- Posted by Johanna on February 1, 2008 at 9:45 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics
Man, I picked the right week to cut back on reviewing superhero comics! There was nothing out this week. Wait, I take it back — there were four Avengers title, because superhero comic publishers have never figured out balanced releases. I don’t care about any of them, though.
So what did I read? Action Comics #861, only because of my strong nostalgia for the Legion of Super-Heroes, and The Spirit #13.
Action Comics #861 wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, either. My favorite part was seeing the return of Ivy, the young plant controller, even if it was a fake out. (Ivy appeared primarily in Legion of Super-Heroes V4 #13 and #51. She was cute and had spunk.)
This storyline has the potential to be great, but it never gets there. The idea of a xenophobic future Earth afraid of aliens to the extent that they’ve rewritten Superman’s origin to make him purely human is an intriguing one with modern resonance, but although it’s frequently mentioned, it’s not often explored or tied into the otherwise-generic “battle of the planet empires” main plot. Plus, there’s the random murder/torture of having powers/cruelty elements so common in today’s superhero books, which have no sense of discretion or restraint.
We get a surprise an issue, roughly, but the pacing is standard current “drag it out to meet some specified number of issues”. And why is this story not appearing in the LSH title since it’s a LSH story guest-starring Superman, not the other way around? Is it only because this is being written by Geoff Johns? While I’m asking questions, Gary Frank’s art is stiff and vaguely unpleasant; didn’t his work used to be more attractive?
My new rating: I’ll read it if it’s in the house, but I won’t make a trip to buy it.
For those of us still having trouble realizing that it’s already February of 2008, the cover of The Spirit #13 didn’t help. You could bill the Holiday this Special is covering as Valentine’s Day if it wasn’t for the Santa hats, gift wrapping, and gingerbread men. Then the first story is set on Halloween. Given the lack of coordination (and lack of theme followthrough), it looks like someone is publishing the sweepings at the bottom of the art drawer. This story is overwritten, trying too hard to be Eisner-like, and sometimes hard to follow, which is the opposite of Eisner.
The second piece, by Dennis O’Neil and Ty Templeton, is much better, as you’d expect from two such experienced talents. It’s straightforward, and I’m not sure it had to be a Spirit story (as opposed to a Batman story or any hero, really), but the look is quite good, with strong lines making a night of rainy menace and dirty work.
Gail Simone, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks end the book with a mostly wordless story where icons take the place of dialogue. I like the snowy setting and the icicle criminal queen. It’s simple, but it’s got a message (beyond good beats bad), an acronym joke, and heart. It’s ambitious and experimental, which makes it the most Eisner-like in the book.