Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Superman: Secrets and Lies (comics)

Writers: Dan Jurgans, Keith Giffen, Scott Lobdell
Artists: Dan Jurgans, Jesus Merino
Collects: Superman (vol. 3) #7-12, Superman Annual #1

Hey, are you ready for another switch of creative teams? Too bad! Jugans and Giffen are only around for this volume. Lobdell takes control with the Annual - included here - and has the reigns for a couple volumes.

This volume of Superman may have the highest creative turnover of the entire New 52 line and it's not doing the book any favors.

We've already encountered Dan Jurgans at least once in the New 52. He's a dependable talent, not shifting too far in either direction as far as quality goes, but I'm hard pressed to think of anything he's done I really loved. The trend continues here, despite the addition of Keith Giffen; I enjoyed his art and the writing isn't half bad, but nothing about this book is even remotely memorable.

Part of that may have to do with the constant creative shifts. George Perez didn't last longer than a volumes worth of comics either. It's difficult to set up some sort of stable status quo or do anything interesting when no one can even settle in before they're gone. Still, it makes for a forgettable experience.

So we're left with a book that doesn't have a real direction; as such, it's sort of become a dumping ground for short, old school, disposable Superman adventures. I suppose there's some merit to the approach - it's a contrast to Grant Morrisons approach over in Action Comics - but the New 52 wasn't really supposed to foster books like this, where you can practically see the wheels spinning. It was supposed to foster excitement and new directions, wasn't it?

Instead, the Superman comic has felt like something out of the past. You may recall one of my complaints with the first volume was that it felt like a throwback to the Bronze Age. Well, it didn't get any better with this one. It has the same feel of a comic from a bygone era, though maybe a bit more modern than What Price Tomorrow. It only manages to get worse when we get to Scott Lobdells Annual; George Perez occasionally slipped into the old timey practice of using thought balloons, but Lobdell straight up embraces it.

Guys, we moved past the thought balloon for a reason.

Ultimately, nothing of consequence really happens here. I mean, it sort of advances the Daemonite plot that's popped up here and there and tries to set up a villain I assume Lobdell will be using, but it all feels like we're killing time. It's difficult to remember what actually happens save a few bullet points; I just read it last night and I can only remember the broad strokes. I actually stopped three times in the course of reading it, which is never a good sign for any volume that doesn't collect a number of issues somewhere in the teens.

I can typically see the purpose of a New 52 title or why DC might have been looking for when it made a certain comic. Superman is the title I understand the least of any of them. I don't really get what they were trying to accomplish with this or why they decided on this direction. All I know is it's not working.

My Opinion: Skip It

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