26 Jun 2013

New Comic Day - The Best of Superman

So it's been a while for the new comic posts. For one I do not like writing reviews on individual issues and instead on story arcs within said comic series. So I need time to build up the story arcs to really give my 2 cents. With the recent Man of Steel release and now it's widespread success has turned the world on to Superman stories. So I decided to look over through my old brain pan to figure out some of the best Superman stories out there that someone would like to read.

Superman "new 52"
Art by Jim Lee
I like Superman stories that include some sort of reflection or hearing what his thoughts comprise of since I and most readers will never be able to understand the power this one creature holds. Now I'm reaching into all the Superman stories I've experienced since I was.... urm in grade 4. So modern Superman is the only factor. Golden Age or Silver Age are far to foreign to me and the whole industry of comics as full fledged stories was still not there yet.

So see you after the break. 

First off is the mini-series Superman - secret identity, now found under the DC Comics Presents. Written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Stuart Immonen. Now stop me if your hear this before. It's about a young man named, Clark Kent. He lives in Kansas. His parents are hippies... wait ok... Their favorite comic book was Superman. 

Superman - secret identity
by DC Comics
Ok. Odd twist until the kid, Clark Kent gets powers ala Superman. He becomes and author and meets a girl... yes named Lois. He has to live in a world with no super heroes. He is the only Superman. He changes the world and we never new it was him. 

Brilliant art, great story. Well paced and full of insight into the mind of Superman, even though he is not Superman. Check it out. 

The following is a pre "new 52" story that would have fit better in the new DC timeline. Coming off the success of Batman story Hush, Jim Lee was asked to jump in and draw Superman to the written words of Brian Azzarello made famous by the hudred published issues of the series 100 Bullets.

Superman: For Tomorrow
by DC Comics
When you think of modern Superman stories that change the character and evolve not only Superman but how we the audience looks and understands him you are thinking of For Tomorrow. We have Superman being a victim, Superman interacting with faith and Superman being the villan. The Fortress of Solitude, Superman's Antarctic refuge, is changed. This story took Superman to a place that no author had dared. They changed everything about him but kept him still the same iconic.

Change is a dangerous word in comics, even more so with Iconic characters. For Tomorrow, shifted Superman. It evolved the character. The results of the story were set and kept until the 2011 "new 52" reboot. It's a complex twisting story that forces the reader to get out of their shell made from knowing Superman. It's good, it should be taken and experienced.

Death of Superman changed the comic world. Crossing through the four Superman series and Justice League America it told the story of Superman fighting something that could hurt him. Not through the mcguffing of the radioactive green rock 'Kryptonite'. No it was pure power, pure force and Superman could not stop it. It was Doomsday.

This was epic... now it's looked on as
the first of many 'heroic deaths'.
Death of Superman
by DC Comics
When the rest of the world sprung into action to save and resuscitate Kal-El (Superman's native given name), it was pages of Heroes trying to save not just one of them. They tried to save the first of them, the best of them, the greatest of them. He dies in the arms of his wife. The villan still breathing but crippled, still alive. The cost so great and yet it could happen again.

It would, it did... but still the story arc of the Death of Superman is still great. It was the risk that comics was willing to take risks. Reign and Return were also fun to read. I felt cheated that Superman was killed and brought back. Yet I think back to some wise old words, it's not the destination, it's the journey.

Superman/Batman was a great series that focused on the relationship between these two iconic comic characters. The best story between these two characters was the introduction of Supergirl. Titled the Supergirl from Krypton. It was the first time Michael Turner worked outside of Top Cow or Aspin Comics. It was the second story arc of Jeff Loeb since he started the series. It was published and dedicated to Christopher Reeve who passed during the run of the story arc.

Introduction of the modern Supergirl
art from the late great Michael Turner
by DC Comics
The story drew us into Superman's isolation and his need to keep the friendship with Batman. Superman needing to accept Kara Zor-El was so powerful it carried into his every action through the story arc. Want to see Superman get angry, kill his newfound cousin and threaten his parents in one attack. You do that and you'll see what the big guy can really do and how far he's willing to go to stop you. You find out what's important to Superman.

So here are my top 4 stories.

On my list to read is Geoff John's run through Superman: Secret Origin, Superman: Last Son of Krypton and Escape from Bizarro World. J.M. Straczynski's Superman: Earth One vol. 1 &2. Mark Millar has earned great acclaim for Superman: Red Son. Last but not least on my list to read is Alan Moore's story arc; Superman: What ever happened to the man of tomorrow?

Folks there are tons of Superman stories, many of them are pretty good. Many more are bland and boring. Yet there are gems that gleam and capture your attention.

Cheers folks.