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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Confidential

Superman Confidential #1

Superman Confidential #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 1, 2006

Cover date: January 2007

Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Artist: Tim Sale


Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman's rocket reaches the Earth, and as it does, a chunk of green rock breaks off. The rock narrates its path to a temple, where it is put on display.

In Metropolis, Superman catches a tanker truck and does battle with the Royal Flush Gang.

Seeing Superman struggle with the tanker, they blast at him, severing the tank and causing a massive explosion. Superman ponders the way that he's never sure if anything is going to hurt him, and just what attack will kill him ultimately, landing on the android Flush Gang member in the form of a block of frozen ice.

This pulls back to Superman and Lois, sharing a meal. Superman laments not having enough time for her, and gives her an hour here and there. It pulls back, and they are on the Eiffel Tower.

Perry meets with Lois, Clark, and Jimmy, and gives them their next assignment: The new casino Tony Gallo has put up in Metropolis.

They set up a sting, prepping the audio with Lois and readying their surveillance. Clark watches a volcano eruption on the television, anxious that he can't do anything as Superman without giving away his identity.

Lois calls Gallo, who is about to hang up on her when he sees that she's a reporter, and instead decides to talk to her.

5Story - 5: I'm very pleasantly surprised, I expected this to suck. Not because of Sale, not Cooke, nah. Sale is gold. No, what scared me is that every "Classified" title so far, with the exception of the Jen Van Meter JSA run, has pretty much sucked to me, and this title seemed to be the same concept... previous continuity tales that slipped through the cracks, IE another excuse to muck up already muckity continuity while there's a sore lack of main continuity books. I even confused the title, because they sound so similar.

However, this reads a lot like For All Seasons continued, and without being an attempt to capitalize, honestly just telling a good story.

There's Kryptonite that talks, yeah, and the title item is not the focus of this story, yeah, and the Royal Flush Gang sucks, yeah, but when you focus on what this is, just a good character story, you could be reading about Manitou Raven (a character I find rather boring and archetypical) and if it were written this solidly, you wouldn't care. Lois, Clark, Perry, Jimmy, they're all spot-on. I'm surprised Loeb has no hand in this. It's really well done, and similar to his style.

Are there continuity issues? Yeah, kinda. I'm actually sore and confused and I don't know what to write about continuity any more. Infinite Crisis was supposed to present a new continuity and perhaps streamline things. Now we jump forward a year, they're not establishing the new boundaries in any solid way, there are Monitors running around saying time is wrong, and if you want to write a hack story, all you have to do is say Superboy punched a wall, which even Johns said in the trade was not the point of this crisis.

In this book, the only glaring error so far is that Superman is dating Lois on the Eiffel Tower, and he hasn't even found Kryptonite yet. That's out of Byrne, as I recall. Or maybe it isn't. Honestly, things are so confused right now.

How about you guys? Are you confused? Birthright, then Infinite Crisis, Byrne as the base, it's no wonder writers can't keep things straight. I'm considering starting a wikipedia-style article to notate all of the continuity confusions/incoherencies as a way to strike up a dialogue with Matt Idleson, if he'll listen.

I was talking with Steve, and here's my opinion: I don't care if continuity is a little mucked, so long as we have a good story. Birthright was a good story, but instead of just saying, "Here, enjoy this good story." They said "THIS IS NOW CONTINUITY" and it in no way can be logically without a context, so that's why I harped on it so much.

All the same, as a fan liason, I get letters from you guys saying, "I hate this continuity stuff! I'm not reading any more," so I feel compelled to represent you. What's your take? Are you confused? The two biggest beefs with DC right now seem to be that they can't seem to get continuity or a regular schedule (on anything but 52) straight on major books. DC's response is generally, "Shut up, you're a captive audience" which I think is ridiculous. I shouldn't have to question a book like this, a book done this well, because no one can put it in a proper context.

No one wants dates, Superman to age, linear progression in a comic, but if you say X happened before Y before Z, and then make it XZ (Birthright) or throw in a W (Confidential) while having side plots in Superman/Batman (Epsilon?) and a whole new undetermined continuity in All-Star (Pi?), there seems to be a valid complaint.

Wiki or no?

Apologizes for the deviation, but I'm sick of confronting such issues in what should be a simple five for a great book.

5Art - 5: This is similar but not the same as "For All Seasons," but still strong in every way. From the smallest mood with the ice to the largest battle, Sale rules. I love his work. He draws Lois well, he gets Clark vs. Superman, and even managed to make the Royal Flush Gang passable. That says something.

3Cover Art - 3: I was a bit offput by the cover for a few reasons. It's a bit stark, and looks almost Frank Miller in a few respects. Also, the image behind him is just so epic, to obfuscate it with a single color does it a disservice.

Superman, too, looks slightly womanish. Can't think of any other way to put it. Look at his hips, he's got an hourglass going on. And the foot looks like it was squiggled, which is arty at times, but when there's definition in the rest of the image it's offputting.

Odd, and not representative of the quality in the rest of the issue.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2007

February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007

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