Who is Clark Kent/Superman in the new 52?

There have been six writers scribing stories over the past 13 months about the New 52 Man of Steel  (more if you count his appearances in various books which includes Scott Snyder):   Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, George Perez, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, and now Scott Lobdell.  Morrison is/was writing five and a half years in the past to Perez’s present timeline.  This five year gap has proved problematic for the development of the character,  especially in the present timeline since the foundational history of the character is not established yet and therefore, ‘current’ stories can’t build upon it.

Besides the problem of multiple authors and multiple timelines for ‘character development’ of this hard rebooted character – there’s no one vision of the character’s growth within the present timeline books.   For instance, Geoff Johns has the editorial mandated plot of Superman and Wonder Woman kissing due to loneliness and inability to relate to humans even though they have a big heart for them. (Yes, I am rolling my eyes)  After the kiss, Superman backs away as if to apologize, Diana interrupts him and leaves before he can finish.  Five days later, he says that what happened was just a kiss, not a commitment.  Written by Johns, this would display a modicum of emotional maturity on Superman’s part as well as a knowledge of what is in his heart.

Action 12 released the same month as the kiss issue, had Superman doing everything within his superpowers and then some, to save Lois Lane.  He even ‘saw’ a future marriage with her before he read every medical book and did surgery on her to keep her alive.  Although this is in the past, we can see that Superman DEFINITELY has strong feelings for Lois Lane in the five year previous timeline.  Which begs the question — How Morrison is going to explain the entire history of the five year gap in three issues?  We’re not that gullible.  There is no way, even with Action Annual #1 and Sholly Fisch’s backstories and the ‘genius’ of Morrison – that is a superhuman feat for mortal writers.  TOO TOO many unanswered questions will abound with the bandaid treatment.  The Superman book hasn’t really told us much in 13 months, how in the hell is Action going to do it in 3 issues at the end of Morrison’s run?

George Perez gave Superman fans enough for them to ‘know’ Superman.  He established Clark’s Metropolis life and his supporting characters.  Keith and Dan had to introduce us to Helspont (fans will see why that is ‘important’ later) but weren’t able to bring their vision to fruition due to editorial mandates.  Do we really believe these veterans of Superman stories would make Lucy Lane the’ love interest’?  Uh . . . no.

Which brings us to Scott Lobdell.  I have no past experience with his writing.  Loved Superman #0 but that was about Jor-El and Lara not Superman/Clark and Lois.   In Superman Annual #1, Lobdell plotted the book but did not script it.   In that story, Clark loves being amongst humanity, enjoying his subway ride to work, watching couples in the park, and missing Lois Lane and her love of REAL news not infotainment which is what Clark has had to deal with since Lois was promoted.  Also in that issue, we see that Jimmy Olsen (his roommate for now) is a slob and Clark isn’t.  Pa Kent taught him ‘everything in its place’ as we can see by his closet of clean, neatly arranged clothes (mostly suits for work).  Clark also has taken a shower in that issue and is brushing his teeth.

Compare those things to Superman #13 written by Lobdell.   Clark has been ‘pumping iron’ for five days and has lost track of time.  He has sweated for the first time as far as he can remember. He’s giddy about that.  He then rushes off to his apartment to get ready for work in six seconds.  He finds he has forgotten to do laundry.  (More brain farts)  Shedding off the remnant of his biotech suit, he states that since becoming invulnerable he no longer can feel hot water on his skin.  HUH?  What does he feel then?  He seems to chastise himself for continuing the ritual of showering.  BUT the guy just ‘sweated’  — so wouldn’t showering NOW be a necessity?   And the skin is the largest organ for a human or a Kryptonian, so would it be numb to every sensation including pain?  Would he feel a kiss?  That hot water statement really opens up a huge industrial-waste size can of worms.  It’s a commentary on his power set which doesn’t appear to be well thought out.  Is he more like Cyborg or Metal Zero than humans?  There’s alienated and then there’s . . . . bullshit.

As in so many other Superman stories, both ancient and current, Clark seems to lose focus regarding his powers at times and uses them ‘indiscriminately’ at others.  He doesn’t see, hear, or smell Jimmy and a female in his shower before he opens the door.  Where is this guy’s head?  Does he still have the bullet with the tesseract space with Club Med for villains in his brain (Action) or is Helspont’s thrall still have a hold of him (Superman) or are the ramifications from Grave’s azura lesser gods (Justice League) still wreaking havoc?  This guy is just walking through his life like he’s an understudy.

So with no shower or shave and wearing a Smallville hoodie and jeans, Clark shows up at the Daily Planet after a five day absence with no Superman story.  That’s his beat now.  Perry White, his editor, is reading him the riot act.  Lois Lane is there because Perry seems to need an interpreter when it comes to Clark.  In fact, this is the first time we’ve seen Clark and Perry in the same panel in the Superman book.  Perry has been his editor for how many years now?  Clark has no relationship with his Editor-in-Chief?  Lois is there for a reason.  There’s a plot point coming up, but she may be there since she used to cover the Superman beat.  She explains to Clark that he’s the reporter and that Perry as editor decides what gets published.  Clark just needs to write the story.  Isn’t that what reporters do?

Clark goes on a tirade about infotainment instead of news being produced by the Planet (which we have seen before) but then he tears into Lois for her television production and choice of stories.  She’s heard this before and she has something else going on in her life besides Superman and Clark.  She gets a text message from her boyfriend.  Perry has a no-text policy and Clark is wondering why Lois is breaking the rule.  (Even though he showed up to work after a 5 day absence with no story)  He spies on her phone to see that her boyfriend is moving in.  Lois half-seriously text replies if it’s too late to back out now.  Indignant Clark goes speechless at this revelation and leaves the room.

At his desk, Clark wonders why he can’t be happy for Lois.  And why nothing serious happened between them by now – as if relationships fall out of the sky with no effort on his part.  Yea, Clark, why didn’t you ever ask Lois out in FIVE YEARS?  But he’s moved on now (editor’s note explains ‘kiss heard round the world’ in Justice League 12).  Moved on from what?  Doesn’t there have to be something to move on from?   So this Clark’s emotional maturity seems to be in the basement (when compared  to the guy who actually kissed Wonder Woman).  Is this a guy thing?  Let me get this straight.  Because Clark didn’t make the effort in 5 years to express his feelings for Lois (remembering Action 12 and Superman #2 where he wished things could be different) and he didn’t know she had a boyfriend (Superman #1), he’s ticked Lois doesn’t pine and has moved on from his passive aggressive self?   In Superman #1, the boyfriend is supposed to make Clark feel more dejected and alienated.  But why didn’t he know about Jonathan in the first place?  Again, the character seems to be fumbling through his life.  So then he kisses Wonder Woman feeling lonely and desperate cause humans can get hurt and the ‘elitist’ superbeings supposedly can’t.  Yea, right.  And now he THINKS he’s moved on.

Morgan Edge, Clark’s literary nemesis, tells the reporter he knows everything everyone does on the Planet’s equipment and that he owns Clark.  Kent stands and gives his fellow workers a truth, justice, and American Way (bravo!) speech and realizes they want to keep their jobs – so he quits the DP and storms out of the building.

Cat Grant follows in his footsteps, figuratively and literally.  She’s the entertainment reporter – the one with the infotainment stuff he’s been railing about.  She wants to help him with his blogging.  Lobdell does not give Cat a brain, she’s a bubblehead and Clark basically mocks her.  This is not the polite, give everyone a chance (or second chance) Clark Kent.  He has bought a hot dog – we know he doesn’t HAVE to eat, but apparently after losing his source of income, he can indulge in another human oriented ritual.  Can he taste it?  Feel it in his mouth?

He hears a disturbance in the force . . er, a monster in Metropolis and takes off as Superman – while still thinking about Lois and how she’s moving in . . . moving on.  (She moved on before you did, because YOU DIDN’T MAKE A MOVE!  Why?)   At least he’s being introspective.  It’s better than pumping iron mindlessly for five days.  Clark asks the question.  “Am I being a hypocrite?”  And the resounding answer is YES!

So not only is the five year gap, and multiple writers not developing the character into any focused vision – but the bullship (JL power couple) has stalled development of Superman and his cast of characters and their stories.  AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING.  Superman is about to join in a crossover with Superboy and Supergirl called “H’El on Earth”  BUT according to Andy Diggle who will be taking over Action in March – there’s another crossover to come which will spin out of the H’El one.  This will involve Superman, Superboy, Supergirl and Action.  Since we see Superman wearing the black suit on the cover of Action 18 (Diggle’s first issue) and we saw him in that suit in Superman #0 where a Daemonite hornblower called ‘the Oracle’ – can we just hang our heads and sigh – Helspont is coming.  And that means alternate realities, another crossover for Superman – and where will his character development be then?

Helspont (better known in our circle of friends as Jabberjaw)  has gotten more character development than the Man of Steel since he’s been in multiple books over the past 13 months and has been hinted twice in the Justice League book as the next ‘big thing’.  That symbol that Steve Trevor recognized in Justice League 13 = Helspont.  Steve has been on Team 7 with Grifter (still playing out in a ‘in the past’ comic) who battles Helspont and will be in Justice League of America (after being dumped twice and fired by Diana from the Justice League) in February.

Possibly after the Helspont crossover then we get the Trinity War which is another crossover.  DC is placing us into crossover hell – so when are the characters supposed to be developed?  And dare I ask when will Superman be CONSISTENTLY developed across his multiple books?   Especially since he’s getting another author on Action and Scott Snyder is writing a third Superman book, which although seems to be in continuity (that word that editorial seems to think is toxic) it will have its own story to tell for a while.

Speaking of Justice League – they will crossover all the Geoff Johns’ authored books, Green Lantern and Aquaman in the next few months.  And Justice League of America will surely follow suit.  Johns recently said that Aquaman will have a focus (JL issues 15 and 16 crossing with Aquaman book) and then Wonder Woman gets a focus (possibly 17 & 18? Tying into Steve’s return in JLA?).   Crossovers are a means to sell more books, not necessarily to develop characters or tell good stories, at least ones with any pertinent foundation to individual books.

The Trinity War.  With the information we have currently, the Trinity War will end after someone open’s Pandora’s box.  If you are familiar with the legend, after all the icky stuff flew out, in the bottom of the box was HOPE.   We’ve learned that only the STRONGEST OF HEART OR THE DARKEST can re-open the box.  Superman fans had hoped that Big Blue would be the strongest of heart to do just that thing – bring hope back into this very dreary world of the new 52.  But at this time, he’s either ignoring his heart, not in tune with his life or has so many creepy crawlies inside his brain that he can’t develop into SUPERMAN, the one that is in the real world and movie going public’s consciousness.

Execution is key.  IF (big if) the writers can give us some character development and a sense of focus and vision for Superman’s storylines then it might work out.  But that is a HUGE IF since it will apparently be done in crossover Hell.

Who is Clark Kent/Superman in the new 52?  I’ve been reading the books – and I couldn’t tell you.  He’s like a fart in a windstorm.  A product to sell, not necessarily to develop.  He’s the New Coke to the beloved Classic Coke — and we all know how that turned out.

SUPERMAN FANS:   If you’re getting tired of trying to figure out the new 52.  Don’t buy the books.  It’s that simple.

If you want to read a Superman you actually know – read Bryan Q. Miller’s SMALLVILLE SEASON 11.  It’s not in the new 52 continuity, and maybe that’s why it’s the BEST, TRUE, REAL SUPERMAN DC Comics has to offer.  Younger than the new 52 Superman, this Clark Kent has his shit together.  He doesn’t have time to brain fart through his life.  He has to save the world from evil.  He knows his destiny and works hard at it.  This Clark loves humanity, enjoys showers, has deep loving relationships with friends, and Lois Lane.  Miller is a brilliant writer who can write multi-layered plots and story arcs which continue to develop the characters and move them forward.   Each digital-first issue is a bright spot in the Superman DC Comics landscape.   The first Wednesday of each month, the previous 3 digital-firsts are compiled into print.  $3.99 for 30-some pages of story.   Best bang for your buck.   Considering putting it on your pull list and also downloading the digital-firsts off Comixology  or dccomics.com.   That gives you 3 to 4 weeks of a great Superman story a month.

For a more in depth analysis of SMALLVILLE SEASON 11 and Superman 13, check out G2Factor this Sunday on talkshoe.

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October 27, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Announcements, Baudy's Reviews, BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Superman. Leave a comment.

After Reading Superman #13 . . .

I’m sticking to what I said in my previous article after reading Superman #13.

Right now this is what I think is happening in an overview of the story.

Clark and Lois are giving the other a kick in the ass/wakeup call as only those two can.  Lois has stated she wanted to keep the integrity of the DP intact despite Edge, but with the list of stories she has done, it seems as if she’s allowing the infotainment to creep in.  Hopefully Clark’s leaving will show her that she needs to start fighting for the true Fourth Estate.  Clark just got hit by an emotional 2×4.  Lois is moving in (with someone else) and moving on.  Why he never made a move in 5 years while being with Lois is a mystery — maybe it will be explained by something in the past.  He THINKS he’s moved on from his feelings regarding Lois, but obviously he hasn’t.  It bothers him A LOT!  He’s not following or thinking with his heart – as Superman has done in past incarnations.  He’s angry at the moment, probably about  a lot of things where Lois is concerned and how he never made a move.

As a side note, I like Clark pining for Lois and what he could have had, had he been brave enough to damn the circumstances and full speed ahead.

What some people have seen as Clark/Superman being creepy with women, I see as him not being heroic.  Ironic!  Is Superman not brave enough to follow his heart?  Or is he just ignorant of the concept of dating?

Clark hasn’t taken emotional risk — and this is also reflected in Justice League.  Superman and Wonder Woman are not willing to risk emotionally with the ‘fragile’ humans, thinking that being with someone invulnerable will keep their hearts safe from pain.  When you’re talking about the heart, that logic just doesn’t stand up.  The invulnerable have weaknesses, too.  And life is full of pain whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.  If you’re alive, you have to deal with pain.  Both Lois and Steve Trevor seem to be risking emotionally at the moment but not the power couple.  This may be part of future storylines as well.  Humans showing the powerful how to pursue their heart’s desire.

As far as ‘spying’ on Lois — she was texting in front of Perry which Clark knew was a complete no-no.  His curiosity got the better of him since Lois would never break that rule.  (He knows her so well.)  He did not like doing it, but he did — and probably was sorry he did because of what he found out.

It’s interesting how Clark uses powers at some moments and not others (Jimmy in the shower) in this issue.   Don’t be surprised if Clark loses his roommate.  Rich kid surely has gotten rid of the bedbugs by now.

I’m waiting to see the confrontation between Clark and Lois in #14.  Lois wants to know why he left and this might bring out what each has to work on.   Nothing is going to be settled in one issue obviously, but it may indicate what we will see in the following months.

This is all to keep them apart. Yes.  But it does show character growth.  Clark’s journalism as the ‘other identity’  will be evident.  Lois may have a story apart from Superman/Clark where she is a champion for the truth and real news within the corporation.   And while that is going on and all the battles in multiple books, Clark and Lois may find where their hearts truly desire to be.

I’m thinking of this as the period where Clark and Lois can’t stay away from one another despite reasoning, battles, news stories, and interference from God knows what.  They will find a way to keep in touch.  (They’re supposedly besties.)  Because in order to develop the triangle-for-two they are going to have to make an effort to seek each other out.  Relationships are work even when you love someone.  You have to put forth effort — and this apparently, is something Clark needs to learn.   And in the past, we have seen these two work together to solve their problems.

These are early days in the development of the characters and their story.  Part of their history hasn’t been presented yet – the five years in Action, which may be bridged by issue #17 in January.  Stories within that time period can be visited as Clark and Lois’ stories develop in the present timeline.  I still would love to see their first meetings –  Lois/Clark and Lois/Superman.

PS.  Strange thing to mention.  I did not like the ‘fact’ that Clark cannot feel hot showers.  Really?  Those were some of my favorite panels in the past.  I would like this explained – so he’s numb to any sensation at all?

October 24, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Baudy's Reviews, BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Superman. 3 comments.

Clark Kent Is Leaving the Planet, the Daily One

Today we got a preview of Superman #13 (in print and digital on Wednesday, October 24th) where Clark Kent leaves the Daily Planet.  This was conveyed by USAToday (not exactly the Daily Planet).  DC Comics is promoting interest in Superman.  There’s a 75th anniversary coming up as well as the Man of Steel movie in 2013.  Plus a third Superman book in the Spring is being added to be written by Scott Snyder (Batman) and drawn by Jim Lee (Co-Publisher).

At first this news was a slug in the gut as there have been a borage of changes to Superman, Clark, and Lois Lane for several  years before and since the reboot started.  But this one, I’m semi-okay with.  Yes, it’s another change. But Clark will still be an in-the-trenches journalist.  Leaving the Daily Planet – that’s where it gets sore.  But I’m remembering what Andy Diggle said at NYCC – nothing lasts forever in comics.  (As Superman fans are TOO well aware of).

One of the reasons Clark Kent worked at a newspaper in 1938 and decades later was to be on the frontline of the information/news so he could go into action as Superman.  In his early days, he patrolled Metropolis, but in later times moved his monitoring to the entire world and the universe that surrounds it.  Newspapers in his early origins used something called Telex or teletype machines to convey news reports from around the world.  These would have been located at the Daily Planet building causing him to report into work on a daily basis.  Teletypes became obsolete in the 1980s with the advent of the fax, personal computers, broadband and the Internet.

Now people have access to information/news on their cell phones, computers, and multiple televisions in their homes.  Print newspapers have been losing subscriptions for decades.  Papers have gotten smaller in page size as well as the number of pages to compensate for this.  Long standing print establishments have diversified into digital especially with the cost of ‘less than green friendly products’ of ink and paper.   It was announced recently that Newsweek would go completely digital.  And DC Comics moved to same-day digital and digital-first programs last year.   DC Comics would know the world of print in these times.

The Daily Planet in the new 52 has been bought by Morgan Edge and consolidated into his conglomerate whose previous print products were ‘scandal rags.’  Clark has not been happy about this since Superman #1.  It seems to be a bone of contention between him and Lois as she has moved to the new media division as an Executive Producer of television and new media.  Clark’s specialty was human interest and social justice stories.  With Lois moving to her new position, he was given the Superman beat.  In Superman #13, Clark has been missing for five days (not on a mission with the Justice League either).  He’s been testing the limits of his superstrength and didn’t realize the length of time he was gone from his day job.  When he returns, he has no Superman story and Perry White, his Editor-in-Chief reads him the riot act.

In Action #0 (in the 5 years previous timeline), we learned that before Clark went to Metropolis and began working at the Daily Star, he had blogs (plural).  Lois Lane, intrepid reporter at the Daily Planet, read and loved them.   Eventually Clark went to work for the Daily Planet as a reporting partner with Lois.  We don’t know when he made that transition as this is within the mysterious ‘five year gap.’   So Clark quitting the Daily Planet to go back to blogs isn’t such a stretch.

Apparently Cat Grant will be leaving the DP with him and is ‘bringing a whole other set of skills’ (yea, I went there, too) to their next venture.  Cat is/was the Entertainment reporter.  Part of the reason Clark is leaving the Planet is so he can do REAL news and not gossip rag infotainment fluffed up with color pictures and graphics (see Superman Annual #1).  I’m thinking that Cat has digital/advertising skills (webmaster) and will keep his blog in the forefront for peeps who don’t want to mess with newsprint.   Somebody has to watch the viability of the product while he’s gone for days at a time.

Since nothing is permanent in comics (except perhaps the absence of Stephanie Brown and Wally West), maybe Clark’s blog will be under the Daily Planet umbrella eventually.  And maybe Lois will join him later since you can’t keep a good newshound behind a desk doing fluff (no matter if it sells).  This all will take time to build.

Yes, I will miss the Daily Planet.  Maybe part of Lois’ story is her fight for real news and keeping the integrity of the DP intact.  She would have to do that from within.   This would give her an independent story from Clark/Superman.  If anyone could clean up the corruption/sleaze of the news media, it’s Lois Lane.

I’ve missed Clark Kent, journalist, FOR YEARS.  Scott Lobdell is keeping this part of his dual identity and Clark is influencing people with his words, thoughts and truth.  That’s a plus.  Clark quit the Daily Planet not just because of his stance on what the DP has become, but also because Lois may move in with her not-so-new-but-rarely-seen foreign correspondent  boyfriend.  What’s the point of sticking around the DP if Lois has moved on?  Clark has strong feelings for Lois, we’ve seen this, albeit sporadically, over the past year, but something held him back from being closer long before Justice League #12.  Some of that may be revealed over the next four months (real time) so we can see why Clark and Lois never dated and why their relationship hadn’t developed more than it did over the mysterious five year period.

One thing the article in USAToday did say about Superman #14 —  in the first 7 pages, Lois Lane is going to be pounding on her close friend, Clark Kent’s door demanding answers.  Lobdell has guaranteed fans that Lois will figure heavily in Clark’s story.  And it was reported he is not going to be dropping any subplots while the Super crossover H’El on Earth plays out these next few months.

Clark and Lois will have to make an effort to be close to one another.  Each will have to realize what the other means to them and act on their feelings.  The long triangle-for-two simmer has begun, and perhaps Lois will interact MORE with both Clark and Superman in the coming months.

Lobdell said from the beginning he is enjoying writing about Clark as Superman’s id, where the man can express his views without judgment or misconstruing when it is pronounced from Kryptonian armor.  Clark Kent will be Superman’s global voice.   Many more people have electronics than any one (sometimes foreign) newsprint paper.

Action Annual #1 comes out October 31st and in it, Sholly Fisch will bridge the five year gap.  There’s a story about the Kryptonite Man.  Lois is in, at least, one of the panels.  Grant Morrison leaves Action Comics after #17 (February) and has stated there will be a death of Superman story in 15 through 17.  And is anyone else wondering what the deal Clark made with Mrs. Nxyly in order to get his Clark Kent identity back? (Action #12)  What did that cost him?  In March, Andy Diggle takes over the Action duties and has expressed great delight in writing Lois Lane.   He submitted 12 issues of stories, but won’t be able to work with those ideas until some of the other storylines in the current books make room for them.  Sometime this Spring, Scott Snyder will begin writing a-yet-unnamed-titled Superman book.  Lois will be in the feature story.  Lois Lane means the dual identity will be going strong.  The triangle-for-two has always been a key part of the Superman mythology.

So as a long time reader and fan of Superman, what do I need?  Superman doing the right thing with his great powers and heart.  Clark Kent reporting the truth.  Lois Lane being an intrepid reporter and Clark’s heart’s desire.   Truth, justice, and the American Way.

The Daily Planet will be there as will Metropolis, Jimmy Olsen, and all the other things fans love about the Superman mythology.

October 22, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Superman. 7 comments.

DC COMICS: YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW

Going over the order numbers for comic books from August and September gives us a new prospective on the Power Couple promo on August 22nd.

Let’s just compare the two top DC Comics’ books, Batman and Justice League.

Batman: ( Aug #12)  125,249 +  (Sept #0) 156,561 = 281,810

Justice League: (Aug #12) 120,796 + (Sept 2nd print) 40,439 + (Sept #0) 125,868 = 287,103

Batman still rules the order charts as this book was the top DC Comics book  for both months.

The difference between Batman & Justice League (with multiple printings of #12) is 5,293.  At $3.99 a book, Justice League only brought in $21,119 more than the monthly Batman book.   (Plus, the reprint of JL12 may have affected #0 orders of Justice League – that bump wasn’t as substantial as the other top DC Comics books).

Consider the cost of the promotion of the Power Couple.  Getting match.com to do the profiles, contacting the media and reprinting with a new cover.  Does $21,119 even begin to pay for that?  Is $21,119 worth damaging the icons?

True, digital numbers are not included in these stats, but considering a digital-first like Smallville Season 11 at a $0.99 price point usually beats $3.99 books week after week using dollar amounts, how many digitals could DC Comics have sold of Justice League #12 (without 2nd print cover) or #0?  Surely not enough money to pay for the promotion, etc.

On September 28th, DC Comics had a poll on their facebook page asking several questions, but they also left the poll open to include items from fans.  Within 24 hours the poll was taken down.  Bleeding Cool was able to get a snapshot of it. Notice the 3rd from the end item.  Make an ongoing about Superman doing Wonder Woman in different sex positions

This item is not so far fetched an idea especially since the promo had Superman and Wonder Woman’s physiological compatibility emphasized and match.com stressed their hormones.   Shades of ‘Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex’?  Definitely.  Blogs on August 22nd went for the sexual connotations which seemed to be encouraged by DC Comics.  Readers got the exploding Lois Lane uterus stories, etc.  (Despite the fact that Clark and Lois were married for 15 years previous to the new 52 and had a very active sex life.)  Made for a great day in the fandom.  Not really.

So five weeks later, the potential status quo of the power couple promo still stood in the minds of some fans.  Yea, DC, why not have a power couple hentai book?  No story – just pretty pictures of sexual positions.  Isn’t that what the covers of Justice League #12 (without Aquaman on it) were  about?

True, people do buy books for their covers and not the story inside.  Comic book companies depend on this!  Variant covers, anyone?  But from the numbers shown above, it’s not necessarily what will sell a book consistently.  Especially if a reader doesn’t like what is teased on the cover, no matter how pretty it is.

The story is the key to consistent success.  And if the hentai crowd had bothered to read the story in Justice League 12 and Justice League International Annual #1, then they would know what the kiss meant to the DC Universe.  It’s not good, completely destructive, so how can it be good for the two characters involved?

I don’t know that DC removed the poll because of the hard porn comment or not.  Maybe they were upset with the top several items with the most votes.  The new 52 is confusing and frustrating.   When you have Batman talking about hope (#13) and Phantom Stranger with a wife and kids (#1), but Clark Kent/Superman has no family, can’t relate to humans, feels alienated and never mentions the word, hope – it just feels like an alternate universe that’s about to implode, especially to Superman fans.  Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on their part?  They’ve been asked to play a waiting game for over a year (3 years if you include WONK and Grounded) – we just want our Superman back.  The one who is the embodiment and inspiration for hope.  The guy we can count on.

Andy Diggle will be writing Action Comics beginning with #18 (March) and Scott Lobdell’s anticipated Superman #13 will be out in a few weeks.  Both of these writers have talked about developing Clark Kent and Lois Lane, separately and together in a burgeoning relationship.    As fans, we hope this comes to fruition and prominence soon.

Wonder Woman is being tossed into the historically established triangle-for-two.  Thus making it a rhomboid, not a triangle.  And if you throw Steve Trevor into the mix, that makes it a pentagon.   I wouldn’t discount Trevor as he has been a motivating force in Diana’s life as presented in Justice League.  And he will be returning in Justice League of America.

The phrase “giving everyone their fair share” is not being done in the new 52 as far as the bullship is concerned.  Wonder Woman in her own book will not be affected by the power couple storyline.  But Superman and Action will have to deal with the JL stunt apparently.  DC has hidden (5 year gap) and postponed Clark’s relationship with Lois Lane for a year for the bullship (not to mention obliterating his marriage to her for the new 52) – and now we have to wait even longer until the stunt storyline ends.

Haven’t Superman fans been through enough?  There’s torturing the fans and poking at sacred cows – and then there’s also discouraging and disgusting people from reading the books and slaughtering the sacred cows.  Can fans trust DC Comics to know the difference when it comes to the Man of Tomorrow?  People need hope – Superman fans especially.

Tonight, we may hear about a new Superman book at NYCC.  Let’s hope we can see the light at the end of the new 52 dark and dreary tunnel.

October 11, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Announcements, BaudyBlahBlahBlah. 2 comments.

NEW 52 SUPERMAN: WHO IS HE?

It’s been a year and Superman fans are still asking this question.  It’s not a matter of developing his alien side with new monsters and every Silver Age villain available.  It’s about his core personality no matter what clothes he wears.

Clark Kent was found by the Kents and they raised him with a strong moral compass according to the Who’s Who in the Zero issues.  We know he didn’t get his suit of armor until after he went to Metropolis.  So is this the Clark Kent who grew up human for all intent and purposes and then got his superpowers at puberty?   We don’t know because we are not informed of those years and his relationship with the Kents.  That’s because DC Comics has decided to make Superman alienated, not able to relate to humans or to know who or what he truly is.

Were the Kents and those formative years mind wiped from his brain?  In Action #13, we see that Kal-El remembers Krypto since infancy on Krypton.  So are these selective memories DC is allowing to be played with or what?  This is swiss cheese characterization.

Superman is the only character in the new 52 whose books deal with two different timelines.  Action is his past and Superman is five years later, the present.  Superman is still alienated even though he has worked with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet for five years.  Again, we have not seen anything in the five year gap.  So in Superman #1 when Clark finds out Lois is seeing someone else – he’s shocked and distraught.  Thus alienating him further.  Some fans are saying this puts the responsibility onto Lois – but I say, what the hell kind of Clark Kent works with Lois Lane for five years and never asks her out on a date?   And we have never seen their first meet . . . which tells us what?  DC Comics is giving us a Superman with no hope.   He’s not inspired by humanity at all.  In fact, he’s not moved by the people who raised him or the woman he admires from the start.

For the past year, we have seen a Superman who does not have a love for humanity or Lois Lane in particular.  Why does he stay on Earth if he has so much trouble relating to the inhabitants of the planet?

When we first saw the new 52 Superman, some of us thought he was Mr. Majestic in Superman’s costume.  A big hint was the collar and Jim Lee stating it made him more ‘majestic.’  For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Majestic was a Wildstorm (Jim Lee) character who was the counterpart to the Daemonites.   Guess who’s the big villain for Superman in the past year . . . . Helspont, THE Daemonite.  Also Majestic was basically Superman without Clark’s moral core.  He had a powerful girlfriend and didn’t relate to humans.  Sound famililar?

The past year we have seen Clark Kent’s and Lois Lane’s story (separately and as a couple) suppressed.   Clark Kent is a journalist, right?  The #12 issues were the breaking point.  Justice League gave us the kiss of doom along with the promotion of bullship.  Action gave us a story of Superman doing everything in his power and then some to save Lois Lane’s life.  Superman comic gave us the end of the second creative team on that book’s last issue where Clark decided he needed to have some fun.  Yea, fun.  Where’s the fun been in the past five plus years in the Superman story?  And in Justice League International Annual #1, we saw the kiss of doom would destroy the future and cause a war.  It was wrong.  Shouldn’t have happened.  But Superman fans still got deprived of full bodied stories for twelve months so the new power couple could do their dirt.  Wonder Woman has her own thing going on in her book.  It’s not bothered with the power couple, but Superman and Action – have to be involved with the storyline in Justice League.

In May, Matt Idelson said Clark and Lois would never be inevitable on his watch.  Now he’s singing a different tune.  True he apologized for the ‘hyperbole’ and even said he fought passionately for Clark and Lois to stay as a couple in the new 52, but in order to do justice to the reboot, he gave up the fight.  He also stated now (October) that if readers wanted Clark and Lois that was up to them and the creators – but there is no mechanism in place to make those wants known.  DC Comics has removed its forums, disdains the internet and its fans on the internet, and has given the fanbase attitude, especially the female portion who dare ask questions.

During the bullship promotion, Jim Lee said that changing anything, even the size of the belt, had the fanbase bitching.  Extracting Lois Lane (kiss cover was a rework of Superman v2 #212 panel) to replace her with Wonder Woman is not the size of a belt problem, Sir.

Of all the characters in the new 52, Superman has been hard rebooted especially with the ridiculous storytelling of his past and present playing out at the same time.   The five year gap may protect the Man of Steel from damage by the bullship but it’s not without its faults.   George Perez (Superman 1 – 6) left the book because he didn’t recognize this new 52 Superman.  Communication between his book (5 years later) and Action was not happening.  After he left, he wasn’t sure what editorial kept in the book and what they changed.  Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens took over.  All three of these men love the characters of Clark Kent, Superman and Lois Lane – and yet, they didn’t appear to be permitted to write the characters fans know and love.  Scott Lobdell will be writing Superman now.  He’s shown promise in Superman Annual #1 and Superman #0.  Is he allowed to write the characters most Superman fans will recognize now that the bullship is in place?

An aloof Superman is not Clark Kent.  Even on Smallville, when Clark was a teen going through his growing angst, he related to his parents and Lois just fine.  Good or bad, but never indifferent.  Clark is a character that leads with his heart.  New 52 Superman doesn’t appear to have one except to be disappointed that Lois has a boyfriend.  And why shouldn’t a woman move on if the guy(s) she’s interested in don’t pay her any attention in ‘that way?’  Who wants to be held at arm’s length for five years?  You want real?  Lois doesn’t pine.  She moves forward.  Clark needs to grow a pair and risk emotionally.  At least DC gave her a long distance relationship.  She’s not with the guy daily (like she would have been with Clark or Superman) and Jurgens made him not so much a jerk, so we and Clark realize what she sees in this guy.  He’s a foreign correspondent.  And how does Lois deal with emotional turmoil?  Her job.  She works night and day for truth and justice – without superpowers but with the power of the ‘pen’, her wits and savvy.

Lois had a promotion within the Daily Planet complex so she and Clark would be separated while the ‘alienated’ aspect can carry on.  Now that we’ve had that for a year, maybe after the bullship is over, Clark will realize ‘don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’ and will MAKE AN EFFORT to pursue Lois.  He needs to follow his heart.   So fans and humanity can have their Superman back.

The bullship promotion verged on ubermensch eugenics.  Physiology was the key to the relationship.  Because Clark can’t relate to humans (except being raised by the Kents,  saving Lois, being friends with Batman, and working at the Daily Planet for 5 years) and Diana tries to protect Steve Trevor by pushing him away and out of a job, the power couple hook up.  Perhaps they think since they are invulnerable, no harm can come to them and therefore, they won’t experience heartache.  Cowards.  That is not going to inspire hope.  It will convey fear and mistrust to the humans they swear to protect.  What is their motivation to save humans?  Why not fly off and live on another planet?  Because inevitably  Clark and Diana need human relationships to give them conflict on several levels.   Otherwise it’s BORING!   The kiss of doom covers have been pushed at fans with a vehemence.  It’s just a kiss.  That’s all they have permission for.  Some fanboys need to realize that Superman has a movie coming out in June and Jim Lee stated at 2012 (July) SDCC that the reboot was done to re-establish the Superman/Lois/Clark relationship.  DC is not going to cause problems story-wise that will damage the icons and the potential  movie going public.

Recently, I have been asking people who don’t read comics, what they thought of DC Comics putting Superman and Wonder Woman together.  First reaction:  “NOOOOOOOOOO!”  First question:  “What about Lois?”  Second question:  “Who are these people?”   Yea, talk about creating fear and mistrust, not only in the books but in the general movie paying public.   Jim Lee stated that the power hookup was more than just ‘what about Clark and Lois’ but about the entire universe.  Well, Jimbo, most people don’t give a damn about the entire universe – but Clark and Lois, yea, they care deeply about them.   Screw with that too much and you’ve got problems.  Money problems.

I’m not sure if Jim Lee understands (he did create a pseudo-Superman with a powerful girlfriend) what the Clark and Lois relationship means to creators, fans, and the general public, but I know Geoff Johns does.  I have trust issues with Geoff.  My first intro to one of his stories was him having a married Lana Lang kissing a married Clark Kent in a one page spread.   Yea, not good.  Yea, they were monster roofied, but hey . . . I don’t like Lois getting spit on or kicked to the curb.  (So now you know what my comic book reading life has been for the past 5 years. )  But Geoff has written some of the best Clark and Lois origins in Secret Origins and on the Smallville television show.  He even gave them a kid (Chris) when writing Action with Richard Donner.  I’m probably more comfortable with Geoff writing the story since it will happen in Justice League and crossovers with his other books, Green Lantern and Aquaman.  He did say that the power couple would have problems.  He outright said it was wrong in Justice League International Annual #1 – and it was a lightswitch moment in the book despite the bullship’s superficial, sleazy, multimedia hype.

I assume Lobdell will mention the hookup in his book but George Perez gave some protection from total heartbreak for us and Lois.  Lois Lane knows the secret.  She has protected and assisted Superman when he was in a damsel- in-distress-situation.  She may be okay with the hookup since Clark ‘has been such a loner’ and assume he has found someone to relate to.  Idelson and Lobdell both have said that Clark has feelings for Lois – and I have no doubt she has feelings for him.  She wants the best for him, and if she’s not it, then . . . . she’ll move on.  But because Clark never followed his heart, probably out of fear from some past experience, she doesn’t know that she is the best thing that ever happened to him.  What Johns may show in the power hookup, that settling for second best and not following your heart, is not living.  Life is so much sweeter when a hero risks.  Being invulnerable, Superman and Wonder Woman don’t have much risk physically – but emotionally, psychological and spiritually, they are very vulnerable, especially Clark.  The supernatural and magic causes him problems.  And now Diana is the daughter of a god, Zeus.  Many of her enemies are supernatural – and if he tries to defend her, he could get hurt or killed.  No more invulnerable.  Oops.  May as well go back to the humans.

Both Steve Trevor and Lois Lane risk emotionally.  They also risk physically.  Their spirits and intellect inspire hope in superbeings.  Diana and Clark need them to grow as characters and as heroes especially since their families are gone.

Matt Idelson made a comment during the 2011 SDCC when DC was rolling out the reboot.  Lois Lane was a beautiful trophy wife (totally disagree with that description) and Clark had a perfect life with her.  Actually Superman had more interesting stories which not only had battling aliens and criminals, but emotional, psychological, and spiritual stories.  But I digress. .  .   Now with the power hook up, Superman has the beautiful trophy sidekick???  Wonder Woman is not a side kick and should never be allowed to be perceived as such.  Characters thought of as sidekicks don’t get their own movie or television show.  Think about that DC.  Never let the media run away with your characterizations.  Keep some control!

The DC superheroes are products, yes.  But they are also beloved myths and DC Comics are their caretakers.  Let’s hope DC takes their responsibilities seriously and protect the icons from harm especially from the corporation.

A Superman without hope does not inspire and does not allow us to aspire.  He’s dull.  He’s without heart or soul.  As a Superman fan, I HOPE DC Comics will bring back the core of his personality to the story – AND SOON!  In the meantime, the DC administration needs to watch what they say and how it affects the people who love the character.  (The people with the money who buy the products.)  Superman fans are feeling more than a little bludgeoned after WONK, Grounded , the reboot and now the power hook up.  We need some hope . . . LIKE NOW!

October 4, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . BaudyBlahBlahBlah. Leave a comment.