Another smaller pull list this week, and – again – a distinct lack of ‘bad’. Seems like I’m going to have to start picking up some crappy comics just to flesh out this article. Or maybe not. Anyway… with a lot of titles competing for the ‘Good’ this week, I really wasn’t sure which of them to pick.
And then I thought about the overall ‘theme’ of this weekend. And suddenly, it became obvious.
So, without any further ado, I give you…
Superman Unchained #1 (DC Comics)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jim Lee
Review: When Superman Unchained was announced all those months ago, my initial reaction was a pretty standard one, by all accounts. “Shut up and take my money.” Having my favourite artist of all time joining up with one of my favourite writers of the moment to tackle the Man of Steel? What could possibly go wrong?
And, after finally getting a chance to read the first issue of Snyder and Lee’s take on Superman, I can safely confirm that my fanboy glee was entirely justified.
Snyder’s writing is as sharp as ever, giving us a brilliant insight into Superman’s thought processes right from the get-go as we are treated to some brilliant inner monologuing as he attempts to deal with a satellite falling out of orbit. It’s things like this which I feel a lot of Superman comics in the past have been lacking – a genuine connection to the man himself. Rather than watching as bystanders while he saves the day and thwarts the villains, this book gives us a much more up-close, intimate look at the Man of Steel and his all-too-human “come on Clark, you can do this” mentality.
The story is a relatively simple one, but delivered in such a way as to – in my mind, at least – breathe fresh life into a character I’d more or less lost interest in. All the familiar characters are introduced (Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Jimmy “Jim?” Olsen), slotting the story perfectly into the already-established New 52 world. Snyder also manages to interject some moments of humour along the way, including Clark’s choice of bagels and an absolutely brilliant swipe at a certain Gotham native.
As far as the artwork goes, well, I think I’ve made my feelings on Jim Lee painfully obvious in the past. In my eyes, the guy can simply do no wrong, and for the most part he tones down his usual desire for spectacular splash panels every couple of pages and instead provides some terrific looking characters and some brilliant storytelling. My only minor gripe about the issue is with the super-sized poster pullout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great piece of artwork, but something about having to pause to stop and unfold – carefully, to try and avoid ripping it – a massive four-page spread, just came across a little jarring to me. So while I applaud the idea (and the artistic ability on display), the execution missed the mark just a little for me.
Overall though, this is a beautifully executed comic that manages somehow to live up to the ridiculous levels of hype I’d built up for it in my own head. Crisp, insightful writing illustrated by one of the best the business has ever seen. What else could you possibly ask for?
Honourable Mentions: Snyder continues his amazing week alongside Greg Capullo with Batman #21 (DC Comics) which kicks off the ‘Zero Year’ event in style by giving us a great first look at Batman’s early years.
As usual, before we get to the cover of the week, I’ll share with you a few of the runners-up who really impressed me this week;
Superman Unchained #1 (DC Comics)
Cover by Jim Lee
At the risk of hammering this into the ground, I absolutely love Jim Lee, and while this image has been doing the rounds on the net for months (and disrupting pretty much every DC comic for the last few weeks with its double-page adverts), I still adore this depiction of the Man of Steel. Truly brilliant.
American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell (oneshot) (Vertigo)
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque
Another title I was a little late jumping on the bandwagon for, this one-shot cover shows Albuquerque’s incredible skills as he puts together a simple yet brilliantly eye-catching layout.
Thor: God of Thunder #9 (Marvel Comics)
Cover by Esad Ribic
The covers for God of Thunder have been stunning since day one, and Ribic continues that trend here with a beautifully coloured, brilliantly composed collection of ‘Thors’. Cracking stuff.
Batgirl #21 (DC Comics)
Cover by Alex Garner
The second chillingly disturbing Batgirl cover in a row, and given what I’ve been hearing about this title over the last few months, it’s one I shall definitely be adding to my pull list in the future.
And now, without any further ago… this week’s winner…
Li’l Gotham #3 (DC Comics)
Cover by Dustin Nguyen
Get used to this happening every time this comic hits the shelves. Nguyen is an absolute genius, and this Valentines Day cover featuring the ladies of Gotham pursuing the Joker is simply terrific. Love it, love it, love it!
And that, as they say, is that. Let me know what you guys thought, and what you enjoyed (and didn’t enjoy) from this week’s comic crop.
And don’t forget to tune in again next Saturday. Same Ceej time, same Ceej channel!
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