Just about every issue of Morrison’s All-Star Superman would probably be a good fit for this column. With the exception of the Bizarro Earth two-parter and the two issue conclusion, every issue could stand alone as a fantastic single serving Superman story. There are two stories in the book’s 12-issue run, however, that deserve special attention in this regard: “Neverending” and “Funeral in Smallville”. For now, I’ll be focusing on All-Star Superman #10, “Neverending”, but believe me, I’ll come back for the other.
Hello again, read/RANT fans! Cal here. I know updates have been few and far between around here, but now that I FINALLY have a) an internet connection (well… kind of) and b) the ability to purchase comics, I hope to start posting a little more regularly.
I’m still working on a way to revamp The Unread Canon, to move the focus away from ongoing story-arcs and towards a more coherent look at some ‘classic’ books, but for now, I hope you folks enjoyed my One Shot colums (from the number of readers I got on the Astro City and Animal Man issues, I’d imagine you did). I’m going to ease back in, and the first part of that will involve starting up my looks at standalone issues of comics, some great, some merely okay, once again.
This, hopefully, is what my schedule will look like for One Shot this year…
6/12/11 – The Unwritten #5, “How the Whale Became”
7/10/11 – All-Star Superman #10, “Neverending”
8/14/11 – X-Factor #13, “Re-X-Aminations”
9/11/11 – Ex Machina #40, “Ruthless”
10/09/11 – Tales of the Slayers, “Righteous”
11/13/11 – Daytripper #8, “47”
As ever, any suggestions for future issues are more than welcome, and hopefully I’ll get more writing coming up soon!
I apologize that life has pulled so many of us away from the site, particularly given how exciting things have gotten with DC’s recent announcement – more on that later.
Glad to be back!
– Cal Cleary
Action Comics #869 (*****): Another solid chapter in the reinvention of Brainiac arc.
All-Star Superman #12 (*****): So much needs to be said about this book, and I plan to, just as soon as I get my copies of the rest of the series back from Mandy. Expect a Series Review of this masterpiece by the end of the month.
The Amazing Spider-Man #572 (****): On par with the rest of the arc, but not even close to the ultimate Bullseye vs Spider-Man fight that Slott promised us. Too much hype, dude.
Bruce Castle (****1/2)
Birds of Prey #122 (**): I didn’t read it so much as look at the pretty pictures… and vomit.
DC Lebeau (Hated it!)
Captain Britain and MI:13 #5 (****): Blade, you son of a bitch!
Seventh Soldier (B+)
Daredevil #111 (****): I like her. And I definitely liked this. Matt Murdock. What a bastard.
Fables #76 (***): Holy Lord, how much did I hate reading this issue of Fables? Sure, I know Willingham is a hardcore Republican, but some of the dialogue in this issue almost made my head explode. Really, Snow White? Is that how you justify all this death? And this cliché anti-tech speech? LAME. Also, no one talks like this on their cell phone. Can we stop writing crap like this? Please? Question: what does it say about me that I agree with Geppetto?
Hulk #6 (****1/2): AWESOME!!!
Bruce Castle (*****)
The Punisher #62 (***): Even without comparing this to Ennis’ take on the character, I would still hate it. And it’s not that I hate all other versions of the Punisher, because I think Fraction’s version is great (until the plot started to suck ass).
Bruce Castle (****)
Robin #178 (***1/2): Okay. Fine. Meh. BLAH. It wasn’t bad, how about that?
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)
DC Lebeau (Liked it!)
Ultimate Fantastic Four/Ultimate X-Men Annual #1 (**): Way worse than the last issue. UGH.
Bruce Castle (****)
Ultimate Spider-Man #126 (****): I liked it. Plus, it made me nostalgic for a time when Nick Fury ran S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Ultimates were badass.
Bruce Castle (***)
Uncanny X-Men #502 (**): STAB MY EYES!!!
Bruce Castle (**)
The Walking Dead #52 (***1/2): Okay, with a side of losing interest fast.
Bruce Castle (****)
War Heroes #2 (**): I thought about scanning the penis page… but that would be crude. Get it?
Bruce Castle (***1/2)
All Star Superman #12 (*****)
It’s hard to review this comic without gushing about it for several paragraphs. I think we all knew three years ago that Grant Morrison and Frank Quietely on a Superman series sans continuity would be good, but did anyone think it would be this good? This is the best Superman comic I’ve ever read. Everything that Superman is has been conveyed in this series. This is why I love Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. No matter how good their previous work has been, they always raise the bar. It’s hard to believe that’s possible I know, but I think it’s true. This may be Morrison’s best comic. This is Quietly’s best comic. I can’t recommend this comic enough.
Action Comics #869 (*****)
Take a look at that cover. Superman and his father drinking beer while leaning on a gate. Superman’s wife and mother watching from the porch. America’s heartland in the background. How much more American can you get? But this isn’t the cover of the comic I’m holding. Something’s changed. The beer brand has been altered to a dismal label that reads “SODA POP”. Really?! I’ve talked about this enough, but I just wanted to let you all know that this comic was delayed a week because of this. I think the main reason why is because of All Star Batman and Robin’s faux pas, but I’ll talk more about that later. This was another great issue. I’ve always liked Supergirl. She’s one of the most poorly handled characters in comics, but she’s written brilliantly here. This issue is particularly remarkable because a few of our questions are answered. Why is Supergirl in this comic? Find out in this issue. Why have the Daily Planet employees been getting a lot of screen time lately? Find out in this issue. Why are there about to be a lot more Kryptonians running around? Find out in this issue. In addition to all of that, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank still bring their A-game. Johns’ writing is wonderful and Frank’s art is superb.
Yesterday, All-Star Superman – otherwise known as Grant Morrison’s ASS – came to an end, finally. With the stated objective of telling the definitive Superman story, Morrison and artist Frank Quitely set a rather high bar for themselves, setting up against such classics as Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? and Alan Moore’s For the Man Who Has Everything and…uhhh…just, really, Alan Moore. With the last issue on the stands, we can finally look back at the series and ask: Did All-Star Superman make a mistake by setting the bar so high?
It cleared it.
Morrison and Quitely made sure to touch on as many aspects of the Superman mythos as humanly possible in a twelve issue series, with an issue featuring Lex Luthor, an issue about Jimmy Olson, a trip to the Bizarro Cubed Earth, and more. Many comic fans who aren’t reading the series have derided All-Star Superman as a Silver Age throwback, completely missing the point – to provide a continuity-free retrospective on the history of Superman, be it Golden, Silver, or Modern.
The book isn’t flawless, of course. The Bizarro two-parter can drag on, which is a shame given that it’s the only two-parter in the series, the rest of the book composed of a series of one-shots tied together by the central conceit of ‘How would Superman react if he knew he was going to die soon?’ But, beyond that, the book hits a variety of emotional highs and lows, has insane, epic action, and just in general manages to succeed.
It isn’t flawless, but looking back on the series as a whole, this is the only mainstream comic work that I imagine stands a chance of being mentioned in the same breath, 10 years from now, as Watchmen or The Sandman.
Final Crisis: Revelations #2
Final Crisis: Revelations is a great many things. It’s spiritual sequel to both Infinite Crisis and 52. A direct sequel to The Five Books of Blood. A tie-in to Final Crisis. Under a lesser writer than Rucka, this might be too much material to work into a 5-issue series, but it does well.
This issue is the first that feels like a ‘traditional’ tie-in, in the sense that it takes a standard character – The Question – and uses the current event to shake up that character’s status quo, introduce a new enemy based on the major event, etc…. The issue feels very traditional in many ways, but it’s still good. The long-needed introduction of an element of balance to the Spectre occurs, a major reveal regarding one of DC’s older villains, and a reunion of sorts between Cris and Renee in their new roles all keep the action rolling, but it’s the emotional core of the issue that makes it great. This is Rucka revisiting his old toybox, and it seems like he’s having a good time doing so.
The revelations of this issue all felt natural and needed, the action was engaging, and emotions ran high. All around solid, but nothing spectacular. A competent tie-in, and a strong issue on its own.
Secret Six #1
Everyone’s already said most of what needs to be said, but Simone really nailed it, here. The twisted humor and uncomfortable camaraderie of the Six are perfect, and the new villain is intriguing. All-in-all, a solid start to this new series. Hopefully, it’ll be around for a good little while.
Captain Britain and MI:13 #5
For anyone wondering if the quality of Captain Britain would keep up once the Secret Invasion tie-in ended, the short answer is: “Hell Yes.” Cornell and crew are now using the book to look at a variety of British heroes, so this issue sees cameos from more than one, of all calibers – from nobodies like Captain Midlands to bigger characters some people might not know were British, like Blade. The issue is fun and engaging, but it’s still set-up, and it leaves off with a frankly ridiculous cliffhanger.
Oh, Blade. You aren’t a team player.