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Welcome to “Bagged and Boarded”, a series of articles by Kevin Beckham and Dustin Cabeal. In “Bagged and Boarded” two comic fans express their thoughts/opinions about an issue or comic event.
This week we discuss DC Comic’s: Superman, War of the Supermen issue one. Written by James Robinson & Sterling Gates. Art by Jamal Igle and ink from Jon Sibal. We have included DC’s synopsis of the issue for those of you who are unfamiliar with it.
“The Battle for New Krypton! This is it! The storyline the SUPERMAN books have been building to since 2008 has arrived! Superman has never faced such a difficult challenge – how can he stop the two worlds he loves from destroying each other? General Zod has been waiting for another shot at Earth for years, and with 100,000 supermen on his side, it looks like it's his war to win! But on Earth, General Lane has an ace up his sleeve that will level the playing field quite nicely!” – DCcomics.com
Dustin Cabeal: So what did you think?
Kevin Beckham: It was okay, but I just want to know: would this have rewarded me if I had been reading “New Krypton” up to this point? Is there any closure to that in all four books? I understand it's a tie-in, but who knows if it has what it takes to stand on its own. I will say the excitement of The War of Superman is pretty intriguing. Did you like it?
Dustin: No, I didn't like it.
Kevin: What about as the start of a miniseries?
Dustin: As a miniseries it fails and as a first issue. It only rewards the readers who have been following Superman and Action Comics for the past year. Which could be very rewarding, but if you're going to slap #1 on the cover you better explain the series and it better be able to stand on its own.
Kevin: For new readers.
Dustin: Yeah, otherwise they could have taken this story and worked two issues into Superman and two issues into Action Comics. I am interested in the 100 minute war, but I don’t see how time is going to translate especially in comics.
Kevin: It could be really confusing.
Dustin: It's not going to work unless you're just going to sit there and do a countdown of each minute.
Kevin: What did you think about the art? I like this cover.
Dustin: Yeah the cover is great but the inside is where it struggles. Jamal just cannot draw faces. Look at Lois Lane! There's a right and left profile shot and the curve of her forehead and jaw line change between panels... and this is all on the same page!
Kevin: I’ve got to agree, because Superman just comes off as a costume here. His face- I can't get any emotion out of his face. It's like they asked him a question and he doesn't know the answer. Superman what's 2 + 2?
Dustin: Do-do? Because that's the look on his face.
K: Right! Okay story wise there's this guy, Reactron who is imprisoned by Kara's mother for killing Supergirl's father. He goes super nova and obliterates the entire planet of New Krypton to space rubble. But Supergirl survives it being only a few feet away from the blast and so does Superman. Now they’re floating in Kryptonite rubble and not taking any damage from it!
D: I know, plus Reactron's helmet and some random flag pole survive.
K: Reactron, man that's a dumb name. I would have believed Steve from Krypton before I believed Reactron.
D: Also after the planet exploded, why did we have to read Reactron's dialogue again when that was just three pages ago? I didn’t forget what I read and it wasn’t that well written the first time.
K: No idea. What I was thinking about? Do they not get hurt by the Kryptonite because it’s not from the original Krypton? That's pretty stupid. Oh yeah--- since this is an “alien race” why is it when they speak to each other they don't speak in Kryptonian?
D: Yeah you're right. That makes a great point. When they first showed up that's all they spoke.
K: Put italics around the dialogue and add “by the way this is Kryptonian”. Readers will understand that.
D: Works in other books. Plus while Superman and Supergirl are in space, she’s crying. I know they’re super but they still need to breath air and no one cries without gasping for air. And I'm sure her own tears would do some sort of damage to her.
K: We need someone smarter than us to figure this out. Someone needs to cry in space to document what happens...and the need to be from Krypton.
D: What really bothers me about the issue is the destruction of New Krypton. The idea of New Krypton wasn't great, but at least it added some depth to Superman. Now with it destroyed they just dismiss a year of storytelling. Reset button! Oh well... Superman's planet's gone again.
K: I know! Wouldn't that destroy him mentally? Losing his home twice! He's still a dude and I know he's super but that would totally wreck him.
D: It would... He had a relationship with the people from living there as well as training the Kryptonian army, which Zod even uses as leverage against him.
K: There you go Superman, the only family you've ever known are dead or now hate you.
D: It's total crap that General Lane knows just how to destroy Kryptonians. Where the hell did this angle even come from!?! Why is Earth all pissed off that the aliens are leaving and want to destroy their new planet?
K: Wouldn't the destruction of that planet totally throw Earth out of its rotation?
K: Stupid. So there you go, anything else?
D: I liked the cover and it's smooth and glossy… You?
K: Stop using Superman's history as lame story jump offs. Respect it. It'll go a lot further if you do.