Book of Doom: Superman #675

Superman 675It’s been three weeks since the Book of Doom returned with a vengeance, with a 4-day review-thon spotlighting as many books. Since then, we here at haven’t been able to decide on a book that we had enough interest in to sit down and write a review. This week Superman #675, the final Kurt Busiek-penned issue of the series, seemed like it might be a good choice.

Emphasis on the word “seemed.”

Kurt Busiek’s Superman run has been pretty decent, but then again I’ve only been reading Superman solo stories for as long as Busiek’s been writing them. “Up, Up and Away,” the first One Year Later arc, was a great story. “Camelot Falls” was a nice saga that suffered drastically from constant interruptions by fill-in issues to give Carlos Pacheco time to play catch-up. Some of those fill-ins were even pretty entertaining, though.

But since Camelot Falls ended six months ago or so, Supeman just hasn’t been very good. Busiek seemed to be treading water, incorporating elements from the Richard Donner Action Comics arc that I tried my damnedest to avoid. There are only so many stories you can tolerate that involve a generic super-powered alien fighting Superman.

So imagine how overjoyed I was when I started reading this issue and discovered it was Superman versus three generic super-powered aliens. Yes, I said “discovered,” because Superman has fallen so far off my radar that I had completely forgotten what had happened in the previous issue. I thought this was going to be a stand-alone wrap-everything-up send-off issue. My apologies, Jim.

Jim Doom: “I bought this $3.99 issue because I was under the impression it was a standalone conclusion to Busiek’s run on the book. Had I known that it was just part 2 of a story, I wouldn’t have spent the money, extra pages or not.

For the most part, I tend to like pretty much anything Busiek writes, though I never really got into his Superman run. I think that has to do with this being an awful time for Superman more than it does with the writers, though. And unfortunately, this little storyline was bogged down with the very stuff I haven’t liked.

The time that has passed since Infinite Crisis has been pretty stupid for Superman. First off, One Year Later, he has no powers. And then, in a dramatic surprise twist, his powers came back. Okay, fine, not like the DC Universe is going to just not have Superman.

But then Richard Donner struck. Suddenly Superman has a kid (an adopted one, at least).

Then the Silver Age Nostalgia trip struck, and all of a sudden Superman was Superboy in his childhood, the Mon-El story was brought back, and we simultaneously have two futures for New-Earth-1.

This story makes it clear that both the Richard Donner and Nostalgia plagues have infected Superman arcs of late.

Obviously, being the second part of a story, I missed the beginning, but apparently some of Lar Gand’s posse from Daxam are on Earth to arrest him. Superman enlists the aid of a criminal named Paragon to try to stop the Daxams from destroying earth. Superman tries to convince the Daxams that they will suffer the same fate as Lar Gand — incurable lead poisoning — if they don’t get away from Earth.

They, of course, think this is puny Earthling treachery, so they keep fighting, eventually unleashing a big giant planet-universe kind of monster. Superman keeps referring to this thing as the Golem, though the resemblance is somewhat strained, as basically any man-made weapon would be a Golem by Superman’s reasoning.

The Golem’s skin is essentially impenetrable. Quite conveniently, it turns out that when Paragon touches it, not only can he breach the surface, but Paragon himself becomes intangible! Shucks! So I guess that means Superman can just pass through Paragon to save the day!

Everyone was worried that Superman was gonna bite the big one — even little Super Stepson wanted to enter the battle.

No one thinks Superman is going to die. So if you know the audience is already clued in on the ending, the next best thing you can do is make us wonder how we’re going to get there. And I’m sorry, but flying really fast so that you break the monster’s brain just isn’t that interesting.

The art was better than average, I’d say. It was awfully stiff at times, but pretty to look at. I’m not familiar with anything Renato Guedes has done, but his art kind of reminds me of Pete Woods’ style — clean visuals that tend to rely on lighter lines that make way for bold colors. If that’s a “Superman Look” that DC wants to go for (along the lines of Marvel’s “Daredevil Look” and “Captain America Look”), I won’t complain.”

Doom Deluise: “I fell asleep five pages into this one. Like, I slumped over and passed out mid-sentence. I can’t say that’s ever happened to me before. That’s my review: It put me right straight to sleep.”