I Miss Superman!


I have been thinking a lot about an idea for this week’s article, and I realized the idea has been nagging me for awhile now, so I’ll just give into it.  

(Deep breath)

What the HELL is going on with the Superman books!?

Now, I get it–I know what’s going on with Superman.  He’s hanging out in New Krypton with Zod and all those folks and it is all very exciting that we are getting to take a look at Kryptonian culture and yes, wow, neat. Everyone can fly–but some not so good! And just look at those crazy animals!

Problem is, it’s making Superman really boring. Like, the last issue I had, Superman #690 was just basically touching on a few stories, none of which feature Superman at all.  In Action, we are half-heartedly following the adventures of Flamebird and Nightwing, which, okay…mildly interesting, I guess–but really, for the Action Comics Annual #12, when I read “At last! The origin of Nightwing and Flamebird!” I think I got a headache because my eyes rolled much farther back than I thought was possible.   but overall, the whole concept of a World Without Superman, which started off pretty interesting, is just kind of a mess.

Let’s take a bit of step back and let me rush to explain, that I am enjoying the World of New Krypton series. I like it, it’s got Superman in it, and it’s been fun to get a chance to see him dealing with world of Kryptonians. I am enjoying the world that Rucka and Robinson are creating, I think the idea of the guilds is pretty compelling, though I must admit, the 12 year old in me is disappointed that Krypton is not the nice fuzzy world that we were told about in the early books.  I always remembered Krypton being a noble planet, where the people lived in harmony, who had worked together to create a world that was beyond war and crime and all that. I dunno where I got that idea, maybe it’s just what I picked up from the old stories and records that I used to have. But I digress.

I don’t usually rant about this kind of thing, but, like I said, the whole Superman situation has been bothering me for a few reasons:

1 – The art is weak. Yup, I said it–it’s weak.

Now, this is dangerous ground, I realize, because art is so subjective, but, aside from Gary Frank, I think the art on most of the Superman books (and I am talking about World of New Krypton, Superman and Action–I don’t usually really read Supergirl, though I do enjoy some of the covers–I’ve begun and dropped it several times) has been depressingly bland. For some reason,  Pete Woods art just looks like it was done using markers or something. I find Renato Guedes’ art okay, but it’s just…there’s no soul in it, it’s just so clean. Even in the action sequences, everything feels frozen in time.  I actually enjoyed Superman #689, Mon-El’s world tour, but, still– it just felt like fluff.  Perhaps people like the work, but it just seems simplistic and hollow to me–it just rubs me the wrong way.  Action and Superman are arguably two of the best-known titles out there, and, as DC’s flagship property, I think the books deserve better work.  I have been disappointed, almost consistently, with the art in these titles, and the lackluster, flat, boring artwork is just one of several reasons I am considering dropping these books. Maybe having Gary Frank around for so long just backfired.


2 – Superman should have something to do with Superman.

Okay, yes, I realize Captain America was able to carry off not having the main character in the book, but in that case, Steve Rogers was dead, and the book became about the concept, the ideal, the legend of Captain America. Brubaker was able to make a pretty smooth transition to Bucky taking up the mantle of Captain America, and, indeed, the book held up just fine.  With Superman, we already know that Kal-El is on Krypton, he’s not dead, so we have this title about…who?  Like the last issue of Superman–oh, it just irritated me so much to pay $2.99 to read about nothingWorld of New Krypton should just be the subtitle to the Superman book.  Right now, Superman is just an empty title, devoid of anything interesting. If I wanted to read about Steel, I would go out and read a book about him–I don’t care about him at all, I just don’t. Same thing with The Guardian.  Like, what is he doing in the Superman book?! I am just gonna push this a bit further.  Here is the description for Superman #690:

As media mogul Morgan Edge fans the flames of Earth’s distrust of all things alien, Mon-El wrestles with his looming demise and what to do with his remaining life. At the same time, forces from the future must prevent Mon-El from meeting Sodam Yat – the Green Lantern from Daxam known as Ion – for the sake of tomorrow. And General Lane rolls out his plan to ensnare our hero by lining up a vicious crew of villains – but to do this, Steel must fall. It’s a wild ride setting up next month’s crossover event in the SUPERMAN books!

The above issue is, by its own admission, a setup for other books.  It is at the very least just a lame filler issue, at the other extreme it is false advertising. I didn’t buy a Superman book to read about freaking Sodom Yat!  I mean, if you’re a dad, just some dad with his kid, and you are traveling someplace, and your kid wants a comic book, and they pick up Superman these days, your kid is gonna be sorely disappointed. It’s just lame. I hate it.

I know, it is all about selling units, but I think DC is overstepping right now.  I think the World Without Superman event comes at a bad time; I think it is being overshadowed by the much, much more exciting Blackest Night event.  I mean, in the end, the main title is almost like a “‘My Summer on New Krypton’ : a report by Kal-El” rather than an engaging story. Did anyone really expect that he would be put to death for defying orders or whatever he was accused of?  It just feels forced to me and I am not sure I can see how they can sustain the effort for so long.  This storyline, especially when you consider how the other books are kind of part of it, is basically the exact opposite of the nice, short arcs that we discussed last week. This is a huge, directionless, mishmash of circumstances with very low stakes and ho-hum art.  I mean, I can barely admit that I am writing this out–I really did think that this was gonna be good at the beginning — but now, I am just like, when is this just going to be done? Superman is needed at home, this holiday in New Krypton is just a total distraction. And don’t get me started with how disappointed I am whenever I pick up World of New Krypton with a Gary Frank cover, but no Gary Frank interiors!

It should be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.  I am going to pick up Adventure #1, because I like the idea of Superboy getting back into the swing of things, but I am a little nervous that it’s just going to be a catalog of smaller stories that won’t really amount to much.  You know what, maybe I won’t pick it up–just to show ’em.

Maybe I am the wrong market.  Nah, that’s crap–I am the target audience for this book.  Maybe I should be happy to see Steel being used, to see folks battling Atlas, to see this Guardian guy getting all serious.  And perhaps I would be, if the stories were in a book called “Metropolis”.  For whatever reason, I can’t feel the pressure and dread when General Lane and Lex Luthor start meeting up and planning whatever it is they are planning–and I think, honestly, it is the art that is not providing the drama. Comic books that have heavy, hardcore, deeply involved stories with complex characters are not well served by art that doesn’t convey that emotion, those incredible stakes. I am not saying the art needs to be rendered with tons of realism–not at all. But some shading, some dimensionality, some characterization, some dramatic angles and maybe, just maybe, less vibrant colors — anything to give the story that extra ooomf would be welcome.  

I am a huge Superman fan. I have written other articles about the character and tried to share different takes on the character. For whatever reason, the creative teams behind the comic are not capturing the essence of the character.  There is an emptiness in the pages that make the Superman and Action titles in particular pretty unsatisfying experiences and betray the legacy of the character. The elements of a Superman story–the iconic imagery, the humor, the stakes, the romance, they are all being sacrificed for boring fight sequences and plots that just feel like filler.  I think DC should take a cue from Marvel’s success with Amazing Spider-Man and just have the one Superman title–World of Krypton and feature another book (I am liking the “Metropolis” title) that covers the stuff that is going while Superman is away.  It’s just not right that the best Superman stories right now, I think are being told in Superman/Batman and Wednesday Comics.  I mean, they should just look down the hall and see what they are doing with the Batman books.  Those guys are killing it with the new Batman paradigm.  You pick up a Batman book and you have Batman in it, but it’s totally different.  You pick up Action or Superman and you find yourself checking the cover to see if you picked the wrong book.

I know, this is article is a little over the place, but I have been reading these books for a few months now and I am just not happy with the way things are going. Yeah, it’s kind of cool to see Mon-El, but, like, can he really drive a full book, especially if he’s gonna be dead in a few months?  And, okay, I admit, I kinda liked the Flamebird and Nightwing backstory (though it reminded me a lot of Hawkman and Hawkgirl) but the art…I mean, jeez, the art is so bad I just don’t care

Am I being too harsh?  Perhaps I am being distracted by the art and missing an amazing story?  Do you love these books? Please–tell me why! What am I missing?!


Mike Romo is an actor in LA (you can check out his acting work here). He’s usually a pretty positive guy. You can email him here, facebook him here and twitter him here.

Please that I originally stated that Geoff Johns was writing World of New Krypton. It’s Greg Rucka and James Robinson–I have corrected this. Thanks to Neb for the catch!

Comments

  1. I stopped reading all of the New Krypton books around the second or third issue of the initial crossover because I realized that I would be buying too many books revolving around characters I dont really care about, when what I’m really interested in is Geoff John’s Superman. Eventually I’ll pick up the World of New Krypton issue, though, seeing as that’s where the meat of the story is.

  2. I’ve still been picking up Superman and Action, but I’ve only been reading World of New Krypton.  As Josh has mentioned a few times on various shows, James Robinson is, generally speaking, a slow burn, and I tend to agree.  His stuff reads alright issue to issue, but it’s fantastic in large chunks. 

    That said, this makes me think I might have to bust out the books and give them a read sooner.  I’m slightly concerned now.  

  3. I think you’re in the minority Mike. ALL of the Superman books matter for the first time in years and there is finally some consistency between them.

    Before this split I was a big supporter of canceling either Superman or Action. Why do we need two books telling mediocre to just down right terrible stories about one character? Then Johns came along and made Action good again but Superman was still going through creative teams like tissue paper.

    I finally care about Superman and his books. All of them. Yes, even Supergirl. This "event" has taken me from only buying Action because Johns was on it, to buying the entire line. Up until now Superman was just some overly powered guy who had no supporting cast and no chance of ever being hurt by anything. In a word, boring.

    But he is now more interesting than ever and his supporting cast is now so large and interesting that I would actually buy a Cat Grant one shot.  each book is exploring it’s own side of Metropolis and the actual PEOPLE involved in Supermans life. This is 10 times better to me than seeing Clark kick some villains ass for the millionth time.

    I think Chris on Around Comics quoted it a couple of weeks ago, happy characters are boring. And lets face it, before now when did Superman have ANY real hardship in his life? I think it was when he died. So it’s been a decade or more since a Superman story was told that actually had any lasting impact on the character or made you think everything might not turn up all roses when all is said and done.

    Plus, Supergirl is actually pretty awesome. When was the last time anybody was willing to say that in public?

  4. I disagree, I’ve been enjoying the shake up to the Superman Universe. Particularly Nightwing and Flamebird. It was a shame they did that pack of mini stories in Superman but I think that was an editorial choice and a poor one. 

  5. I remember really enjoying superman, but recently i’ve just been indifferent to the stories in superman and action.

  6. I have found World of New Krypton quite enjoyable.  Rucka’s run on Action Comics started strong, but has been relatively weak recently.  I don’t read the other two superman books, so I can’t comment on those.

  7. First off, I like what Robinson is doing.  I absolutely get the concerns about all the different "trailer" storylines in # 690, but at the same time I think that the way he juggles all these disparate strands is the closest he’s come to his Starman style since returning to comics. 

    However, the point from your second argument still stands – how can you have a book called Superman wherein Superman doesn’t appear for a year???  It makes no sense.  I never really understood the need to shake things up the way they did as the books were getting some really positive press and sales.  Usually a change that radical is predicated by poor performance. So I would vote to have Supes back, but would still want to see just what Robinson is building towards.

  8. I’m going to have to agree, though maybe not so much on the harshness of Superman.  Sure, the last issue was just marketing material, but the 689 was great, and 688 was pretty good (thats where I started).  The two issues and annual I’ve read of Action have been literally some of the most boring comics I’ve read (granted, my comic reading was strictly trades-only until April).  The two issues of Supergirl are the definition of mediocre. I’m not sure if Adventure can add anything to the books, or if it’s even going to tie in.

    I loved WoNK for the first 2-4 issues, but it’s starting to be obvious that there isn’t twelve issues of story content in the arc. It seems as if instead of writing a fluid story, there’s just a list of plot points that they had made, and are assigning one to each issue, only to have everything wrapped up in a neat package by the end.  Look at issue 5.  Issue 4 ends with Superman being arrested, by the end of issue 5 he’s already acquitted, with absolutely no repercussions. I assume that things will pick up around issue 10 when they need to start wrapping up the mini, but until then it’s a waiting game. Sadly, this is still the best of the four books…

     I’m probably dropping Supergirl and Action after this Codename: Patriot crossover is done.  I’ll give Superman an issue or two, and I’ve talked myself into staying on WoNK until the end.

  9. Got to say, I totally agree. I jumped back on the Super books during the Brainiac storyline which was one of the most exciting things to happen to Supes in some time. Then, when New Krypton kicked off I thought it was going to get better and better. Instead it’s just become boring. I have to agree about the art too – there was something I didn’t like about it and you’ve hit the nail right on the head: It’s just so flat and generic. The Bat books get Quitely, Bagley, JHWIII etc, Superman books get dull B-list artists (no offence) that all look the same.

    This reboot needs a reboot. 

  10. I dropped Action, Superman, and Supergirl, but I find World of New Kryp. fascinating. Eventhough I dropped the other books I think what they are doing with the Superman Family characters is pretty cool. I think we’ll see many good stories spinning out of this.

  11. I disagree I’m enjoying Superman, Supergirl and World of New Krypton. Action needs to pick up it’s game after a strong start its waning a bit

  12. Event fatigue, poor pacing, far too decompressed? There are a wealth of reasons this story is making the fans of Superman exhausted. To buy 4-6 books a month for over a year amounts to a lot of reading and lot of $$$$$$$$. DC really needs to avoid having these things running together. being a GL fan as well as Superman it doesn’t leave a lot of room to enjoy much else.

  13. I’m not reading any of this stuff, but a few of your points make a lot of sense. "World of New Krypton" *should* be the subtitle of the Superman book and Mon-El should be the focus of Action Comics with Nightwing & Flamebird as a co-feature (or vice versa). Especially since I’d be surprised if the sales on both titles were as strong as they were back when Superman was in them.

     

  14. Superman is awesome right now. He is relevant, the books are exciting, the stories are actually readable and consistent. I am reading all of them, planning to read Adventure(Francis Manapul is DC’s rising star right now) and Secret Origin(When I rule the world, I’m gonna force Gary Frank to draw Superman 24/7).

  15. As much as I enjoy World of New Krypton (yes, even for the art), I agree with the lack of stakes. I’m also not loving the idea of picking up Superman and Action Comics just for this Patriot crossover. I dropped those books for a reason (which you named in your article).

    Supergirl is easily one of my favorite comics out there. If you want good Super-art, look no further than Jamal Igle.

  16. Spot on Mike! Finally someone is speaking up on the medicore that is Superman comics.

    I’ve tried Superman, I’ve tried Action Comics, but I’m avoiding World of NK since this whole mess started. It’s bogged down the Superman books and it really pisses me off that we lost Geoff Johns/Gary Frank in Action Comics. Instead we got these two random superheroes I could give two tosses about and the story and art was medicore.

    Give me back the Action Comics I came back to in 2007! Which is why ‘Superman: Secret Origins’ will be the best thing ever with Johns/Frank as creative team.

  17. I’m enjoying the WONK book b/c it has Superman in it and I think it’s an interesting story, but I agree that it should just be the Superman book.  As for the other titles, I don’t care. They could be great and engaging stories, I’ll never know.

  18. Let it all out, Mike 🙂

    I completely agree with you about the art in World of New Krypton and Superman. I’m glad someone finally said something about it. I feel like the inks are way too heavy and the colors are way too bright. I’d be curious to see how just the pencils look.

    For the record, I am really enjoying WONK, Action, and Supergirl. I think they’re all fun and interesting. My main trouble is with the Superman title, and I think it’s because I was expecting something different. The great thing about the transition in the Bat-books was seeing how Gotham and the Bat Family were affected by Bruce Wayne’s death. I don’t mind that Supes isn’t in his own title, but where the hell is Lois?! or Jimmy?! or Ma Kent?! I want to see more of Metropolis trying to get by without Superman, and less of Mon-el and the Guardian.

  19. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Mike…I….it’s….

    Okay…I….

    I want to start by saying in recent years I’ve become a huge Superman fan and that much of that is thanks to Johns and Action Comics. I also think New Krypton is one of my favorite events in my relatively brief history with comics. It’s not perfect, but the highs are so high that the lows don’t bother me in the least.   

    I can agree that World of New Krypton should probably be in the Superman main title. They’re trying to push the fact that, on Krypton, Clark’s not Superman. He’s Commander El. This probably means more to the publisher and creative team than it does to the readers. I don’t think it would hurt to print it under the Superman logo, but it doesn’t bother me that it’s its own book either. If I were following more titles each month it might bother me more, but as it stands, I don’t mind the extra series since I really, really love it. 

    Art is definitely subjective. But I have to say, Pete Woods is doing some exceptional stuff in WoNK. You hear all these stories about how much planning has gone into the design of this new planet and its culture. That reads on the page for me every single month. Don’t get me wrong, Gary Frank is one of my favorite artists, especially on Action Comics, but Pete is no slouch.

    As for New Krypton itself, I think it’s a really smart concept and a much needed shot in the arm for the character and his world. His circumstances have changed in the present, but that doesn’t ruin his past. Superman is still Superman, even if he’s moonlighting as a soldier. Showing that Kryptonian culture isn’t so pristine, that it’s actually multi-dimensional, truly strengthens the whole mythos for me. More importance is stacked on Superman himself. He’s not great because of the world he came from. He’s great because, no matter where he is, his upbringing and personal strength allow him to be a light to guide the way. He’s a perfect storm of nature and nurture. Those are the constants. 

  20. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Oh and Supergirl is awesome. 

    If I could only read two Superman family books right now they would be World of New Krypton and Supergirl. The others are a mixed bag at times but I do like the broad tapestry.   

  21. I recieved a message from All-Star Superman. He wished me to remind you that he is occupied renergizing. He also wants me to remind you, Mike that you are "stronger than you know".

  22. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    There are digital models of New Krypton for reference. I find that so awesome. 

  23. Thanks guys…I feel much better that I was able to let this all out.  @DaveCarr–tell him I appreciate it!

    So, I know the article was a bit harsh, but as I was emailing the iFanboy staff just a few seconds ago, sometimes you start with an idea and it just kind of comes out and you realize just how much you CARED about something like this. I feel bad ripping on Woods and Guedes–perhaps it’s more the coloring that I hate, I dunno, but for whatever reason, I just feel like those artists don’t "match" MY idea of the book.  I am obviously in the minority, which is fine.  

    I have picked up Supergirl and dropped it about 10 times, I keep flipping through it at the store, maybe I will get it this month…

    I should also add that the Flamebird/Nightwing stuff is perfectly fine in Action, since Action is known for telling stories other than Superman’s. That’s totally fine and I think the concept, though it reminds me so much of the Hawkman/Hawkgirl "fated love" thing, is good…it’s just the art that bothers me. Like, when they were battling the other Kryptonian couple, I couldn’t keep things straight at all, and the useage of the Krypton alphabet I thought was cute at first but then just annoying. It’s fine, though–at least it has been consistent, and I will pick it up. This really just came from my incredible frustration with Superman #690, where I think DC’s editiorial staff really took advantage of the readers. 

     Still, I have to stress that I think the story, which is nicely contained in the New Krypton book, just seems all over the place with the other books.  Of course, this is getting near to the midpoint (right? I hope?) so that would make some kind of sense.

     Anyway, great discussion, as ever…

  24. He is coming back I think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I don’t want it to end!

  26. Eh, go read your Absolute All-Star Superman again.

  27. And the Superman story in Wednesday is TERRIBLE!

  28. I just want Geoff Johns and Gary Frank in my Superman comic again! Is that too much to ask!?

  29. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    There’s some great Johns’ Superman in Adventure Comics this week. 

  30. For those crossing their fingers about Johns/Frank return, don’t. Johns has clearly said taht he’s not gonna do Superman without Frank and they already have another project following Secret Origins. It might involve the Marvel Family.

  31. I’m loving this New Krypton arc and the World without Superman. It has the same feeling that 52 did, the second tier Metropolus heroes stepping up to fill the big guys shoes. The sad thing is that these character are (for the most part) most interesting when they’re put into a situation where Supes isn’t there.

  32. It’s nice to hear other opinions on this, even if I’ll respectfully disagree. As Paul found out the other day, I hate comic book Superman. The only time I ever cared for/liked the character was in All-Star. That’s it. He’s a nuisance in JLA, to me, and a pain in the ass when he shows up in other books. I tried reading Superman several times (OWAW, OYL, The Johns Legion crossover) and all of them were dropped soon after. My friend who is a big Superman buff encouraged me to try New Krypton and surprisingly I liked it. Finally it feels like Superman isn’t special, finally I feel like he’s actually struggling against a problem and not just coasting through fight-after-fight. I understand not liking it, though. But again, I’m weird. Earth-2 Superman I’m all over. But chalk that up that late-night viewing of "The Adventures of Superman" on Nick-at-Nite. 😉

  33. Maybe if these books can actually focus on, you know, interesting characters. I know Robinson and Rucka are trying their hardest to make Flamebird, Nightwing, and Mon-El interesting. But I just don’t care about them. Two of them we’re last seen in the 1950-60’s; and the other has been stuck in the Phantom Zone his whole life.

    Plus you got this really weird idea with Rucka with making Kryptonians speek in Webdings. Trying to read most of the issue in subtitles is something I don’t call a ‘fun time’. Not saying you shouldn’t try something new; but if your name isn’t Alan Moore then I don’t see you getting away with it. Plus my ‘hatred’ for Robinson has never cooled down and even when he was writing about Superman; it was laughably bad. That Krypto arc seriously might’ve been the worst Superman story I ever read. That’s coming from a guy who read ‘Return of Superman’ without a break and his eyes were bleeding.

    Supergirl though is a good comic. I read it when I can but when it comes out in trade I can’t wait to read it fully. Sterling Gates is a writer everyone should look out for.

  34. In fact, why not have a Superman comic with people like….Steel or even a Lex Luthor feature? If Rucka or Robinson tried to do those two characters instead of the random couple and a Daxamite then I would give it more of a chance.

  35. How can you hate the Krypto arc? I about teared up when Clark claimed that Krypto was Metropolis’s dog. I mean I can understand that Robinson’s writing can be a bit off putting in todays climate, but the story wasn’t "laughably bad".

  36. @valo: I didn’t find it enjoyable what so ever. Maybe I have a black hole instead of a heart but that arc was so pointless and so badly writting. Superman was out of character for most of the arc and so was most of the other minor characters. Robinson had no clue how to write the characters that it helped me make sure never to read a Robinson book again.

    Plus the art is pretty bad as well. I just can’t see where the praise for the likes of Woods or in the Superman title is coming from. It’s just awful.

  37. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Here’s what bothers me about some of the comments about both Superman and Batman family books lately:

    "I’ve never heard of these characters! I don’t care about them! Why are they here!?"

    Every character starts from ground zero. People wailed against Batwoman before even reading the book. The same is happening with the Superman books. If you read the book and don’t like them, fine. But I get the sense that people are dismissing unfamiliar characters simply because they’re standing in for a more popular one, and that prejudice is keeping some from evaluating things fairly.  

  38. @thenextchampion Wasn’t pointless at all, it laid the ground work for the last issue and I’m sure (knowing Robinson) that it will matter more down the line.

     @Paul 100% agreed.

  39. @Paul: I read Detective Comics, Action Comics, and Superman with all the new characters. Didn’t care for any of them. (Although Batwoman might read better in trade for me) So yes I gave them a shot and I didn’t like any of them. So that theory doesn’t work for me.

    But I see what you mean overall.

  40. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @TNC – Because "a random couple and a Daxamite" sounds so open minded.  😉

  41. Superman is a dick.   Seriously, does he even call Lois?  I have heard of some long distance relationships working out, but I think living on a separate planet is stretching it.

  42. @TNC You should know better than to invoke character appearances around me. 😉 Flamebird and Nightwing have hardly disappeared since the 50s and 60s. Obviously, Dick Grayson springs to mind but they’ve appeared several times since the the 60s to varying extents. In the last few years I can recall them appearing in Rucka’s OYL Supergirl story, Chuck Dixon’s "Nightwing: Year One" story and… a Superman story around OWAW. And hell, Mon-El is far cooler than Kal-El. 😉 And on your other point, Steel is a main character in the current Superman story. I know that and I don’t even like Superman.

  43. I totally agree with you Mike I was just thinking the same thin when I was reading WNK last week.  I just wish we could fast forward to the end of this event and have Superman stories again.

  44. Paul speaks for me.

  45. I don’t know how I missed this the first time, but I have to say it… Mike, your stamp of approval on the Superman story in Wednesday Comics would seems to affirm that I’m just not a Superman fan. The art is great, and it’s a shame it’s being wasted like that, but the story is derivative, boring and on at least two occasions insulting to the reader. If this is what is a "good" story to a Superman fan… I guess I’ll be ditching the books come the end of WNOK. Which is fine, I’ll be content to follow Kon-El. 🙂

  46. You’re not wrong.

    On a brighter note: Adventure Comics was really good. Granted, that’s not Kal-El, but Conner Kent- but I’ve really come to love ol’ Conner after reading Geoff Johns’ Superman run.

    And, if you saw the preview for Superman Secret Origin- help is certainly on the way on the art front.  

    Between Secret Origin and Adventure Comics, we’re going to have 2 great-looking Superman/Superboy books penned by Geoff Johns. 

  47. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  In this case, it’s wrong, but that’s fine, you can have it…..   😉 

  48. Oh, and the Wed. comics Superman story is the weakest one being published right now.  Also, you should really be reading Supergirl. 

  49. I don’t understand the hate for the Superman strip in Wednesday Comics. Is it the best thing ever? (or I guess in another way; better then Kamandi or Hawkman?) No. But it’s a beautiful looking comic and it’s basically telling the story Kal-El always had. Being alone and trying to keep a high morale despite being depressed.

  50. @TNC – it’s not hate from me, just noting that Romo’s favourite current stories are my least favourite.  That story went downhill fast week 2 when I wondered aloud if I was reading Superman or the Sentry. 

  51. Disagree with you here Mike.  I’ve really been enjoying the Superman-verse of late.  I’ve only been reading Action and World of New Krypton, and I picked up Adventure this week.  All of them are top tier titles to me.  I appreciate your perspective though.  

    And, not to be nit picky, but Geoff Johns doesn’t write World of New Krypton…Rucka and Robinson do. 

  52. @Crippler: If your talking about Superman being kinda sad….No way is he unbearable like Sentry. Sentry could look at a flower and fly to Saturn weeping like a bitch. Superman being upset about his homeworld is tame compared to Sentry’s angsts.

  53. Gotta completely disagree with you there, Mike. I’ve been reading every part of the Superman line, and I’ve been loving every bit of it. Rucka and Robinson are rocking it on their separate books, and especially so on WoNK. Gates has been great on Supergirl, and now we have the fantastic Adventure Comics by Johns to add to the queue. And then there’s Secret Origin by Johns on its way out. It’s a great time to be a Super-Fan.

  54. Supes needs to go back to his roots

  55. I’ve been saying this for months. He’s my favorite superhero & I don’t get any of his books. That’s not right.

  56. I totally agree with Romo.  I have always groaned at the idea of picking upa Superman book, but was compelled to pick up "Action" and then moved on to "Superman" too. When New World of Krypton (the series) started, I started reading them all and had them all on my pull list.

     "You got me, DC!", I shouted, fist clenched when I adjusted my order.  And then Supes left Earth.  And they killed any interest I had in reading the other books.  I’m still reading "New World of Krypton"; it being the only title that actually plays through the crux of the whole series. The thing that actually makes it an event: Superman back on Krypton.  But like Mike said, the art really stinks and the last issue was real boring, pointless and made me think the whole thing is circling down the drain.

     The guys mentioned on the POTW podcast this week that it was "a strong issue" and I thought that perhaps it’s just me and I should shut up and keep reading, but thankfully I see that’s not so much the case!

     Also? DC really need to have, at least for the "Superman" title, an "entry level" friendly format.  Like Mike said, just like AMSM.  It, along with Batman, is their flagship title.  There’s potentially a lot of customers being turned away by such a barrier-to-entry with a Superman book that doesn’t have Superman in it. 

  57. hey all–

    FWIW, I am not caught up for Wednesdsay Comics–I guess what I was just trying to express was that I missed Superman in an actual story, but you are right, I can go read All-Star or my other trades, sure…

     It is interesting that there seems to be an almost even split with this. I am with the folks who are feeling let down after the terrific Braniac and Legion storylines–World of New Krypton has so much promise, but I think it might be too much in a vacuum.  Like, I really was excited when the Justice League swung by to see what was going on–it’s funny, the Kryptonians are still very much in a bottle, in a way.

     @Neb – thanks for the catch, I wrote this over most of Tuesday and by the time I posted, I was really tired and had a ton of stuff to do, I didn’t do my usual re-read to make sure things were straight. I’ll correct it.

     I had to crack up at @Viktorr’s comment about Superman not even calling home…you have a point, man. I think Lois should go and stay in New Krypton for awhile!

     From the discussion, it does seem like som people are frustrated with how DC is introducing these other characters. I think it’s fine, really, for Action Comics to be doing this–it’s just the actual Superman, er, Mon-El, book that puts me off.  

    One thing is for sure, DC is committing itself to this storyline for the long haul (WNK is what, a 13 issue series?) so it will be interesting to see if they can keep the title afloat. We’ll have to check in at the end of the year to see what everyone thinks..

     Finally, yes, @TheKZA, I worry, too, that there is no Superman title that "normal" folks can just grab and read. I agree that DC is risking alienating a lot of people who are either new to comics or, worse, coming back from comics–there have to be a few people who are seeing the Superman story in USAToday going, "Hey, I’ll go check out Superman again" only to be sorely disappointed.  

     We’ll see…

  58. Screw him talking to Lois! He just totally left his mother behind mere days after Pa died. So if there’s anyone Sups needs to talk to it’s his mama.

    @mikeromo: You know the idea of a ‘Metropolis’ book is a great idea. Why isn’t that the Superman book right now? At least change it to ‘Mon-El’ if he becomes the main character. There should be a Metropolis book anyways….cause there’s enough ‘interesting’ characters to make  it like a Detective Comics vibe.

  59. I actually love World of New Krypton and really enjoy Pete Woods art. Action Comics is always a good read but you’re right about this book, the artwork lately(eddy barrows was awesome) has been really bad, and Superman has just been a terrible book. I mean Ive got nothing against Mon-El but and Steel but really? is this book really necessary? couldnt the stories of WoNK with Clark hanging out with Zod on New Krypton be told in ‘Superman’ monthly instead? it would make the most sense really and it seems like its the book people enjoy the most.

  60. I could not disagree more. I think Superman books are as good as they have been in years. As testified to by the fact that I am actually reading them. I don’t actually like Superman. At all. But the books featuring his family of characters are really compelling right now with top writing and art talent all around.

  61. Aside from Superman #690, the Super titles including Supergirl have been incredible.  I NEVER liked superman.  When I heard he was NOT going to be in his own books, I picked it up along with New Krypton which he was in.  Now, I am a Superman, Supergirl, Nightwing & Flamebird fan!

  62. Very interesting…some of us like seeing the new characters, others not so much.  Would you guys buy a Flamebird and Nightwing book?  Or a Mon-El book? because, eventually, Superman’s gotta come back to his title 😉

     

    great day, guys! I felt bad about this rant but I think it resulted in a good conversation…

  63. Im with Mike. I havent read any Superman books in a while, and while they may be doing great work, Id rather just read about Superman.

    I’d think that while some people may disagree, but it’s a valid sentiment.

  64. @MikeRomo I would probably buy a Mon-El book. 

  65. I am buying a Mon-El book.  I’m also buying a Nightwing and Flamebird book.

    Surprised the hell out of me, it did.

  66. After reading Luthor and Lane being in their doom bunker for 6+ months…I would love to see a comic about them more then anyone else.

  67. Sorry, but I gotta disagree whole-heartedly.  I’ve never been more interested or excited in the Superman books.  Mon-El, Nightwing and Flamebird are completely new characters to me, and I’ve since hunted down the singles for Last Son (and all other Johns Superman books – though I had already read Braniac) to catch up on Chris’ history, and have also been checking out the Legion.  I love that the books actually have a sense of cohession, and I received goose-bumps of pure geekism at the end of the latest issue of World of New Krypton.  Loving it.

  68. I geeked out on seeing all the Supes together, sorta, in the latest Action.

  69. I’m also a huge Superman fan & I mostly agree with Mike Romo — I miss Superman too. 

    I’ve liked Action, because Rucka is awesome & have skipped Mon-El in "Superman" because I still haven’t read anything of Robinson’s DC stuff that I have liked (sorry Starman fans). New Krypton has been pretty good, even though the last couple of issues have been a bit dull (IMO) but I still find it very hard to swallow that Clark would leave Earth, Lois & his mum right after Pa Kent died.

    Superman should be in Superman books, all this stuff going on in Action & Superman, if it’s good or it’s horrible — they should be in thier own seperate books — not in Superman’s books.

     

     

  70. I don’t. Screw that guy!

  71. What does the name of a comic matter at all?  Superman is still about him, it’s just taking a look at why he’s important by showing how many people it takes to pick up his slack and how they learn to be like him.  If you don’t like Robinson’s story, that’s fine, but what does it matter what the title or issue number is?  You’d have no real complaint if it was Metropolis #5 or something. You’d just drop it and move on. So basically you’ve fallen for their trick to get a few extra sales from people who just need to keep buying the same high-numbered comic.

     

  72. @devinclancy

    Agreed. 

  73. The name of a comic matters because it’s supposed to tell you what the comic is about. I mean, why do we have names on any books or magazines or CDs?

    If I buy a Spider-Man comic, I expect a Spider-Man story. There’s an expectation that that’s what I am getting. If I go to see "Funny People" but instead see some other movie, that’s not right.

    Of course I would have no complaint if I picked up "Metropolis #5" — the title implies that this is a story about what’s going on in Metropolis, right?

    The problem is, I don’t think it’s fair that I should have to be worried about falling for "their trick" to buy a comic. That’s crap–comics are expensive enough; I shouldn’t have to be thinking "caveat emptor" every time I go into a comic book shop!

     

  74. @mikeromo: here here!

  75. I’m trade-waiting on all of this simply because I can’t afford to buy all the books involved. That’s a lot of dough to spend on Superman each month.

  76. So, in somewhat tangentally thread-related news….

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118007269.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

    Is this part of the reason why there has to be a new Superman origin series in the fall???

  77. I think selling the Superman books without the title character is a complete dupe and cheat.

    No one would buy a Mon-El or Nighwing and Flamebird series. 

     They are ripping us off. 

  78. I’m paying for those books, and I feel completely fine about it.

  79. What Josh said.

  80. The thing is, there are very very few people in the world out there who think they’ll randomly try a Superman book.  Also, if it wasn’t working, and sales were dropping, they’d change course.  But the fact is, there’s more buzz around the Superman family of books than there has been in the last decade or more.  If it’s not your thing, don’t buy them, but I saw a Superman panel filled with more people, and more talented writers than I’ve ever seen in one place because of the Superman books in San Diego, and I believe there’s a reason for that.

    Mike, who wrote this article saw that too.  So while it may not be his cup of tea, there is a definite positive impact, and if you know the contents of the books going in, you’ve got nothing to complain about.

    Also, Pete Woods is killing it (in the good way).  That is all.

  81. Just about every comic book suffers month-to-month attrition in sales. It’s the nature of comic books.

  82. yeah well superman and action are at the lowest theyve been in 5+ years.

     so much for the buzz cause its not translating to sales at all

  83. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I don’t buy this "They’re trying to trick us!" angle. Read a solicit. Flip through the pages. Be an informed consumer. 

  84. I guess it all figures.  Most of the things i really like get passed over by the general audience and get cancelled.  So what I’m saying is, if you like something, you better hope I don’t, or it’ll be around forever. For example, I hate 2 1/2 Men, and it’s been on for 3 decades.

  85. @josh: That show might be the most hated program ever. But yet it gets a lot of emmy nominations and it still stays on the air.

    But that’s beside the point..

  86. @doomedhuh-But aren’t all comics hovering around the lowest point that they have been at?  I put much more stock in relative numbers over raw figures.  Where are they ‘ranked’ as far as sales figures, as opposed to raw circulation numbers?

    @Paul-While I certainly agree with the idea of being an informed consumer, I feel that the solicitations give too much plot away.  Certainly flipping through the book will tell you that Supes no longer resides therein, hell, the covers should have told you that.

    That much having been said, I do feel misled as far as the cross-over is concerned.  I am opposed to taking a limited series (WoNK) and having it cross with a bunch of other books.

  87. @MisterJ: They said from the very beginning that all of the Superman books were going to tie together. That all the books were telling one big story.

  88. How are they going to put that crossover in trade format? I mean if it’s like two titles then it would be easy (see Dark Reign: Deadpool/Thunderbolts). But it kinda breaks the flow of the titles if suddenly you have to pick up a trade with issues you want no part of reading.

    In fact, how do those issues read considering they are apart of the other titles? Does the flow of, let’s say WoNK, suddenly skid to a halt cause it has to go into Action Comics, Superman, and Supergirl?

  89. @Conor  Wikipedia has Johns quoted as saying that his goal is about wanting to read, not having to read the books.  The earliest reference that I can find about the cross-over is from May, which is after the series started.  Robinson’s quotes surrounding the cross over make it seem as if it was not part of the original plan.  "It came out of us meeting in New York, and we realized that fans weren’t going to want to have Superman so totally removed from everything else for a year"  This is from Newsarama May 15.

    As I said, I try to stay away from the announcements and solicitations of books I am reading.  I am sure that they gave the ‘one big story’ description to the Superman family, but they normally follow that with the ‘you do not have to pick up every book,’ line.  If they explicitly said that there would be a cross-over, okay, but I didn’t find out about it until the latest issue of WoNK came out.

    I expect cross overs from ongoing series from time to time.  But how many limited series cross over with ongoing?  Has there been any hint from the internal storytelling of WoNK that would lead you to think that there would be a cross over?

  90. @MisterJ: I don’t look at WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON as a limited series in the traditional sense. I look at it as a series that is going to last a year. It can cross over with whatever other books it wants to tell its story because it is not at all self-contained — it is part of a family of books that are all clearly telling one big story.

  91. If that is the way you were looking at it, your views are certainly valid.

    I did think that it was going to purely be about New Krypton.  I thought it was going to be a family like the Bat-books, where I have the ability to pick and choose more freely.  The internal story has been, up to now, self contained. Given these facts and points of view, those who feel misled also have a valid point.

    It’s only going to be for a month, so it isn’t a deal breaker for me.  I just do not like it, so I will probably skip a month.

  92. @MisterJ: I’m not sure what the facts are that you are referring to. All of the Superman books have been telling different (and at times overlapping) aspects of the same story since the new direction started,

  93. I get where MisterJ is coming from.

    I’m really digging World of New Krypton. While I KNOW it’s the same writers, neither Action nor Superman are exactly floating my boat. THey’re not bad, I just haven’t stuck with them. At $3-4 a pop, I’d like to read only the books that really ARE floating my boat. But now elements of WoNK are moving from THAT book and into other books that I have NOT been reading.

    I’m not saying DC mislead anyone. It does seem that the editors and writers organically came upon this idea and went with it.

    BUT, as a reader, I now feel as though I either a) have to pick up Action and Superman and read about the characterst that I previously dropped (and try to figure out what’s happening or b) skip it and feel like I am missing something when Supes goes back to WoNK after the x-over is over.

    I’ve dealt with this stuff for a long time in comics, and it still remains the thing that puts me off — and it doesn’t matter what publisher it comes from. It’s a little disappointing that I have to make the above choice.

     

     

  94. Conor-The facts I am referring to are internal storytelling of WoNK and the quotes I pulled above.  I shorthanded this because I didn’t want to write all that again.  Your last sentence is also (generally) applicable to all the Superman books since they started doing multiple books on the character-they are just the story of Superman.

    I will take your word that there has been an overlapping story, but it is a testament to the seeming self-contained nature of WoNK that I have not felt ‘left out’ or confused by not getting those titles.

    @daccampo-Your use of organic probably clarifies my point more.  I do not know, and do not mean to say that DC ‘hoodwinked’ us or had any malicious intent.  I take Robinson at his word as far as the idea of ‘this is where the story should go.’  But I do not think that they had the cross planned from the beginning, and Robinson seems to back this up.

    Like you said, the readers in my position have to make a choice and neither seems appetizing.

  95. @MIsterJ: Johns never said the books wouldn’t cross over in that quote. He said the goal was to write books you’d WANT to read, not that you felt you HAD to. This actually implies that the books wiould crossover since the HAVE TO READ complaint is what people lob at crossovers.

  96. The ‘have to read’ aspect is exactly my point.  That is the complaint that people have.  He is saying that he wants to avoid that.  So it is just as easily read that he is implying that there will not be cross-overs.

    You feel that you have to read cross overs.  He says he does not want his readers feeling a compulsion to get all under the umbrella. So couldn’t the quote be taken to read that there will not be cross-overs?

  97. @MisterJ: It could be, if you were looking for it. But they’ve been clear from the beginning that the books would all be connected in some fashion.

  98. @MIsterJ: If they weren’t going to cross over at all he would have just said that. Instead he told people that they were going to try to write these crossover books so that you’d want to read them, not feel obligated.

  99. @conor — aw, c’mon now — regardless of who said what, MisterJ’s point shouldn’t be lost. It’s a valid criticism.

    To me, you just said the magic word: "obligated."

    When WoNK ends in a cliffhanger that tells me to go read Superman, that’s as close as a publisher can get to creating a sense of obligation. Sure, it’s ultimately my choice. But as we both said above — it’s an unappetizing choice if I’m not reading all of the books. 

    What is the strategy with these books? To make one BIG story, or multiple stories that weave together but are not *necessary* to read together. For six issues, WoNK is something I’ve felt I could read on its own. Now I’m faced with something different. Sure, you can say it’s my choice and that I made an assumption and it’s my fault. That’s fine. But I’m also the consumer, and DC should know that if I don’t like the choices I’m given, I may opt out entirely. If MisterJ and I happen to be the majority, then DC begins to alienate its readership and may ultimately lose sales. So, I see this as being about publishing strategy.

     

     

     

     

  100. Conor-As I have said, I try to stay away from the announcements and solicitations of books that I know I will be purchasing.  As such, I did not see or read about how much of a connection there would be.  I also noticed the 1990’s triangle rear its head again.  But, until recently, the triangle and its numbering has been completely innocuous.

    Going purely by what has been happening within the story and the general/common manner in which maxi series/limited series are produced, I am disappointed that WoNK is crossing. 

    I’m not up in arms about it and I do not think that DC had any malicious intent and are springing this upon the public, it is just news to me.  Because of it they are going to lose my purchase for the month, that’s it.