Thursday, June 23, 2011

Comic Book Wednesday #6


Issue #6

So... my first missed blog. It happens. Just ask the guy who ran Buffyverse Comic Reviews.* I was working against deadline for some comics from a big ol' company that I'm excited to be working for, so I had to do that stuff during the breaks from my day job instead of this blog. Next week and, I'm sure, the subsequent weeks will show regular weekly updates to the CBW section of the blog.

Here we go!

Superman #712
Written by Chris Roberson
Pencils by... hey, wait a sec...

This cover clearly shows Superman... who isn't in the book.

Also, that seems to be either someone with a tan or *gasp* a non-white hero.

Wait a sec... the book I read didn't even have the name "Roberson" on it, nor did it touch on the Grounded arc at all...

Let's give this another try.

Superman #712
Written by Kurt Busiek
Pencils by Rick Leonardi
DC Comics

So, this happened. The original issue that we were supposed to get this month featured Superman continuing from where #711 left off. Funny how that works. One story flowing naturally from the one that came before it. Weird world, huh? Alas, the story was canned last minute in favor of... another story that got canned a few years back. There is some debate whether it was cancelled due to the appearance of a Muslim hero (as the linked article speculated) or because of kitties.

One way, you've got racism... the other, you've got intense silliness.

I'll let the sites that folks actually read speculate on that, though. As weird as the backstory to how this happened is, and as bad as I feel for the super talented guys behind the Grounded arc (especially Chris Roberson, whom I've become a giant fan of), I really enjoyed this nearly silent tale of Krypto the Superdog.

A lot of folks rag on Krypto, but to them I say this. Krypto is a dog who is important enough to wear a cape. How many people do you know that are important enough to not look completely ridiculous in a cape? I thought so.

On a somewhat serious note (though, how serious can you get when talking about a Superdog; well, pretty serious, considering the content of this issue), Krypto has always been one of my favorites. His death in Alan Moore's "imaginary tale" Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? is among the most moving scenes in the DC Universe. His limited role in recent years has been entertaining, as it's always fun to see Kal's best friend pop his head in.

Well, this issue is all him. It takes place "shortly after Superboy died in Infinite Crisis and Superman went missing." That threw me off a bit, because I haven't read Infinite Crisis, and though I'm somewhat familiar with the events of the book because of the other titles I've been following. I was worried that the comic would be so steeped in that storyline that it would be hard to jump into. And while the events of this issue are a major reflection of the tragedies that went down in IC, it is quite easy to follow.

We follow Krypto as he tries to make sense of life without Superman or Superboy, cutting back and forth from flashbacks (nice stuff and intense/sad stuff) to the present day scenes of Krypto revisiting places that he remembers as significant. It's full of touching moments like Krypto looking up hopefully every time a bird or a plane passes. The art is great, the tone is very quiet and very sad with a tinge of hope that only a dog can bring.

For comic book writers struggling with economy of words, check out Busiek. Dude knows what he's doing. "Less is more" is a cheesy phrase that isn't always true, but Busiek manages to pull off a decompressed story with big heart and minimal dialogue.

I really dug the issue, but I'm looking forward to getting back to Grounded in July so Roberson can give the long-running Superman title the ending he intended. Let's hope the final two issues don't involve cats.

This is a bit of an arbitrary PS, but I have to wonder if this issue will ever make it into a TPB. I love single issues, but I've got a big, beautiful library going on... and the completist in me fears that the random nature of #712 will prevent it from ever making it into a trade.


SOONER THAN NEXT WEEK: Got an interview with Supergirl writer KELLY SUE DECONNICK.

*Known in some circles as "Me."

** I wonder if the original cover was also cropped because of cats?

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