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Look, Up In The Sky! It’s The Not-As-Bad-As-You-Thought Superman Revamp!

Graeme McMillan

When DC announced that they were sending Superman off-planet for an entire year, and taking him out of both the Action and Superman titles in doing so, I have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical. If, by skeptical, we all agree I mean “derisively snarky.” But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and apparently this pudding isn’t as doughy as I expected.

Wait, was that me taking the metaphor too far?

I admit, I skipped out on the second half of “New Krypton” when the first half left me more than a little bored, and planned to do the same for the Superbooks’ new 2009 status quo; if it wasn’t for getting comp copies of SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #1 and ACTION COMICS #875, I wouldn’t have even given the storyline(s) a second thought… and maybe that would’ve been better for my budget, because I have to admit being more sucked in than I would want to be by what I saw. Don’t get me wrong, I still think there’s an element of wrong-headedness to what’s going on – Why would you take the character Superman out of the comic Superman and then create a new comic for him to star in, for one thing – but it’s done with such… I don’t know, shamelessness? Panache? Smugness? that I can’t help but want to find out what the endgame is.

You see, that’s what really won me over. Not the fine art by Pete Woods (although, I admit, I liked the sketchier style he used on “Up, Up and Away”) and Eddy Barrows, although both WONK and Action look wonderful and the best they have in awhile. No, it’s the way that, reading both books pretty much back-to-back reminded me, more than anything of reading 52. The way that they both felt like chapters in a larger story, but one that’s (a) actually going somewhere, and (b) going somewhere that isn’t immediately obvious. That 52-esque feeling is helped, of course, by the shout-outs to continuity (The reveal of Nightwing’s identity in particular works much better than I’d expected it to, and I loved that you find out who he is, but not necessarily why he is) and the strong scripting of Greg Rucka (on Action, and co-writing WONK). Even if you’re not as easily pulled in to what’s happening in the two series, you still have to marvel (ha?) at the way that both issues are written, balancing exposition and narrative in such a skillful way (Admittedly, WONK #1 is still a little too “And this is the set-up” heavy for my liking) that you can pretty much pick the books up cold (or, like me, having skipped the last few months of what came before) and still not be lost, but without feeling that anything has been sacrificed to help you get there.

Of course, everything could still go to shit in the next year or so, but then, that was always a possibility with 52, as well. For now, though, I’m as surprised by anyone that I’m onboard the Supertrain through 2009, but WONK #1 was a low Good and Action #875 was just plain Good. Who saw that coming, even with telescopic vision?

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