writer: Jeph Loeb
artists: Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines
this title to old-time comics fans and they have to ask, "why
isn't it just called World's Finest?" To be honest, I don't
know the answer, though Loeb gives that title (sort of) to
this first story. Perhaps it's because under the auspices
of World's Finest Superman and Batman were superpals,
until in the midst of Crisis On Infinite Earths somebody
said, "there's no way these guys would work together well."
years later, the powers that be realized that fans still thought
that the two icons should have some sort of life together.
As a result, two prestige mini-series were published that
established an uneasy status quo between the two. They have
respect for each other, and as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent
they may even genuinely like each other. But it was hard to
say that Superman and Batman were actually friends.
Loeb and company have begun making their case for how it should
be. But before they can, Loeb feels it necessary to rehash
what we already know: their origins. Maybe there are readers
who don't know the story, but it's doubtful. However, as it
is a new book, and Loeb gives McGuinness an excuse to do his
take on some classic images, we can let it slide a little.
A little. Five pages on a rehash of the two most-recognizable
superheroes still seems a bit much.
we get to the meat of the story, however, things are just
fine. The kryptonite-powered cyborg Metallo has gone on a
rampage, trying to stop the breakdown of his artificial body.
In his quest, he crosses paths with both Superman and Batman,
and the story hints at a dark link among all three characters
that could prove important for continuity. (It's hard to trust,
though Loeb seems to have pushed a couple of major changes
has plenty of action, which, after all, is something McGuinness
excels at drawing. Though Vines' inking seems a little thick
and heavy, that does bring the art more in line with the current
the action, Loeb is clearly interested in tearing apart the
two heroes' different methods. Cleverly, what one calls detective
work is simply investigative journalism to the other. Which
side of the fence is Loeb on? Let's hazard the guess that
yes, they're friends.
been building the case for a few months, and pretty effectively,
too. They're not the superchums of the seventies. They argue
with each other. Sometimes they can't stand each other. But
somehow, that makes their friendship far more believable.
Hopefully, it will also make it compelling for a long run.
writer: J. Michael Straczynski
artists: Gary Frank and Jon Sibal
classic series gets a revisit, a revamp, and a renaming this
week. Okay, the original Squadron Supreme was actually
a mini-series, combining a post-Watchmen take with
the Marvel version (literally) of the Justice League. Even
though its high concept smacked of rip-off, the late Mark
Gruenwald spun a tale that proved surprisingly moving and
thought-provoking, and became more than the sum of its parts.
fair, the team's origins were always somewhat taken for granted.
They appeared full-blown as The Squadron Sinister, fighting
The Avengers after a suspiciously Avengers-like team had taken
on the Justice League over at DC. Shortly thereafter, The
Avengers assembled on an alternate world where their foes
had become heroes instead (reprinted in the Special Edition
of Supreme Power #1).
Michael Straczynski is the first to explain just went into
the formation of the team, or at least, that's how he's starting
Supreme Power out. But is that enough to justify this
retelling under the MAX label?
too soon to see if JMS will be charting new territory, going
somewhere that neither he himself on Rising Stars or
Gruenwald had gone. But he has already taken a realistic (but
not necessarily grimly so) view at, for lack of a better phrase,
the Superman archetype.
couple driving through the countryside are startled to find
a spaceship with a baby inside. The woman thinks this will
save their crumbling marriage, but the government clearly
has other plans. (Of course they do.)
of what to do with the child, steps are taken to make sure
that he grows up a true American, in a "typical" suburban
upbringing. (If by typical you mean everything but contact
with humans.) There are deadly consequences to this choice
by the time this issue ends, and the kid has only reached
the way JMS makes some surprising choices. The President that
insists on this strange upbringing is the historically soft
Carter. And Bush (the first) figures out that something potentially
dangerous may come looking for little Hyperion. That President
also activates the weapon that will become Dr. Spectrum; it
ends up being a little bit of a cheap shot more fitting for
SNL than the rest of this book.
Gary Frank does his usual beautiful work here. For a book
that has yet to really require much in the way of super-action,
he's a particularly apt choice. Though Frank does action well,
he excels at quiet moments, and this book has plenty that
are made gripping by his sure pencils. Only Billy Mumy could
look more innocently dangerous than Hyperion here.
need another grim and gritty look at superheroes? Let's give
this one a chance. It's very likely to be more than we expect.