Graphic Novel/Comics Review


Superman: Infinite Crisis

(2006) various writers and artists, Titan Books, 7.99, trdpbk, 128pp, ISBN 1-84576-342-4

This is a terrible mish-mash collecting together all or parts of Infinite Crisis Secret Files and Origins 2006, Infinite Crisis 5, Superman 226, Action Comics 836 and Adventures of Superman 649. There are at least four writers involved and around 30 artists in this attempt to follow one of the plot-threads (Superman's, obviously) through the miasma that has become the Crisis. It is, and probably always was, doomed not least because the Crisis has been written so poorly, and presented so badly, that nothing was ever going to arise but confusion. And, as if to hammer home the point that the Crisis was, ultimately, pointless, we have also now had the first post-Crisis Superman volume, Superman: Up, Up and Away (2006, Geoff Johns, Kurt Busiek, Titan Books, 8.99, tpb, 192pp, ISBN 1-84576-348-3). As you might know, all the DC titles are picking up "1 Year Later" and this title collects Superman 650-653 and Action Comics 837-840 and opens by letting us know that Superman is 68 years old. Now this is fine from the perspective that Supes (in new continuity) didn't take part in WWII - he would have been a baby - and is even fine from the point of view of his age; after all, he's Kryptonian and "super", so why shouldn't he look younger than his 68 actual years of age. But, from the point of view of his having started his superhero career in his early twenties, and since he also met Wonder Woman back then (OK she's part goddess, so can't be expected to show her age either) and Batman, not to mention shortly after the members of the JLA, then all of those characters (that is, the mortal ones, not to mention their non-super-powered supporting characters) must also be around the same age, which means they should all be retiring and looking old, or people should be noticing that in their civilian identites their alter-egos are not ageing. To put it another way, for Batman to be in, say, his early-mid forties now, he couldn't have begun his superhero career until about 1980! Now none of these thoughts are anything new - don't forget that one of the original reasons for having the Crisis on Infinite Earths was to move certain heroes' origins from the forties to the sixties in order to justify their apparent ages in the eighties - but this seems to have been overlooked or ignored by the current Infinite Crisis, and the opening of "Up, Up and Away" seems to confirm this, so either most of the heroes are (even in 'new' continuity) pushing 70, or everybody else on the entire planet just can't count or be bothered to notice that there are a large number of seemingly immortal people about! As for the book itself, it opens with a Superman without powers having been enjoying a year of being plain old Clark Kent, but that doesn't last long as threats from Lex Luthor (now back to being a mad scientist type) and a resurgent Intergang (as if to further hammer home the point that we're in some analog of the Silver Age) surface, or re-surface, or something. Having lived through a Crisis or two in my time and, despite disappointments along the way, having put up with most of it and accepted most of it, I finally have to say that my credulity has been snapped by the current reshuffling of the universe which has been very sloppy indeed. I appreciate that, from a commercial standpoint, part of the reason for the Crisis was to reposition DC titles to appeal to, and to provide a 'jumping on' point for, new (and younger) readers, but I can't help feeling it's all been done very badly. If I had been collecting these comics, recent events would have made me drop them all. Not recommended!

And if you thought that there couldn't be anything worse than this, you'd be wrong, 'cos also now available is Superman Returns - The Prequels by Bryan Singer (Titan Books, 6.99, tpb, 128pp, ISBN 1-84576-379-3). Quick capsule review of the movie: Piece of Shit. Pointless plotline, pointless changes, too much stealing of lines from the 1978 movie. Lazy, lazy work. So, this collection of the four 'prequels' was bound to disappoint, and it did. First tale is a pointless retelling of Superman's origin as per the '78 movie; second tale, Ma Kent mopes around; third tale should have been interesting - Luthor's years in jail - but wasn't; final tale, Lois Lane mopes around, gets married, has kid. All so boring I could hardly stand to read it. I appreciate that there may be youngsters out there who haven't seen the '78 movie, but all I can say is that they should avoid both this comic and Superman Returns and go rent a DVD of Superman - The Movie and see how it really should be done.

Tony Chester


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