In the here today, renumbered tomorrow comic book market of 2014, a 50th issue is worth noting. A great 50th issue is something to celebrate.
I may yet throw a parade for this done-in-one tale by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro – it’s the most amusing, charming story of Superman and Lois Lane in years.
Not coincidentally, ‘Mystery Box’ isn’t set in the current, New 52 continuity, where an armour-clad Man of Steel snogs kill-crazy Wonder Woman while Lois keeps house with poor, neglected Jonathan Carroll. Nope, this is classic Superman, with a kiss-curled hero rocking the red trunks as he romances Lois.
Which isn’t to say Diana isn’t around …
A quick recap – quick, because this is a breezy done-in-one, 20 sides of digital delight, and I don’t wish to ruin the fun.
Because fun is what this comic is, from the opening, which sees America’s favourite newshen handling an assignment in her own wacky way, to the close, as Lois and Superman celebrate St Valentine’s Day in a meeting of hearts and minds. The story sees Superman, knowing Lois has something for him, trying to decide on a gift for his gal. He chews things over with Justice League pals Batman, Aquaman and, yes, Wonder Woman as they go about their daily heroic business.
I love seeing the superheroes – my heroes – as friends; there’s not a whiff of tension between these guys, just warmth and respect. DeConnick’s dry humour shines through, and suits the Leaguers, while De Landro’s classically beautiful, winsomely witty linework brings an elegance to the action.
A further level of awesome is brought by the colours of Matthew Wilson, who straddles the line between naturalism and ‘pop’ with style. Add in the emphatically excellent letters of Wes Abbott and you have a gem of a story, one that would go straight into DC’s Year’s Best Comics Stories digest were such a thing still around (and that’s a hint, DC!).
Kelly Sue DeConnick should be writing a regular title for DC. A Lois Lane series showing us the many moods of Metropolis’ top reporter. A Supergirl strip, following on from her teasingly brief run which closed out the pre-New 52 series. Or a classic, all-ages Justice League strip – call it Super Friends 2014 and make it a digital weekly.
Valentine De Landro should be invited to draw any of these projects, maybe even asked what he’d like to draw. One thing I’d love Adventures of Superman’s savvy editor Alex Antone to do right now, though, is commission this issue’s creative team to produce a three-part Christmas tale guest starring the Justice League. I have no doubt they’d bring the cheer.
Because that’s what they’ve done here, given us 99 smiles for a scant 99 cents. Now that’s a gift worth getting.