Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by ICv2 on February 4, 2015 @ 3:16 am CT
According to the Bleeding Cool website, Superman #38, the issue shipping today, is "Blowing Up On eBay As He Gets A New Power (SPOILER)." But what is apparently making this issue "hot" is that fact he's getting a new costume. His new costume is revealed on the cover of the following issue and frankly the changes are so minor that it's hard to understand all the interest, but they're still welcome.
I'm on record as having had some qualms about the "New 52" design (having called it a "NASCAR Victorian Spacesuit"), primarily that they took a design that is so elegantly simple any child could easily approximate it to one so full of unduly complicated details that it's hard for even some professional artists to master. I'm not saying this was a factor in having Supes sporting his classic look in the General Mills Presents Justice League promotional comic books that came out last year. But it sure didn't happen by accident. Maybe the General Mills people were afraid kids wouldn't recognize Superman sans his underpants, though it sure seems to me like a classic case of "brand confusion."
Well, the good news is that most of the unnecessary detailing is now gone, although for some reason fingerless gloves have been added. It looks like a refinement of the "New 52" look and not just some temporary change that will only last a couple of issues; it's a cleaner look and the overall effect is now less NASCAR and more like something someone would wear in a science fiction-themed Shakespeare production. Though it is more than a little frustrating that they couldn’t have figured out what was wrong with the original new design back in 2011.
But, of course, more important than eBay sales and his latest costume is the actual comic, as in, is it actually any good? As always, I accept going in that "good" is both relative and subjective, but to me anyway the Geoff Johns/John Romita Jr. version is the very model of a modern superhero comic, one that could appeal to a wide audience. While the ongoing storyline definitely makes it difficult for the casual reader to pick up an issue at random, it is otherwise exactly the kind of comic that could appeal to anyone who knows Superman and wants to know more. DC has done it with Batman, now Superman; now if only they could only do the same thing with the monthly Wonder Woman comic.
Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Do The Research"). Well two Sundays ago, I came across an even better example of this phenomenon in The Amazing Spider-Man comic strip. While filming "Marvella," a movie about a female superhero (something we're still waiting to see in our world), Mary Jane is menaced by a malfunctioning robot. I fully expected it to be a Star Wars knockoff but apparently that wasn't sufficiently out of date because MJ is attacked by Elektro, the smoking robot who made his debut at the 1939 World's Fair. Now, no one is a bigger fan of vintage robots than I, and understand that this could have been done as a whimsical "homage." But there's part of me that's convinced it was done because some of the strip's readers are old enough to have actually attended the 1939 World's Fair.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.