Reviews For Superman Magazine

Who wants to live in a world without Superman?

I never really started reading any Superman comics on anything remotely like a consistent basis until John Bryne was given license to "start over." Having been intrigued by various revitalizations of assorted comic books, most notably "Swamp Thing" by Alan Moore, I started picking up the "new" issues of "Superman," "The Adventures of Superman," and "Action Comics." Bryne did a good job of reworking the logic of the character; for example, the planet Kyrpton was already becoming radioactive before it exploded, thereby explaining its various unhealthy affects on the Man of Steel. Bryne also worked out Superman's powers (think walking solar battery) and, perhaps most importantly, made the Superman/Clark Kent/Lois Lane love triangle into a more workable dyad.

After a few years the folks at DC added a fourth Superman title, "Superman: The Man of Steel" and with a Superman comic coming out essentially every week they then decided to create one giant story line. In addition to the traditional issue number the cover of each Superman comic was now adorned with a small Superman "S" shield that told you where that particular comic fell in the sequence for that year. I thought this was great. I was at the point where I let multi-part stories of "Daredevil," "Iron Man" or whatever sit around on the table until I had all the parts and then I could read it all at once. But with the Superman comics you read it immediately because the next installment was but a week away. Unfortunately, that approach has now been abandoned (along with the fifth Superman title, "Superman: Man of Tomorrow" that popped up once a quarter to bring the grand total of comics to 52 for each year). However, you will find that there are still mulit-part stories crossing over the various comics from time to time that are now four or eight parts long, like the recent "Ending Battle" story line.

The character of Superman remains both the most perfect and most problematic of comic book superheroes. The litany from the opening of the television series tells of all his wonderful powers and his commitment to "truth, justice and the American way." Who can do better than that? But that perfection becomes problematic. For example, if he is so committed to saving lives, how can Superman afford the luxury of a secret identity? Any time he is Clark Kent that are "x" numbers of crimes and accidents going on just within the sound of his superhearing. If he is powered by the sun he should just be working his way around the world, time zone by time zone, doing good deeds.

In the final analysis, the perfect ideal outweighs the logical consequences. The limitations that exist on Superman of the greatest importance become those created by his own standards. Superman does not kill; Superman stands for law and order; Superman respects authority. That is why the masterstroke of having arch enemey Lex Luthor become President of the United States has been so effective. I also appreciate the irony that the office has forced Luthor to assume some civic responsibilities as well.

I was going to comment on which writers and artists were working on each of the Superman titles at this particular point in the history of the D.C. universe, but I have noticed that half the titles have new scripters and/or artists since last month. Then again, this makes sense, since "Superman" is a comic book where a particular writer or artist has never really caught on as being definitive or at least substantially different. Again, that strikes me as totally appropriate to this seminal super hero. Still, it is a good thing that each title page reminds us that Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.