Hey everyone, welcome back to CWPB! This week will be Part 1 of my 80 Years of Superman Special! By the time you’re reading this, tomorrow (4/18/18) will be the release of Action Comics #1000! This is a huge landmark, and is being massively celebrated. Due to the way I publish, I decided to do double the Superman coverage! Some hype stuff now, right before release and then a full review of the issue and some other cool Superman biz next week. As part of the Superman Special, I’m gonna bump the Post-Credit up to before the credits (like Marvel did with Age of Ultron, which fuck that movie but we’re not getting into that). To start, this week’s books!
Detective Comics #978
Detective Comics pushes forward, examining the wake of last issue’s ending. Colony soldiers, controlled by Ulysses, are killing people in an attempt to put more distance between Batman and Batwoman. The two of them agree to meet to discuss everything going on, while Tim stays back at the cave and tries to figure out what happened to cause the soldiers to start shooting. This arc remains pretty interesting, watching Ulysses pull strings from the shadows and get increasingly involved. This issue pushed the story forward a bit, but the real progress isn’t til the end so there isn’t too much to discuss here. It lacks the serious look at the characters that the previous arc had, and this particular issue is light on action or mystery. It’s still interesting and necessary – it’s not filler, just the slight lull before things pick up. The art had a few particularly excellent moments in this one too. Overall while this might not be the best issue of Detective Comics ever, it sets up a hell of a next issue. Come back in two weeks to see if it lives up to my expectations!
Old Man Logan #38
Well, this issue wasn’t quite what I hoped.
Logan confronts Bullseye again, gets the drive, and goes right to the source — the Kingpin. Unfortunately, the conclusion is fairly anti-climactic.
What’s on the drive isn’t interesting.
The Kingpin’s motives aren’t anything new or exciting.
There’s a real sense of frustration with the inability to hold powerful people accountable, so at least that part hits home. The idea is that as both the mayor and a powerful crime boss, it’s hard to threaten the Kingpin directly. At the end of the issue, Logan repeatedly says that the Kingpin will “slip up eventually”. Unfortunately, it seems the payoff is only around for readers of other books. The note at the beginning of the book says it takes place before Daredevil #600 which is “the climax of the Mayor Fisk arc”. So apparently whatever punishment he faces will be over on the Daredevil side of things. Reading reviews of #600, there are complaints about it not being a satisfying conclusion so I guess in this case nobody gets a good ending.
Oh well, it happens.
Still a decently enjoyable fight scene packed in there, so Old Man Logan #38 isn’t a complete loss.
Dodge City #2
Dodge City is still super cute, even as the drama rises! The team’s troubled past is explained, there’s tension between team members, personal tragedy, and probably something else going on. And around all that? Dodgeball! The whole issue takes place over the course of a practice, and it’s super well put together. We get more bits and pieces about the characters and who they are, plus how they connect with each other. The big tournament is next issue, and I’m so excited for even more intense drama and competition. Plus, there’s a lot of interpersonal stuff this issue that’s pretty unresolved. Huck has some mysterious problem, just gets the chance to say that he’s not okay before distractions come up and the discussion ends.. Judith and Chase, her brother and a returning player, have some obvious tension over what happened before. Plus Elsie and Drew are definitely in a pretty rough place after how their conversation went. I know that’s all super vague, but seriously check out this series. It’s got the best Boom! Comics qualities and beautiful art and a fun premise. I’ll stick with this one for a while.
Gideon Falls #2
Going from a lighthearted Boom! book to horror was a bit of a jump, but I did get to save the best issue for last. Tension and suspense are building in a big way. Our one protagonist Norton continues both his therapy and his search for pieces of the Black Barn. Our other protagonist, the priest, is a suspect in the murder of the woman he found dead at the end of the last issue. Both are in a difficult position, and the spooky factor is definitely ramping. One of the things I like a lot about this issue is it makes it abundantly clear that bad stuff is actually happening. The characters aren’t crazy, the reliability of their beliefs isn’t a point of suspense. There is definitely “for real” evil ghost demon monster biz happening and it’s all related to this mysterious barn. There are still only small connecting details between the two stories – mainly the presence of the Black Barn. I’m extremely interested to see them start to converge more and more. There’s still a bunch of great art stuff going on to add to the weirdness. The style is scratchy to begin with, and there are little things like use of red in certain places that really makes the mostly grey color pop. After two issues I can say I’m genuinely invested in the series, and there’s a lot of stuff I want to know going forward. If this sort of pacing can keep up, I’m in for the long run.
CWPB Superman Special Part 1: 10 Best/Worst Superman Moments List
Full disclosure: Originally, this was going to be a different list. I wanted to split it to be half actual informative things and half jokes. But the more I dove into old Superman stuff, the more fucking ridiculous nonsense I found. Therefore this is mostly jokes, because it’s fun.
- Most Emotional Superman Moment: Superman and the jumper (Grounded #1) This is a Superman moment that really resonated with me, which I’ve talked about at slightly greater length elsewhere. Superman talks to a suicidal woman, whose first request of Superman is to swear that if she decides to jump he can’t take that decision away from her. He makes the promise, and he stays floating by her, talking and respecting her wish for silence when she makes it. Despite all his powers, in this moment he makes a human connection. He saves someone in a way that any person can do. Those are the moments that define Superman as the icon he is. His words, “if you think there’s even a chance – no matter how small- that there might be just one more happy day out there then take my hand” are real and meaningful and impactful to anyone struggling, and are truly the best Superman moment ever penned. You can read the excerpt in its entirety here (not compiled by me, possibly not legal!)
- Best Elseworlds Superman Story: Superman: Red Son Red Son is a pretty popular pick for Superman stories that matter, but for good reason. The idea behind the story for those unfamiliar is simple: is Superman good because he was raised by the Kents? Is his goodness inherent or learned? How would Superman be different if instead of Smalltown, he had landed in the Soviet Union? It’s a really cool read that delves into the soul of the character as well as creating a pretty fucking neat alternate universe featuring silly Russian hat Batman. If you’re going to read one Superman book, go for Red Son.
- Best Superman Costume (FIGHT ME): Bruce Timm’s Justice League animated series version. Fine, yes, I’m biased. I grew up on the Bruce Timm DCU cartoons, from Batman the Animated Series to Justice League, all the different movies, etc. This costume (and overall design) just captures Superman in a really great way. It’s simple, but iconic.
- Best Dated and Charmingly Sexist Golden Age Superman Moment: “Thank Heavens I can talk again!” “Just like a woman!” That’s right folks, the Golden Age happened and all our favorite characters that were around back then have had some questionable moments. Most are relatively harmless and fun to look back on, like this one.
- Most Ridiculous Superman Plot Point: Superman makes a porno: Yup, this is also real. Long story short, Superman is being mind controlled to act in an adult film with Big Barda, who is married to Mister Miracle. Due to being Superman, he ends up shaking off the mind control so this is cheating a little bit but it’s still an absurd piece of a much bigger evil scheme.
- Most Amazing Mullet: There’s no context or plot or punchline here. This was Superman’s actual design at one point. Moving on.
- Best Out of Context Panel from Crossover Comics: There were a few different crossovers between Marvel and DC, from stuff like Amalgam Comics to some books where they just threw popular characters together to get free money. Superman and Spider-Man were the most popular, so they met and this incredible moment took place.
- Lamest Use of Superman’s Near Infinite Powers: Finding Lois Lane by looking for a spot he couldn’t see through with x-ray vision. So I absolutely can’t find the name of the story or any image for this, but I’m almost positive it happened. Basically, Lex Luthor and the Joker decided to swap heroes since they were tired of losing. Batman dealt with Lex somehow, doesn’t matter. Meanwhile on Superman’s end, the Joker kidnaps Lois Lane and hides her in a coffin made of lead (which Superman can’t see through). Supes panics, searching high and low. Then he thinks, “what if I just look for the one coffin shaped object my x-ray vision doesn’t penetrate?” It’s fucking dumb.
- Best Event That Permanently Destroyed the Long Term Value of Comic Books Despite Everyone Still Buying Them and Believing the Long Box They Keep in the Garage Will Fund Their Retirement: The Death of Superman Not much explanation needed for this. Around the 90’s is when the first old comics started to really be worth something. Collectors started wildly speculating that any meaningful event would end up worth a fortune later. The demand for books went up, more ended up being printed, and so none of them ever became worth anything. The biggest offender is Death of Superman. DC killing off their biggest hero ever!? Surely that would be the most expensive book ever in 10 years! Everyone bought it, and it’s worth fucking dick. It also began the constant cycle of events and oversaturation of comics that has led to the current trend. Almost no issues go above cover value. Most devalue to $1 by 6 months later.
- Worst Superman Live Action Movie Adaptation: It’s all of them. Sorry Supes, DC makes shit movies apparently. Maybe next time.
That’s it for this week – as stated above that Superman list is functioning as the post-credit this week for the special! Make sure to pick up Action Comics #1000 tomorrow, and feel free to share your favorite Superman moments with the Skill Floor team on Discord.