Monday, May 31, 2010

Superman "new era" volumes 1-6 (Review)

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

I am a huge Superman Fan! That said, I will admit that a lot of times (to my great frustration) Superman comics are hit or miss. That is because the Superman character is so hard to write. Superman: Exile and SM: Strange Attractors literally put me to sleep, Superman: Red Son and Emperor Joker had me begging for more.....I suppose you have to put up with some of the lesser stories to get the great ones, but in my extensive comic book collecting, Superman is the only character like this. These six volumes; however, are definitely worth buying, and are some of Superman's best!

These six volumes collect the "new era" throughout Superman comics following his death and rebirth (and Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, & Roger Stern leaving the Superman titles). I loved this series, with great writers (including Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Mark Millar, Greg Rucka, Joe Kelly, Joe Casey, & Mark Shultz) and artists (including Ed McGuinness, Doug Mahnke, Ian Churchill, Kano, Dale Eaglesham, & Tom Nguyen).

Volume 1: No Limits. This collection of Superman tales marks the beginning of a Superman era. Mixing action sequences with character-driven storylines, Clark Kent's personal life takes unexpected turns as Superman is forced to take on some of his toughest foes one right after another. The Man of Steel is barely left standing after bouts with the Eradicator, Mongul, and Imperiex, when he is confronted by a new nemesis, La Encantadora!

Volume 2: Endgame. I had to search every comic book shop in Columbus, OH to find this volume! I was NOT disappointed. When midnight strikes on December 31st, 1999, Metropolis is instantly cloaked in complete darkness. Quickly taking action, Superman discovers that Brainiac 13 has siphoned the energy of the city in order to upgrade his systems and make himself even more powerful. But with Metropolis a barren energy wasteland, the futuristic menace enacts a plan to steal the power of the entire planet. Now Superman, joined by Lex Luthor, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter, must put an end to Brainiac's mad scheme before Earth is thrown back into the time of the dark ages.

Volume 3: 'Til Death Do Us Part. This volume broaches the realistic topic of relationship breakups and the emotional ramifications that it has upon people. When Lois Lane suddenly and inexplicably begins drifting away from Clark, the Man of Steel becomes lost in a morass of frustration and hopelessness. While trying to deal with the possible end of his marriage, Superman must return to Smallville to save his hometown from a threat of eco-terrorism. But as he takes down his physical adversaries, the Man of Steel is plagued by a mental anguish that he cannot defeat. Emotionally wrecked, Clark returns to Metropolis and sets out on the most important mission of his life: saving his love.

Volume 4: Critical Condition. Lois Lane wasn't herself... literally. "Lois" turned out to be the villain Parasite, who assumed Lois's form to get close to Superman. But in doing so, the Parasite contracted and died from Kryptonite poisoning. Worse, he took the secret of the real Lois' location to his grave!

Unfortunately, while searching for Lois, Superman is weakened by a mysterious ailment and scours Metropolis until he collapses. It then falls to Batman to conclude the search while Steel, Superboy, Supergirl, and The Atom team up and miniaturize to actually enter the Man of Steel's dying body. There, the heroes must find the cause of Superman's illness and cure him... if there's still time!

Volume 5: President Lex. A massive volume collecting the tale of Metropolis' most powerful man making his way to the White House! Also includes guest appearances by Aquaman, Tempest, Batman and the JLA! I love that DC Comics doesn't do real-world politics like Marvel they can have the quintessential villain running the world's most powerful nation!

Volume 6: Return to Krypton. This collection features Superman and Lois Lane brought back through time and space to Krypton. What the Man of Steel discovers, though, are two different looks at his homeworld...only he's not sure which one is real!

These stories collect years worth of work, and are the highlight of any Superman Graphic Novel collection.

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