Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Superman #681 Review

Written by James Robinson
Art by Renato Guedes and Jose Magalháes

The New Krypton storyline kicked off last week in a rather low-key opening issue. Picking up right where that special ended, one hundred thousand Kryptonians have taken up residence on Earth in the newly rebigulated (why, that's impossible!) city of Kandor, now located in the Arctic, near the Fortress of Solitude.

Obviously, the people of Earth have taken notice of several thousand Supermen flying around the world and taking in the sights and this issue gives us some insight into how these people are handling the situation.

Herein lies the first problem I had with this issue - why are people so shocked at this? They are acting like this is the first time they've seen people that can fly or aliens or super powered beings when the whole planet is crawling with them. You can't spit without hitting someone with powers in the DCU, yet Perry White is pulling the entire Daily Planet staff off their regular assignments to cover the Kryptonian story.

While this, in itself, isn't that big a deal, when the whole issue focuses on this fantastical reaction to their arrival, it makes it difficult for me to take the premise seriously.

The other problem I have with this issue is the same problem I had with earlier issues of Robinson's run - the dialogue. If you had no problem with the broken English and the continuous, "what a good boy", talk to Krypto from those earlier issues, you probably won't mind Perry White not knowing the difference between the Antarctic and Arctic nor the stiff dialogue between the JLA/JSA members and Superman nor any other dialogue from the issue. Personally, I can't believe this is the same person that wrote Starman and feel either Robinson or his editor, maybe both, are asleep at the wheel when these books get published.

In terms of the actual New Krypton story, this issue simply saw the Kryptonians assemble rather large selection of delegates to meet the president of the United States. Most of the issue was spent showing public reaction to the Kryptonian arrivals and a brief meeting with Superman and a few members of the JLA and JSA, where they expressed concerns over one hundred thousand Supermen showing up out of nowhere.

For the second issue of this event, I found having the focus almost exclusively from the human perspective a tad disappointing. It's been two issues of this story and the only Kryptonians we've met are Supergirl's parents. Sure, we see others flying around and taking up space, but we've yet to see anyone interesting or noteworthy or even potential villains from the group and it's turned this huge influx of Kryptonians and made it feel like only one or two showed up.

The only surprise of the issue came in the form of the final page. During the meeting between the president and the Kryptonian delegates (aka, Supergirl's parents), Doomsday comes crashing down into Metropolis, much to the shock of everyone. To be honest, Doomsday comes off as a one trick pony and, try as DC does, that never really changes. Since killing Superman, he's been routinely defeated and was taken out rather easily back in Infinite Crisis with two Supermen. With an entire army of Kryptonians, I can only see this being done in one or two pages next issue. As for who sent him, I'm guessing General Lane and Lex Luthor released him on Metropolis.

Verdict - Check It. I think the issue only serves to downplay the actual Kryptonians with its human perspective and Robinson's dialogue has continued to turn me off of his Superman. The issue was a decent continuation of the New Krypton storyline, but it lacks the impact and appeal of Johns' setup issues.

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