Holy crap that was good.
Seriously. Everything that was wrong with this title, every misstep, every bad decision[1. Keep in mind, this is me playing Monday morning quarterback, so while I thought they were bad creative decisions other people may have liked them. Those people are wrong, but they are still entitled to their opinions.], every failed attempt to rectify the situation…they were all fixed in this issue[2. Well, this issue and the previous one. Sterling Gates came out swinging in issue 34. I am looking forward to where he is going to take the character and Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne’s art is fairly spectacular.]. Supergirl’s origin was straightened out, the New Krypton story continued at a good clip and I was just impressed from top to bottom.
And then I felt like an idiot.
Since Infinite Crisis ended and One Year Later turned into a bit of a mess I have been on this tear about the direction of DC Comics in general and the Superman books in particular. There seemed to be an overall lack of direction in both and I found this a bit…frustrating. I could probably fill a few posts with my my issues with Countdown and Amazons Attack and Final Crisis, but I’m trying to be a little more positive especially in light of the little bit of crow I had to eat on Wednesday. With the Superman books, though, we went through a solid year and change of haphazard publishing and storytelling. While it wasn’t awful I never warmed to Kurt’s time with the character whether it was in Superman[3. Which had some definite good points to be sure even if the Camelot Falls story fell flat at the end.] or in Action Comics[4. Which had the misfortune of being tied to Countdown for a while and was terrible.]. Last Son‘s delays were Biblical. Superman Confidential never found it’s footing[5. And that’s a damn shame because I had been wanting a Legends of the Dark Knight type book for Superman since 1990.]. Stories were postponed, rescheduled and sometimes never even published. Supergirl…well, I already went into those, but I’ll throw it on the pile anyway.
I’d mention Superman/Batman but apparently that’s not in real continuity, so I guess it doesn’t count[6. This of course begs the question WHAT’S THE FREAKING POINT OF THIS TITLE THEN?].
In addition to those reasons was the fact that all some of us wanted as Superman fans was an idea as to what the Post-Infinite Crisis origin was for the Man of Steel. There were hints. There were minor revelations, but other than that there was a lot of ambiguity, especially in the pages of Supergirl. Every time fans would ask about that they were given some variation on, “We’re going to get to that at one point.” All of this led me[7. And others, I’m sure.] to believe that DC really didn’t know what they were doing and when I write that I mean that they either didn’t have a clear direction or they had a direction, saw it wasn’t working and had to keep back pedaling to rectify the situation.
It was a pretty low point for me as a Superman fan. The last time I had been that unhappy was in 2002 when Joe Casey and Steven T. Seagle were writing two of the titles. I considered dropping the titles altogether on several occasions throughout but always stuck with it because I knew at some point it was going to get better again. This ain’t my first rodeo. I’ve been riding this bus for coming on twenty-two years now. I am familiar with the waxing and waning. I knew I couldn’t walk away.
Then Last Son wrapped up. Then Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes happened. Then Brainiac. Then James Robinson came on to Superman with a fairly solid opening arc. Things were turning around. The books were on track again. New Krypton has been firing on all four cylinders. I’ve been looking forward to going to the shop every week to get the next chapter. It’s been great.
And I think that is why I lost it last week when it was announced that Superman was leaving Action Comics. Things were going so well and this seemed to be on the verge of messing all that up. A week later Dan DiDio gives another interview that explains everything and I calm down. Then I read Supergirl #35 and I think of how cool the next year or so is going to be and I calm down some more.
And I find peace as a Superman fan once more.
Well, somewhat. I still have issues at the way DiDio handled the L.A. Times and Newsarama interview, but that could be due to the fact that he was speaking to two different audiences, though it did seem in the Times piece that he was happy that Superman was leaving Action because he had been there long enough and it was time for new blood to come into the title[8. Again, my reaction. Yours may vary.]
Or maybe it isn’t and the whole thing was designed to get people talking so that when everything was revealed it would have more buzz around it in which case we were played for suckers.
In the end it doesn’t matter. I’m still looking forward to everything coming out next year. Sounds kind of cool actually and by this time next year we probably won’t even remember all of this.
Or maybe we will. It’s a fifty/fifty shot actually.
More to follow…