Pick of the Week

April 28, 2004 – Superman #204

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Size: pages

Story by Brian Azzarello
Art by Jim Lee
Inks by Scott Williams
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Letters vt Nick Napolitano

Published by DC Comics | $2.50

Here we go again.

Superman is one of my favorite characters in all of comics and, because of corporate interference, one of the most mishandled. As a result, sales on his books are never that good and he gets stuck with the obsolete Boy Scout reputation. But if handled properly (Grant Morrison’s JLA, Smallville, Superman: The Movie) he can be a very cool and relevant cultural icon.

So in an attempt to boost lagging sales, DC Comics revamps the books every few years and it pretty much never works. Sales spike in the beginning and slowly but surely they bottom out. But there I am at the beginning of every revamp, hoping against hope that this is the time they get it right. When I buy a Superman comic book, I’m looking to feel a bit of awe and wonder that I can’t get from my favorite character, Batman. It’s a feeling that I think only Superman can provide.

This time around DC brought out the big guns in writer Brian Azzarello and artist Jim Lee, each fresh off of (separate) stints on Batman. The story itself is a series of flashbacks that stem from a conversation in a church between Superman and a priest. Superman is feeling an immense amount of guilt because while he was off in space rescuing Green Lantern, one million people disappeared into thin air back on Earth. Among the one million people is Lois Lane. It’s a good set-up, and surprisingly (to me, at least) Azzarello seems to have a good handle on Superman. I have to admit that I found Mr. Gritty Crime Writer Brian Azzarello a bit of a surprising choice for Superman, and I was even more skeptical after his Batman storyline, which I did not like at all.

Jim Lee is… well, Jim Lee. Along with being pocket-sized, he’s one hell of an artist. I know some people who blanche at his “Image-style”, or are a bit put off by an art style that has always been more associated with Marvel Comics, but I like it. His characters are dynamic and he puts a lot of detail into every panel.

Between this book and Adventures of Superman #627 with new writer Greg Rucka, Superman seems to be in good hands.

I remain hopeful.

Conor Kilpatrick
Like Peter Pan or Superman you will come to save me.
E-Mail: conor@ifanboy.com

Did you read Superman #204? Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!


  1. I should add that it was really great to see Howard Porter drawing the Justice League again in the pages of THE FLASH.

    Made me all nostalgic for 1996.

  2. Superman? Eh.

    The lament of Superman. What can stop him? Bullets? Doomsday? Kryptonite? No. Guilt.

    He might as well be the big guy from a Never Ending Story, “These hands. These hands look so strong. But even these strong hands couldn’t save them . . . ”

    It does seem to be the most “realistic” Superman yet. We’ll see how that works out.

    I think I agree with the Grant Morrison idea for Superman. He’s so big, so strong, so much bigger than life itself that his only competion are angels or a sentient sun (check out 1 million and see a Superman punch through TIME). He’s Superman. He should be full of wonder.

  3. I liked it. Sort of. But I was mildly confused because I thought I was supposed to know what’s going on, based on past continuity. I guess I was ok? I really tried hard to like Azzarello’s Batman run, but it was sooo hard to figure what the crap was going on.

    I’d actually like to see Superman punch through time. SOunds rather abstract.


  4. I didn’t know what was going on either, in terms of The Vanishing and Green Lantern. The impression I got was that was all new stuff, and not continuity based.

    Azzarello’s BATMAN run gets a big thumbs down.

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