World’s Finest Trade Post: Lois, Clark & Robo-Batman

superman-lois-and-clarkI know it’s October and I should be finishing up the Wally Wood EC book I started or the volumes of Creepy and Eerie Archives I got from the library, but I just couldn’t resist reading this pair of books from the library. So let’s jump right in!As a huge Superman fan, I’ve been pretty disappointed by most of the New 52 material I’ve read starring the Man of Steel. My Superman is big and brave and and good and full of hope and that’s just not what I saw in those books (or on the big screen unfortunately, though I still have no plans to watch BvS). For what it’s worth, I tried probably five or six different trades and none of them clicked which is why I didn’t bother writing about them. What I saw wasn’t MY Superman so I just stopped trying.

So I was cautiously optimistic when I heard about Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks’ Superman: Lois and Clark and how it starred the Superman and Lois Lane from the pre-New 52 Universe. I finally got it from the library and tore into it, loving everything along the way! First off, Weeks’ takes on these characters feels fresh and iconic at the same time. They look at home in a universe that’s not theirs but also classic compared to some of the other super beings from this reality. That earns a big thumb’s up in my book.

Here’s the deal, thanks to a Convergence story I haven’t read yet, MY Superman and Lois made their way to the New 52 U along with their son Sam and have been there since around the time of the first Justice League arc. Not wanting to cause any problems for or with their counterparts, Clark continues being Superman in secret — in a rad black costume, no less — while Lois writes wildly popular and influential expose books as Author X. Their son has no idea about any of this until this story which opens up a whole new world for all three of them that’s explored in the Rebirth books.

For me, getting Superman right isn’t just about the hope and the goodness, it’s about the relationships as well. I get wanting to jumble up the pieces and play around with dynamics, but Clark’s relationship with Lois is as central to my love of these characters as any of the other stuff, so it did my heart good to see them not only married, but loving each other the way I see in my own relationship with my wife. What makes all of this even better? It came from Dan Jurgens, the guy who helped me fall in love with these characters when I was 9. Thanks Dan!

batman-volume-8-superheavyHey speaking of writers doing great things in the New 52, let’s talk about Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s EIGHTH volume of Batman. Superheavy follows the epic Joker-filled Endgame, a book I devoured a month or so back but didn’t write about.

After the world fell down around Bruce Wayne and Batman in the previous story thanks to the Clown Prince of Crime, Superheavy shows a past-less Wayne working at a boys and girls club in a bad part of town with no memory of every having been Batman. Powers International — which absorbed Wayne Enterprises — understands that it still needs one, though, and hires Jim Gordon to run around in a costume either in or assisted by a giant bunny-looking robot. By the way, Capullo’s such a talented artist with such a distinct style, that he not only makes this thing look rad, but also makes it fit in the same world as the Penguin, Batman and even though monsterish Mr. Bloom.

Really the first part of a larger story, we see Gordon’s early attempts at playing vigilante — though a sanctioned one — as he discovers the return of a post Zero Year threat: Mr. Bloom. This new villain keeps giving street thugs super abilities for a time that put normal people in danger and hint at a larger plot that will continue in other books. As with all of the other Bat-books by these two I’ve talked about, I appreciate the vision and the depth of understanding that both Snyder and Capullo have for all of their characters and the long form storytelling taking place on the page.

It does my old school DC fanboy heart good to see these characters handled the way they are. This finally feels like DC’s attempt to get Superman right — and I’ve heard great things about the Rebirth stuff — and the continued plan to let Snyder follow his own path with Batman. I’m down with both and can’t wait to see where things go from here.

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