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Review: Superman: Heroes #1

Superman: Heroes #1

I’m totally okay with Brian Michael Bendis finally allowing Superman to reveal his secret identity as Clark Kent. It seems like a sales gimmick or one that will be walked back in a couple years. It’s remarkably in-character and makes up for the half-assed “mystery” that was Event Leviathan. Superman: Heroes #1 shows the reactions to the big reveal. It does so from a variety of perspectives from Lois Lane to the Justice League. Drawn by the fantastic Kevin Maguire! to Clark Kent’s high school chemistry teacher in a sweet story by Matt Fraction and Scott Godlewski. Fraction also pens Jimmy Olsen’s reaction to his “pal” losing the secret identity. That features slick, emotive art from his Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen collaborator Steve Lieber.

And wait, that not’s all. After being terse in the Maguire 12 panel grid sequences, Batman gets to open up to Wonder Woman about his true feelings in regards to Superman’s reveal. It’s a powerful story written by Greg Rucka and drawn in atmospheric shadows by Mike Perkins. However, there’s room for comedy too. Booster Gold finally gets to shout that Superman is Clark Kent after keeping it in for so long because he’s from the future. This comic is a true marriage of different tones. Art and writing styles from Bendis and Maguire set up a running Plastic man gag to Batman coming up with legit, devil’s advocate style arguments for why Superman revealing his secret identity to the world is a terrible idea.

Bendis, Fraction, Rucka, Maguire, Perkins, Lieber, Mike Norton, and Godlewski use Superman: Heroes to show how important Superman is to the both the community of heroes in the DC Universe and the superhero genre as a whole. They also show his roots in Smallville, connections to Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, and the consequences of his actions. The best parts of this comic are connected to Smallville. The opening scene features a great conversation between Ma and Pa Kent and young Clark about feeling different or weird and having a greater responsibility to the world because of his abilities.

Superman: Heroes #1

The Fraction/Godlewski Superman and his chemistry teacher scene is really Eisner-worthy. From Godlewski’s clean line and the vivid colors to the underlying theme that it’s been Clark’s work ethic and moral compass that made him a great hero and man and not his superpowers. I also love how he draws Superman’s smile. Even if this means he got a C- in molecular chemistry. Clark Kent is the kid at the end of the bench who hustles for every loose ball, or the student that stays up late and goes to extra tutoring sessions that just happens to have the power of a god. Matt Fraction demonstrates his understanding of Superman’s moral character that pervades the “Truth” storyline as well as his, Rucka, and Bendis’ take on the Metropolis side of the DC Universe.

As evidenced by the “King Superman” plotline brewing over in Superman, Bendis isn’t afraid to look at the negative consequences of Superman revealing his secret identity. That extends to the moral dilemma he’s in as the Daily Planet is owned by Marisol Leone. However, that will be covered in later stories. Maybe Action Comics once the “Year of the Villain” shenanigans are over.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, Rucka and Perkins dig into it immediately in the form of the other 2/3 of the Trinity have a spirited conversation where neither Bruce or Diana is in the right. I really love the panels at the end of scene where Perkins’ heavy shadows lighten, and Diana tells Bruce that maybe he’s jealous that Superman can live his life out in the open and whole. The specters of Tom King’s botched Bat-marriage hang in the shadows of this one. Rucka’s dialogue gets to the core of Batman’s identity issues that have pervaded his best stories. He can’t retire or be a public-facing, but must strike fear into criminals as an archetype of fear.

Superman: Heroes #1 is a high note for Brian Michael Bendis’ current run on the Superman titles. It also features insightful writing from Matt Fraction as well as Greg Rucka reminding readers that he’s one of the greatest Batman and Wonder Woman writers. On the visual side, Mike Perkins shows a conversation can have just as much power as a good fight scene. Kevin Maguire is still the master of the superhero group shot. Steve Lieber’s comedic timing and use of beats works for friends being open and vulnerable together. Even if you aren’t current on Bendis’ Superman comics, Superman: Heroes #1 is worth picking up and dropping $5.99 on. It’s an intelligent and heartwarming take on the first superhero.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Greg Rucka
Art: Kevin Maguire, Mike Perkins, Steve Lieber

Art: Mike Norton, Scott Godlewski Colors: Paul Mounts, Gabe Eltaeb
Colors: Andy Troy, Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Clayton Cowles, Troy Peteri, Simon Bowland
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Detective Comics #1019

Detective Comics #1019

(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Rafael Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona
In Shops: Jan 22, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The Dark Knight is on the trail of the figure behind a brutal series of murders across Gotham City-and what he finds will send a cold shiver up his spine! A public attack on Bruce Wayne has brought the possible perpetrator of these murders to light…so what is an axe-wielding cult leader from the 1600s doing in present-day Gotham? Find out for yourself in the conclusion to Batman’s “Silent Knight.”

Detective Comics #1019

Preview: Detective Comics #1018

Detective Comics #1018

(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Rafael Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona
In Shops: Jan 01, 2020
SRP: $3.99

In the aftermath of “City of Bane,” the Dark Knight has found himself cold, alone, and missing one of the very foundations of his life as both Bruce Wayne and the Batman. But personal problems will have to wait-a mysterious series of deaths have been peppered throughout Gotham and it seems an element of the supernatural is at play in the form of a monstrous pagan spirit. Can Batman silence the demons within to stop the killing? Or will this silent night be for keeps?

Detective Comics #1018

Preview: Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1

Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1

(W) Mark Russell (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Mikel Janin
In Shops: Sep 11, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Lex Luthor has presented dark gifts to super-villains across the DC Universe, setting off what can only be called the Year of the Villain. Unfortunately, resources are limited, so not everyone got something. The Riddler is one such person, and he is most displeased about it. Was this merely an oversight or a deliberate slight? The Riddler is determined to find out which-and so should you!

Year of the Villain: The Riddler #1

Preview: Adventures of the Super Son #10 (of 12)

Adventures of the Super Son #10 (of 12)

(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski, Matt Santorelli (CA) Dan Mora
In Shops: May 01, 2019
SRP: $3.99

It’s the runaway train from hell! Superboy and Robin better hold on for dear life as they ride a 20-megaton cosmic engine of mass combustion (that’s a pun!) into their final battle with Rex Luthor! But Rex has got a brand-new army of shiny young super-villains ready to conquer all they survey…will the son of Batman and the son of Superman be enough to stop him?

Adventures of the Super Son #10 (of 12)

Preview: Adventures of the Super Sons #9

Adventures of the Super Sons #9

(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Dan Mora
In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
SRP: $3.99′

Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, may be behind them-but in order to beat the Gang and get home, the boys must saddle up to survive a wild wild world of the west! An unlikely guide on this lawless planet might just help Superboy and Robin survive…but what in the west world is Jonah Hex doing out here in space?! Hold on to your hats, this one’s going to be a bucking good time!

Adventures of the Super Sons #9

Preview: Adventures of the Super Sons #6

Adventures of the Super Sons #6

(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Dan Mora
In Shops: Jan 09, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The Super Sons are lost in time and space! On the run from the Gang and trapped on the Planet of Secrets and Mystery, Superboy and Robin have lost everything and gotten a glimpse of how their tomorrows may end. When the planet’s mysterious creator returns for his broken creation, the boys find out that tomorrow sucks as much as yesterday!

Adventures of the Super Sons #6

Review: Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1

Aquaman faces the truth behind Atlantis’ past and must find a way to reclaim the power of his birthright or watch the floodwaters drown everything he has ever loved! With the world at stake and the Justice League on their last sea legs in their battle against the Ocean Lords, Arthur makes the ultimate sacrifice to return balance to land and sea!

I’ve generally enjoyed “Drowned Earth,” a “summer popcorn movie” in comic form. Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth wraps up the story with an all-out assault against the space gods. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work and generally winds up being rather thin.

Writer Scott Snyder delivers action, there’s a lot of it as Aquaman, Mera, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and the Flash, are all that stand to stop the end of the world. But, Snyder delivers an ending that is fairly predictable in outcome and moments.

There’s the back and forth between Aquaman and Mera where Aquaman swears there’s another way other than murder. There’s the betrayal. There’s sacrifice. It’s all things we’ve seen before time and time again. While it’s still satisfying in ways, the issue still delivers little that feels new. Even a battle against a giant space kraken is something we’ve seen. But, it does set potentially interesting things up for some of the characters by issue end which Snyder has a talent for. It’s enough that I want to see to see what’s next.

The comic is handled by a rather large art team for its oversized issue. Francis Manapul, Howard Porter, and Scott Godlweski on art, Manapul and Hi-Fi on color, and lettering by Tom Napolitano deliver art that at time is very cool but differing styles are noticeable and frustrating. Both this issue and the previous entry in the event had multiple artists and the switch in styles was noticeable and a negative. The art isn’t bad, there’s just a shift which kills the flow in storytelling. It’s different enough that it’s obvious and feels like you’ve just jammed on the breaks after cruising. You notice it and makes the ride a little less enjoyable. Hopefully this doesn’t become a regular thing but it hasn’t helped what otherwise has been a visually entertaining event.

There’s not much depth here, this is big action popcorn theater. The scenes are over the top and the moments are checked off in predictable ways. The event has been a fun one overall and worth checking out in trade but overall, we’ve seen so much better from everyone involved.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Francis Manapul, Howard Porter, Scott Godlweski
Color: Hi-Fi, Francis Manapul, Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.15 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Batgirl #24

Batgirl #24

(W) Shawn Aldridge (A) Scott Godlewski (CA) Dan Mora
In Shops: Jun 27, 2018
SRP: $3.99

After narrowly escaping the mazes of her own mind, Batgirl swings back into action to help Jacob Cesaro, an old classmate who has recently made some bad life decisions. Little does she know he’s now Two-Face’s latest recruit-and the key to his plans to take over the city! But Jacob’s not in it for the money and power promised by one of Gotham City’s greatest villains…he’s got something much more valuable in mind!

Review: Superman Special #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got a special issue of Superman!

Superman Special #1 is by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltaeb, Rob Leigh, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez, Andrew Marino, Paul Kaminski, Mark Russell, Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair, Tom Napolitano, Marie Javins, Ian Flynn, and Kaare Andrews.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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