Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Superman #40 Review

Written by: John Romita Jr.
Art by: John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson and Dean White
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 29, 2015

Move Along

I don't know the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that lead to Geoff Johns leaving this book and thrusting John Romita Jr. into the Writer/Artist seat for this issue, but I was looking forward to see what he could do.  My first guess was that this would be one of those "silent issues" that the hipsters all love, but I loathe.  Luckily, it wasn't.  Nope, this is a comic with word balloons and inner monologue and all those fancy things that come in your standard comic.  So, how was the debut of John Romita Jr. the writer?  Let's find out...

I know that it is a natural thing to want to play with a shiny, new toy.  Heck, Eric here at Weird Science still likes to do that every night with his action figures and such, but this is getting old.  What am I talking about?  The Solar Flare, of course.  Superman's new "iconic" power is being passed around like an early 90's Jerky Boys tape and excuse me if we have not seen this all before...the last few months.  The only thing that Romita Jr. adds top the mix is bad dialogue and an awful story.

If you don't already know, Superman's Solar Flare messes shit up in his immediate vicinity including Supes' clothes and his powers.  He usually has a new set of duds handy, but the powers are gone for 24 hours.  It's the powerless aspect that seems to have piqued the imagination of every Superman writer around.  While Romita Jr's idea of Superman wanting to figure out his new power is decent enough, he just doesn't seem to know how to get there from here.

The coolest aspect of the issue is where Romita Jr goes horribly wrong.  Having the Justice League help Superman is something that readers probably were excited for since we rarely have gotten interaction of this sort in this book.  However, if this is what we get, I want to take it back and pretend it never happened.

I know it might sound mean, but Romita Jr. may have written the worst Batman I've ever read.  He seems superficial, goofy and just plain clueless.  Romita Jr. doesn't do much better with the rest of the members, either.  Unfortunately, Superman is the worst of the bunch.  He cracks awful jokes and just seems far from super.  I know he's powerless, but he also seems like a clod.

This throwaway story ends with a cliffhanger that I'd like to see explored later, but by the end of the book, I just wanted the pain to end.  I'm sure other reviewers will say the same thing, but Romita Jr. has stuck with the art side of things all these years for a reason.

Unfortunately, I didn't like the art in this issue either.  I have grown tired of Romita Jr.'s Superman over his brief run, but this issue takes the cake. The Justice League (with the exception of Wonder Woman) just look bad.  Seriously, his Batman made me laugh out loud it was so bad.  I know some of you out there will question me with your "I bet you can't do better" talk and you are right.  I can't draw for shit, but that's why I work in a factory everyday  John Romita Jr. is a celebrated comic book artist, but you would never be able to tell form this issue.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue may be the writing debut of John Romita Jr., but don't let that get you too excited.  It is not good.  It is also unnecessary and will give you that been there, done that feeling.  Just sit patiently and wait for the real book to resume in June.

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  1. Is "Marvelwacky" an adjective? It needs to be, it best describes what went wrong here. What works for Marvel does not necessarily work for DC, and JR JR doesn't have a feel for DC.

    So much of this could have been fixed with tightened up word balloons, because the bulk of it was conceptually workable. I don't even mind Bruce making one or two jokes to Clark, because they are close enough for Bruce to occasionally drop his guard. But every single character here was interchangeably Captain Wacky, and it didn't click. If you've got any feel at all for Aquaman or Wonder Woman, you know that the "hand over the eyes" scene wasn't right for either one of them (both of them being royalty from cultures that don't have our puritanical views on nudity).

    The thing that grated on me the most was "I've always been curious about 'being' human. I'm aware of human feelings but I'm not aware of feeling human." Really, JR JR? I could have sworn that Clark didn't get his powers until late teenage. It's a great example of what could have been done with an improved word balloon: "I've had my powers since I was seventeen. I think it's healthy for me to be reminded, now and again, what it's like to not have them." That's more in line with Superman, I think, without having to get too wordy.

    1. Everything you say is the truth. It didn't even strike me, but it is the "Marvelwacky" writing that killed this issue. JR JR doesn't have a feel for DC (yet?) and while this may work for, say the Avengers, it doesn't for the Justice League. The basic premise seems off and I didn't like the quips between Batman and Superman at all.

      As far as "being Human"...I hated that as well and your idea is spot on.


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