Superman has revealed his secret identity to the world. How will the planet’s heroes react? That’s the big question we were told this extra-sized special would address. And the answer? What do the members of the crimefighting community have to say?
About a sentence each over a busy two pages.
Sure, Batman and Wonder Woman have a private chat in Wayne Manor and the Batcave.
Booster Gold gets a couple of pages.
And that’s pretty much it. The rest of the book isn’t awful – there are two good short stories, in fact – but this isn’t a big picture look at the heroes’ reactions, it’s basically a Superman special. There’s business involving the mysterious box Lex Luthor left with Lois ages ago which turns out to be an overdressed revelation linked to Action Comics.
There’s a visit by Superman to his favourite Smallville High teacher.
He checks in with Jimmy Olsen.
There’s a two-page vignette underlining modern Lois Lane’s habit of doing things behind Clark’s back for no good reason. And she hired a staff? How much does the Daily Planet pay?
And of course, the inevitable flashback to Pa Kent’s Barn of Homespun Wisdom.
‘Your honest best.’ I like that. It’s just a shame we see this kind of thing so often. Also, Jonathan swears in front of Clark. No way.
And whatever could this mean?
Perhaps Clark and Lana had a Charlie Brown and Lucy Van Pelt thing going. Or maybe the two statements aren’t related ie did someone bully Clark, and is something involving Lana upsetting him?
The tale of the teacher is really sweet, I detect the hand of Bendis here – annoyingly, the issue credits are bundled together with no specifics. I’m pretty confident in attributing the gorgeous, clean art to Scott Godlewski, it’s just a shame the teacher seems so sad. And I cannot believe that without using his super-abilities to cheat, kid Clark could manage only a c-minus average. Come on Mr Bendis, we journos are a tad brighter than that.
The Jimmy Olsen tale made me sad, of course he’s upset at Superman and if the Man of Steel can’t tell that from his body language, never mind his super-senses, he’s an idiot. That’s some clever writing from Matt Fraction and subtle composition from Steve Lieber.
How weird that I’ve followed Booster Gold for decades and never had any idea he was dying to reveal to the world that Clark Kent is Superman. Oh well, I like the note of optimism that closes the scene.
The bit with Diana and Bruce is the story I liked least… Batman is jealous that he can never go public with his secret ID? While I agree Clark’s decision is going to bite him on the behind, no way is Bruce that small a man. And boy, will Greg Rucka ever acknowledge that he’s writing comics, not novels, and not waste page space with drawn-out conversations and empty moments? I like the murky art from Mike Perkins, and the colours by, presumably, his Lois Lane partner Gabe Eltaeb, simply glow.
As for the stuff I came for, the reactions of the heroes, they’re nicely drawn by (who ya gonna call?) Kevin Maguire, but no one really says anything hugely surprising. And Plastic Man is beyond annoying. For the record, I’m with John Constantine. Oh, and we still don’t get an in-story reason as to why Harley Quinn, seen in the set-up to this comic in a recent issue of Superman in the Hall of Justice, is there.
The framing scene with Lois and the Lex Box is lovely to look at, I think that’s Mike Norton drawing, perhaps Andy Troy colouring? And the opening Smallville bit, Norton too? Perhaps Ma Kent’s bike is a Norton, and it’s a clue! Dang the lack of proper credit breakdowns, apologies to any creators I miscredit… perhaps you could have a word with your employers?
Here’s what we do get.
Editors, must try harder.
The Bryan Hitch cover, coloured by Alex Sinclair, is fine. Serviceable.
If you’re thinking of buying this comic, I’d say, by all means do. If you have time to spare and plenty of cash. Otherwise, it’s eminently skippable. Yep, there are a couple of nice stories, but nothing that screams ‘unmissable’. All the art is at least decent. But there’s no Wow! moment. No big surprise. No insightful new piece of characterisation. Nothing that especially moves things forward. Not even an action scene to speak of. The nearest thing to an essential moment is the Jimmy scene, and that could have been worked into his current maxi-series.
On the basis of this, should I even bother to buy the accompanying, supposedly complementary, Superman: Villains?