Monday, 19 July 2010

Walking Back to Crappiness

I'm not the biggest comic news reader. Don't have the time. It's read the comics or read the news about comics. What you gonna do? As a result, I was largely unaware of the big Superman news until Mr Kirkham alerted me to it. To summarise, after a year or two when Superman hasn't even appeared in his own book, he's back, but instead of smashing up meteors and burning stuff with his eyes, he's walking across America.

Yes, walking.

The man who flies faster than a speeding bullet and leaps tall buildings in a single bound is going for a gentle cross-country stroll. Ridiculous. It wouldn't be so bad if during that stroll, Braniac landed on earth and smashed Supes over the head with a red kryptonite hammer, but apparently there aren't going to be any super-villains in this story.


Instead, Superman is going to chat to people. That's right chat. Chat and, (these are actual plot points from the first installment, by the way), fix cars, burn drugs and comfort suicidal women. OH MY GOD!

Now, I understand that I'm sounding like some precious, entitled fanboy by slating this nonsense without even reading it, but come on! This is Superman! Why on earth would anyone want to read twelve issues of a Superman comic in which he strolls across America having mundane conversations with a bunch of nobodies? It's a stupid idea!

Not that it should surprise us given that the whole concept comes from the mind of J Michael Straczynski, the man whose most recent stories include an arc on Thor where he put Asgard in Oklahoma and had Thor eat pancakes with pensioners - or something like that, I don't know how it turned out, because after two issues without Thor hitting anyone with his fucking hammer, I gave up.

I don't have a total downer on Straczynski. He's done some good stuff (be nice if he'd finish The Twelve). Who knows, this might even be good. I've heard a few people say that Thor got better, so maybe I'm doing it a disservice. But honestly, Oklahoma? Walks? Chatting? This is the kind of bollocks my two-year-old-son comes up with. He's always pitching me this one Spider-Man story where Spidey goes to Sainsburys to buy some pasta and cake for a party at Rhino's house. Straczynski would probably nick that idea if he could. It sounds more exciting than Superman's walk, at least it's got a villain in it.

So yeah, I'm less than enthused about this thing. Part of me wants to read it to see how bad it is. But it probably won't even be "funny bad", more likely it's going to be a bunch of earnest claptrap - Superman discovering the soul of America. Christ. I know there's a place for this sort of thing, but Superman's been shit for a while now and the last thing the character needs is to slow down. What's wrong with Lex Luthor blowing up The Fortress of Solitude or Bizarro kidnapping Lois Lane? Why do we need introspection in a Superman comic? Alright, a little bit perhaps. But a whole year's worth? I say thee nay!



Jared said...


I think Superman must be the hardest gig in comics (he's invulnerable & all-powerful, GO!), but at least some writers have been up to the task. Having him do... nothing... is a pretty desperate way to get around the problem.

That said, if it WEREN'T Superman, I'd be ok with this as a standalone Vertigo miniseries (Mr Invincible gets back in touch with the common people, sort of bollocks). But to do this sort of high-concept "LOOK! I IZ LITTERARIE!" silliness in the main title is just... arrogant.

Also, I think JMS is poo. Rising Stars was adolescent wankery.

pulpsfromthebothy said...

Oh dear, poor ol' Supes I have to agree with both of you. After reading the issue I tried desperately to delude myself into finding some enjoyment here. I've been very loyal to the great man in blue, but I can see the end of the road for me. Jared is right, it is a poison chalice and the only way for this to work is for DC and Superman to lighten up and start punching whales again!

eye-melt said...

Don't know if this is the same thing, but I remember reading something online about getting yourself in a Superman comic. I think you could be one of the folks he chance encounters on his road trip. Although he'll probably skip Blighty.

Hurk said...

Did the same guy write that Michael Landon series "Highway to Heaven"??

Tam said...

I'd love to see Garth Ennis do a superman series, he handled him very well when he appeared in Hitman.

My all time favorite superman story, (since you didn't ask) is a short tale of superman meeting a suicidal man at christmas time, which was written and drawn by Paul 'Concrete' Chadwick. Real shame it's never been reprinted...