with godlike adversaries just spouting nonsense about supposedly higher-dimensions or inner demons or whatever while they fight. It’s been going on month-after-month in Justice League, that was the entire Eradicator Arc. Give the villains something concrete to monologue about if they have to monologue.