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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Blackest Night: Superman #2 Blackest Night: Superman #2

Blackest Night: Superman #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 23, 2009

Cover date: November 2009

"Psycho Piracy"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Ruy Jose

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman and Conner fight Kal-L above Smallville.

On the outskirts of the battle, Psycho Pirate appears, and begins to sow confusion among the people present.

Kal-L tells Black Lantern Lois to kill Ma Kent. Conner moves to stop Lois from doing so, taking her arm off with heat vision. Ma Kent flees into corn, and Lois pursues.

Conner finds Psycho Pirate among a bunch of rioting Smallville citizens.

Black Lantern Zor-El confronts Kara, and Kara attacks him in response, realizing it's not her father.

In Smallville, Lois hunts Martha. Martha steps out of the cornstalks ready to fight, with a "It's on!"

2Story - 2: Okay, do I need to do an "It's on!" myself, now?

The story in this book held in place. And by that, I mean, not much really happened. Much time was spent on character introductions for people we won't be focusing on, and actions that merely delay what's going on from being addressed. I know these tactics, I do. They're the tactics one uses in a novel, where the length isn't really as important as the flavor. And flavor can be great, but here, it's a twenty-two page comic book. We need it pared down.

For instance, do we need two pages to establish that Conner is fighting Superman? Look at the two pages. One is redundant. Do we need to establish that Clark, Conner, and Kal are fighting again? Do we need to have a page in the opening to introduce us to a bunch of people who are just grist for the mill?

Because of these things, Martha runs into the corn, Lois finds her, and you wonder, "Why waste a whole issue getting to that point with the central dilemma of the last (Martha's peril)?" Now, if this had been used as a way to build Martha as a character, establish why she's smart to turn on a super-powered version of her daughter-in-law, you might have something. Instead, all of that potential space goes to meandering.

The Psycho Pirate is a cool character, and I'm glad to see him in the Blackest Night setting, but he just kind of comes out of left field here, seemingly without purpose. If the goal of these creatures (as I understand from Blackest Night) is maximum emotional damage/destruction, then why send Psycho Pirate to deal with Superman? Why not, say, Jor-El and Lara?

The Kara/Zor scene, probably the most emotionally charged and purpose-driven in the book, is stretched somewhat arbitrarily over four pages in what could be done in two.

I dig the idea here, and the first issue was a better execution, but we're falling into what I've found to be typical for Robinson, which is avoiding the story in favor of flavor. And I dig flavor, it's just... sometimes it doesn't make any sense and pulls you out of the story.

I also noticed a small (but funny) error. Ma Kent is being held on main street, but she manages to find a field of corn.

2Art - 2: The art distracts from the story. It's just terrible at points. On the first page, the first page alone, you wonder why the hell those two guys in the barber shop are so happy they're crapping themselves in front of a mirror image that completely ignores my (admittedly rudimentary) knowledge of perspective. Maybe it's because they're above a woman skinny enough to die on the spot, I don't know. But seriously, look at that mirror image. One hand lowered, one raised, and at the wrong horizontal angle.

Then turn the page, and look at the contorted, giant Superman in the same pose from the fight last issue. That was enough for me.

I mean, look at the Earth from above a few pages later.

2Cover Art (Psycho Pirate Cover) - 2: The coloring overwhelms the image, which is awkwardly posed, and I had to actually look a few times before I figured out it was Psycho Pirate.

3Cover Art (Zor-El Cover) - 3: Decent enough peril, good coloring. The teeth stick out as odd, in that whole, "Looks like she has 48" kind of way.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2009

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