Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Straczynski, Robinson, Jurgens, Barrows, Chang, Mayer & Rapmund
Yet another big number anniversary rolls out this week and yet again it delivers a different format to its content. Superman #700 contains three short stories, all with different creative teams, to tell three very different kinds of stories. While the content is original material, the issue only really contains about forty pages of story. It also contains a write up from the various Super-related titles to explain the direction for those titles. For $5 it’s a tough sell.
The first story is a sixteen page tale that wraps up the Robinson run on the title. Having not read any of it (except the Free Comic Book Day issue) I can’t say this short story would make me want to read the back issues.
Essentially the story is Superman returning to Earth and seeing Lois for the first time. They spend some quality time together but some of the characterization seems off. Superman (Clark) has a mother and yet he mentions how all he thinks about is seeing Lois. Wouldn’t it make sense he would think about seeing his mom too? Lois is independent and strong and could potentially make out fine without Superman in her life. However, Clark’s mom isn’t like that and probably needs and wants Clark a lot more. Superman would know and understand this. This made the story feel “off” from what I would think Superman would do.
Another aspect of this story that was bizarre was how many times Lois called Superman “baby”. I can’t picture Lois talking to Superman like this. That was very, very strange.
The second story was by far the best. Jurgens tells a Silver Age tale about Robin (Dick Grayson) going out in Gotham and finding himself in a lot of trouble while Batman is otherwise occupied as Bruce Wayne. Superman sniffs this out and saves the day. The tale nails all three characters and provides a couple of laughs and some excellent play on the futures of these character’s roles. The story shows Jurgens has a tremendous command of the character’s history and present day interpretation of looking back at the Silver Age.
The final story kicks off Straczynski’s run on the title by putting Superman at odds with one woman during a press conference. This leaves Superman in a state of genuflecting as he can’t seem to forgive himself for what he’s done to the people of Earth by abandoning them. Or is that Superman doesn’t like just how reliant the people of Earth have become on him? Either way Straczynski is cooking up an interesting story here. I’m not sure there was enough to grab my interest long term though.
The team of artists deliver a terrific issue. For the most part the issue is light on action which isn’t really what you might expect from a Superman comic book which makes it tough on the art team to keep things fresh. However, the three stories provide a tremendous amount of details and do tell a consistent looking visual story.
I guess I have unrealistic expectations with these anniversary issues. I expect them to be large on content to justify the $5 cover price and I expect them to be memorable in some way. For example, Batman #500 debuted the new costume and outlook of the stand-in Batman, Jean-Claude Valley. It was unforgettable, especially the cover. This issue doesn’t quite measure that. It tells three nice stories but there just isn’t enough in here to get me excited about the future of the franchise or to rationalize the cover charge.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles