Failing At Life
Art By: Dan Jurgens, Rafa Sandoval, Ben Oliver, Bill Sienkiewicz, Trish Mulvihill, Lee Loughridge, Tomeu Morey, A Larger World Studios
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 30, 2015
Our issue begins wayyyy back in the past on Krypton and wouldn't you know it, a member of the House of El is fucking around with rockets. Instead of blasting babies off to space for the betterment of all mankind and to continue a doomed race, we see Im-El going against the Kryptonian High Council in order to save everyone from a comet heading for the planet and his rocket deflects it enough to save the day....... At least it saved the Kryptonian day because after being deflected, the comet eventually winds up around Earth, where a piece breaks off and falls to the planet. Well, of course this meteorite becomes that "Oh So Magic Sky Rock" that turns Vandal Savage from a raging cro-magnum into the most interesting man in the world....... at least at that point in time because...... you know, cave men and shit. It's funny to me that the writers had to go and make Vandal a part of the Superman lore, even if it's a six degrees of separation kind of way. I mean the character was fine the way he was and we didn't really need to have the Superman connection to Vandal's origin to have it be more personal, especially since Superman and Vandal will never know this Kryptonian connection. It's just odd. So yeah, Vandal's father was the chief of their tribe and while they were warring with another tribe, the meteorite fell and Vandal took the opportunity, while everyone was standing around like a bunch of gape mouthed simps watching the glowing fragment fall to Earth to cut the opposing tribe leader's throat, thus ending the battle. Vandal's father praised the falling sun for the victory, while Vandal pushed his emotions in deep, but as we all know if you do that long enough they erupt violently when you least expect it and for Vandal.......... well, that was like five minutes later when his father and him went to go check out the meteorite and Vandal beat his daddy to death for challenging Vandal's ownership of the rock.......... Which I guess is just the start of bad things because when he returns to his tribe with the meteorite, claiming himself to be the new chief, the rest of the tribe question him for his actions........ you know, with the patricide and all and he ends up killing his entire tribe for their shortsightedness. Anyway, we move throughout Vandal's timeline, where he eventually finds out about the wonderment that is astrology........ or astronomy..... one of those astro deals and finds out about the comet where his power came from. From that point on, it seems that Vandal is all about getting to that comet again in order to gain absolute power........ and after seeing how powerful Vandal's become in this story arc, I'm guessing he achieved his goal.
Goddamn, that's a lot of Savage. The other part of our book deals with Superman's ever growing depression about how he can't help the way he once did and even though Lex is now a part of the Justice League, it sure as hell doesn't mean that he's a friend because he calls out to the entire Justice League, omitting Superman's name from the roll call. Superman isn't one to be left behind so of course he shows up anyway, but in his weakened state everyone just gives him the cold shoulder as they head off to space to check on something that's massive enough to change the gravitational fields....... so yeah, that's a pretty big deal, but since Superman's been a jerk lately and only thinking of himself, he mopes about and even throws a tantrum on the computers Kylo-Ren style........ If you weren't tired of seeing Superman act the fool like this, then maybe I can piss you off with a little continuity error because we see Hal Jordan still rocking his Green Lantern ring here........... and there was really no reason to put him in this issue except to piss me off........ That's right, I'm taking it personally.
In the end, Superman finally.......... Well, he finally Superman's the hell up and teleports down to Earth to help a bunch of people trying to stop a runaway tanker truck....... and you know what? This is a really nice scene, where we get to see Superman realize that he doesn't have to be the all powerful protector that he once was, but instead could be a man of the people, a man who while working with the normal folk can make a difference. It's a spectacular moment that lasts for about two seconds because out of nowhere Vandal Savage shows up with his little Savages, Wrath and Hordr_Root........ and I guess their man-servant Frankenstein, aboard Storm Watch's Carrier. The fucked up part of all of this is after having a little pinata and RC Cola service after saving the day, the Carrier shows up with the Watchtower in tow and Vandal Savage sends out a pulse that kills all the people around Clark. From here on out I guess this story is going to become a lot like Jaws: The Revenge because this time........... it's personal.
That's it for this Annual of Superman and for the first time in a long time........... I found myself really enjoying a Superman issue....... Yeah, it's probably because it had all the writers of the Superman titles pitching in, but I'm just happy as hell that I could get behind Superman again. While I didn't mention it in the Explain It! section, a great piece of foreshadowing in this issue is when Superman is still acting like a goddamn child, complaining about not having powers and all that and we find out that Steel has been working on a super suit for our former Man of Steel and like when Superman got those shadow powers from Wrath, this development gets me excited because without powers........ well, Superman's just a bit of a jerk. Really though, there's a lot to enjoy in this book from Vandal's backstory, to the brief glimmer of hope in Superman finding his new place in the world and even just Lex being a jerk to Clark...... It's all a lot of fun and really, the only thing that really hurts this Annual is the fact that we have so many artists on it because the change is style are pretty drastic and just throws you out of the story.
Bits and Pieces:
This Superman Annual is great in the simple fact that it allowed me to enjoy a Superman book again....... It's been tough lately and while I normally get irritated when an Annual rears its over sized head, I have to say that this book is a blessing after having months of nonsense from this title. While the art is rough at times, the story alone should see you through with a smile on your face and a "holy shit" out of your mouth by the end.