Rating: 4/5 – Superman Shines, but Substantially Shares Spotlight .
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
The 1st 100 page Superman sampler that DC is releasing through Walmart stores has 3 full reprinted comics and a new 12 page Superman story. I’ll be reviewing all 4 of these comics and there will be a bit of repetition in this opening paragraph about the program. DC has stated that it is to get new readers into DC comics, so that is how I’ll be reviewing these, not based on the story value to an existing fan. The one exception is the “all new” 12 page story. This is not needed for the new reader and serves mostly, in my opinion, as a DC marketing hook to get their hard core fans to go to Walmart and buy these comics so they do not “miss out” on the new material. The comics themselves are displayed along with the collectible card games (Magic, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh) up by the registers, so are in a good spot to be noticed by kids. That is good. However, there do not seem to be very many copies on display, and I’m curious how many will be left to be discovered by new readers after existing DC fans have swooped in to buy copies, combined with the people who will buy them to resell on eBay.
On to the comics: the 1st story in the comic is a nicely done tale written by Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Tom Derenick and Trevor Scott. Clark Kent is sent to do a story on tornadoes that have been ravaging the Midwest and we get to see the compassion and heroism that are hallmarks of the Man of Steel. Existing fans may be scratching their heads since the stories about this 100 page line produced for Walmart were talking about it featuring a new Superman story by Tom King. It’s not in this #1 issue. Since this is the 1st of 2 parts, the earliest fans may be seeing Tom King write the Man of Steel will be in September’s #3 issue. Will it be in that issue? Time will tell. For now, sit back and enjoy Palmiotti’s story that is a great introduction to Superman on the comics page for a new fan. It was nice to see Superman leading off the issue, but Superman’s presence dropped as the issue went on.
DC leaned heavily on the New 52 for the JLA 100 page giant, but shied away from that for Superman, probably for the best, since Grant Morrison’s “jeans & t-shirt” New 52 Superman is only a memory at this point. Lacking that, DC reached farther back and reprints Superman/Batman #1 (2003) by Jeph Loeb & Ed McGuinness as the 2nd story in this issue. It’s a good story but the focus is on the interplay between Batman and Superman, and Batman gets more of the spotlight in this issue. Granted he is the much more popular of the 2 heroes, but it felt like Superman was getting short shrift in his own 100 page giant. The 3rd story was Green Lantern #1 (2005) by Geoff Johns with art by Ethan Van Sciver for the 1st 4 pages and Carlos Pacheco/Jesus Merino for pages 5-30. Another “avoid the New 52” choice since the New 52 Green Lantern debut featured Sinestro wearing the ring. Going back an additional 6 years to this series gave DC the change to reprint this excellent issue with a recap of Hal Jordan’s origin and a nice introduction to the most famous Green Lantern of them all. The 4th story was a puzzling choice, The Terrifics #1 from a few months ago. I know DC is desperately trying to get fans to care about their “new age of heroes” but may have been better served reprinting a recent Superman comic.
If I was a new reader wanting to read about Superman and I picked this comic up and flipped through it, I’d find very little of the Man of Steel. Hopefully new readers will like what they see enough to buy the comic, DC is reprinting some good stuff here. If DC really wanted to put in a Batman/Superman story, it should have been complemented with another standalone Superman story, or at least another story FEATURING Superman. The overall package is nice. Good paper and print quality, an intro page before each story and a “come back in 30 days for the next installment” teaser at the end of each. There are ads for complementary trade paperbacks in several places throughout the issue, but NO Comic Shop Locator ad (it was in the Batman & Teen Titans issues, but not in Superman & JLA). Ultimately, I think it is a nice package for new fans and well worth the $4.99, but the 12 page Superman story, while great, is not really enough to make this worth it to existing fans other than the most hard-core completists.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics