Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Superman #700 - DC

Another fantastic issue, and . . another landmark anniversary celebration. Superman reaches issue #700. I'm including both issues, as usual, with this posting, but . . I thought it would be interesting to look back on the other landmark covers for this book. Let me know what you think. The covers for this issue are done by Gary Frank and Eduardo Risso. But I think the real news that comes with this celebration. And really overshadows almost anything else, is that J Michael Straczynski will be taking over the stories on this book as of next issue. And as well, he will be writing Wonder Woman. What a fantastic coup both for him and for us. I can't wait to see what he has in story for Superman's character. And if the prologue of Grounded in this issue is any indication . . it's going to be a hell of a ride. Oh yeah, on top of all this . . this is the 75th anniversary of DC Comics . . National Periodicals. So it should be a heck of a year. Anyways, I need to go through this issue first. We start out with a look into Lois & Clark's life as we see, maybe, the first meeting of them as she realizes that Superman has finally returned to Earth. It should be an emotional story . . and it is, but . . if you know Lois, you know that she's definitely not one of those 'hearts & flowers' type girls. So of course they meet up in action. And as usual, Superman swoops to her rescue, saving her from something that she probably had not business being tangled up in. But you know Lois . . when she catches the scent of a story . . neither heaven nor hell can block her path. And . . Superman saves her from the Parasite. And then they have their little emotional connection. But even that has to be done in spectacular fashion, as Superman takes Lois for a flight across the city. This story is by James Robinson and Bernard Chang. By the way, the cover to issue #600 here, on the right, doesn't actually say it. In 1986 they relaunched Superman's series, starting over with issue #1. The previous one ended with issue #423. And of course the John Byrne origin mini series. It was terrific at the time, but now you can pick it up for peanuts. Anyways, so that would put issue #177 as the actual #600 issue. At that time they weren't all wrapped up in the renumbering, or actual numbering as they are now. But, I think, after 75 years, they deserve the credit where the credit is due. The same is true for issue #500 here, on the left, that is actually issue #77 from that 1986 series. This issue falls in shortly after the Death of Superman story-line . . Funeral for a Friend, and is one of the first issues where there's a promise, or hope, of his return. Of course, we all knew he wasn't going to be gone long. Anyways, the second story of issue #700 is a Superman/Batman tale. Which I thought was appropriate, considering how much history these 2 have together. It was an older tale . . from when Dick was Robin, and still in school. It was one of the first meeting of Superman and Robin, and I'd like to think helped form the relationship and friendship that Dick and Clark share. But overall . . it was just a fun tale. It was written and drawn by Dan Jurgens. Who, as it happens, also was a big part in the previous 2 Superman story-arcs that I mentioned, and culminated with issue #77/#500 above. Kind of a coinkidink there. Anyways, the next 2 issues . . issue #400, then #300 . . I have to go in reverse order here . . these 2 are close to my heart because as a kid I actually bought these 2 off the comic rack. You know, the squeaky wire rack that rotated so that you could see all the new comics? I used to get my books from a carry-out down the street from our house. We lived on a farm, so that was the neatest thing that we could drive through this place to pick up our groceries. But I still made them stop and get out because otherwise I wouldn't be able to look at the books. Plus . . look at that price . . 30 cents. But at the time, it was still more than a loaf of bread, so . . I had to be choosy about which ones I got. I was only allowed 3 per visit. So . . back to our current issue. In the final story of the book . . Grounded, by JMS and Eddy Barrows, we get a look at Superman, and the world, as he comes back from New Krypton and tries to re-acclimate himself into society. The problem is . . as so often happens, the world has changed. And I think the point of this story is that Superman realizes that he has to earn the trust of these people again. We've seen a lot of stories in the last few years about how the average Joe is becoming more and more suspicious of the world's heroes. We see how people are starting to question their morals, ethics, and motivations. Not to mention . . 'What are they really getting out of this?' Anyways, this stories takes that theme but shows it to us from the opposite direction. Superman, I think, is recognizing these concerns and questions in the eyes of the public, and realizes that in order to be accepted by them, once again, he has to walk among them . . live in their shoes . . show them that he can be Grounded. I thought it was a really great beginning to this story-line, that showed some very stoic moments between Superman and some of his fellow heroes. The story ends with 2 young boys playing baseball and watching Superman as he walks across the park, in the distance. One boy asks, 'What's he doing? Why's he just walking away? Why isn't he flying?' To which the other boy replies, ' I dunno . . but it must be important.' I thought that was a great final scene. And then in the back of this book we get some previews, and comments on the upcoming story-lines that'll be running through the various Superman titles. First we read Paul Cornell's comments on Action Comics as it heads towards it's landmark issue . . #900. And not a fake #900, as has been done at Marvel a couple of times now. This is a #900 issue that has been a long time coming . . one issue at a time. Anyways, Pete Woods is doing the art on that series. Supergirl has some interesting stuff coming up. Brought to us by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle. And finally . . Superboy will be back. The first issue will be out August 25th, with a preview in Action #892. And it will be handled by Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo. So all in all, I think, the future is looking pretty bright for Superman and his fantastic cast of supporting characters. And I thought this was a great issue. I thought it definitely earned it's place in this fantastic array of Anniversary issues. And I have them all except the last one. I still can't bring myself to pay that much for a comic-book. But . . I know I will. Eventually!

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