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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Confidential

Superman Confidential #3

Superman Confidential #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 3, 2007

Cover date: March 2007

Writer: Darwyn Cooke
Artist: Tim Sale

"Kryptonite: Book Three"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

We continue learning the backstory of the large piece of Kryptonite. It's now in the courtyard (fifteen years before this story) of a rich man responsible for many mob-style ills. We see the rich mobster killed by his wife. In return, she's killed by their son, Gallo.

Lois rips on Superman for asking where she was, and then leaves him (as in the relationship).

A member of the Royal Flush Gang meets with Luthor and discusses the results of attacking Superman, and what they found to be his weakness. Luthor realizes that Superman's weakness is his sympathy for people.

Superman talks with a polar bear about his difficulties maintaining Superman and Clark Kent.

Lex Luthor gives a presentation for "Fun Day" in Metropolis, offering a less intrusive x-ray machine for hospitals. Superman arrives, bearing a cake, and Lois gives him a card she received from Gallo.

Superman reads it at the podium, revealing that Gallo has offered to pledge his first six month's profits to pediatric care if Superman will come pick it up himself. Superman agrees to.

Jimmy, meanwhile, sees an explosion on a convoy from the Casino. Superman goes to see what's going on.

In his office, Gallo stands naked in a green glow.

Heading for the explosion, Superman's face shows fear.

3Story - 3: It's hard to down-rate this book, and I have to have a very good explanation for it to do so. But nonetheless, it's there. One point for the continuity, one point for the shrew Lois and the apathetic Superman.

It's really simple, and it's something that the fanbase has very strongly indicated for years. We don't like an morose, angry, sad, moping Superman. We don't like a shrew Lois. This book falls back on that stereotype.

Lois berates Superman for saving the world, just as Lana does in Smallville, and it's just as awful here as it is there. "Oh, you won't spend time with me and let people get killed! I'm leaving you for it."

Shut the ($#% up. I mean, seriously. This is the "Lois and Clark" Lois, but it's never any Lois I could fall in love with. The dialogue is exquisitely crafted and well-written, but you can't make a sympathetic character out of someone who is yelling at Superman for saving kittens.

At the same time, while the novelty of Superman sitting and talking to a polar bear is not lost and is kinda funny, it just illustrates a Superman that is lonely, left out, lost, unloved. The antithesis of the Byrne Superman, in other words. Clark Kent is a man in context in the Byrne continuity. A whole person, a good person, a confident person who becomes Superman when he must. I'm actually surprised to see this kind of behavior in this series.

The man can fly. He saves the world on a regular basis. He doesn't go to a mountain peak and cry with a polar bear. He's not an emo kid.

Nonetheless, like I said, I can't complain about the writing, which is tight for an episodic work and still incredibly rich. I just can't condone misdirection with character I'm beloved of.

Lex was spot-on and perfect. When Lois wasn't berating Superman for doing what anyone would do, she was spot-on. Her arrogance isn't a fault, and it is her character. But arrogance is not cruelty, note.

I like the Gallo twist. Very neat to have him the guy who gets the K ultimately almost as an inheritance over an acquisition.

Continuity is all eschew and off here. Apparently, we have the Byrne building for Luthor with the L, but now there's a keyhole at the Fortress. And now Lois was with Superman before she was with Clark?

If Birthright is the continuity, Luthor never had his L building. It was the B13 building in Birthright.

I'm gonna get somebody in the comments saying, "Neal! Forget everything you know about continuity! There is no continuity!"

No. Bite me. I will not accept a lack of coherent framework. I'm a consumer, this is my product, I demand a higher standard. There's no reason they can't set something out, and I'm sick of answers like "Well, we'll set something in stone sometime in 2009."

You don't mess with an icon like this without a plan. It's shameful.

There was a typo in Luthor's speech. Not that big a deal, but it's there.

The secret ID stuff is out the window. Superman is now giving speeches, talking to people in crowds per the Silver Age. Wonder if he's blurring his face? Hah. It's a cute scene, though. There's just no framework any more to the continuity or character in terms of rules of consistency beyond what the writer thinks is cool, which sucks. Thank you, Eddie Berganza.

5Art - 5: This art is still incredible. I'll be buying the trade just for the art alone. I love Tim Sale's work, and I look forward to meeting him at the Emerald City Comic Con. I love his work, I have for quite some time, and this series shows he's still a master of his craft.

5Cover Art - 5: Continuing the series, it's a bit green, but growing on me nonetheless. They're obviously iconic pics, and this one of Gallo has a neat perspective thing going on. Good stuff.

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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