Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review of 10-year-old comic book I've finally gotten around to reading, part1

Having kids didn't stop me from buying comics, it just kept me from reading them! So I've stumbled upon a couple books I finally got around to reading.

Action Comics Annual #10

This one's a head scratcher. The cover has the go-go checks, layout  and the '48pg giant' logo all from the 60s, which is supposed to evoke some feeling of nostalgia from old-timers like myself. I bit, I bought it, expecting a bunch of standalone Superman stories like the good old days, but no.

Instead it's a collection of unfinished stories, and Superman is hardly in it. My first clue should have been Superman not even being on the cover (he is featured prominently on the alternate cover, so those readers must have been really disappointed.)

OK, no Superman and unfinished stories. Oh, I get it, there had just been another reboot, and these were the introductory stories to upcoming interminable story arcs for the next issues of Action.

At least that's my theory, I hadn't bought too many Actions after this.

That, and I hate DC story arcs. They never finish. They spend more thought on setting up the arc than actually seeing it through.

The first story no, not actually a story. Lex Luthor goes through a jungle imagining different ways to kills Superman. He finds some Kryptonite, and that's it. Four pages. Great Art Adams art though.

Second story is a retelling of the introduction of Mon-El. Why didn't they just reprint the original story from the 50s? The only difference is instead of stressing the cover tease of a brother from Krypton (not really), it stresses Clark Kent's loneliness. It does have a beginning, middle and end though, unlike everything else in the book. Eric Wight provides some indie-comic style art.

The "Mystery of the Blue Sun" story is the real head scratcher. Thanagarian space police cruisers investigating destroyed cruisers come upon some Bizarro Supermen. Once again, that's it. Two pages! At first I thought it was a production error because the "story" ends abruptly and it goes to a two-page spread of the "Secrets of the Fortress of Solitude," ... then a two-page comic about the Wii, you keep flipping pages looking for the Bizarro story to continue, and it never does! It's always great to see Joe Kubert, especially in the 2000's when he was nearing retirement, but still. There's no there there.

"The Criminals of Krypton" is the closest we get to a story with some interesting concepts. It's based on the deleted scenes from the first Superman movie where the Kryptonian council sends its storm troopers to take out Jor-El. OK, great idea, tell me more. We get some background on the Phantom Zone villains (they weren't evil, just misunderstood -- or lobotomized) -- and more background on Jor-El. OK, a good story, with beautiful art by Rags Morales.

By then though it's too little, too late, because it closes with the continuation of Lex Luthor unveiling the new and improved Metallo

It's all a big tease and big cheat, DC is essentially saying: Here's a bunch of unfinished ideas we may or may not get back to, thanks for your $3.99 though.

I used to think I stopped buying comics books because I had kids and no time to read them, now I'm thinking it's because I kept feeling like I'm getting cheated.