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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Blackest Night: Superman #3 Blackest Night: Superman #3

Blackest Night: Superman #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 21, 2009

Cover date: December 2009

"The Long Dark Night"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Eddy Barrows with Allan Goldman
Inker: Ruy Jose with Eber Ferreira

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Krypto wakes up and disappears at superspeed.

Kara fights her father on New Krypton, realizing that he's not her real father.

Psycho Pirate continues to sow chaos.

Conner attacks Superman under Psycho Pirate's influence.

Ma Kent tries to light Black Lantern Lois on fire, but it doesn't work. Krypto shows and takes Black Lantern Lois out.

A scientist goes to Alura and says he has a device that can repel Black Lanterns, but it will trap them on the planet. Alura goes to get Zor-El away so her daughter can stay on the planet.

Conner starts to see Superman losing in his battle with the Black Lantern Superman, and that snaps him back from Psycho Pirate's influence.

Conner steals Psycho Pirate's mask and uses it to restore people to normal. He also uses it to disperse Psycho Pirate and Black Lantern Superman.

1Story - 1: The problem here is not with the ideas. The ideas are quite interesting. The failing is all in the execution of said ideas.

This is a story, as told, which was a two-issue affair, stretched rather arbitrarily into three. If you open this book and read the first five pages from the standpoint of plot and technical perspective, the story doesn't actually establish anything new, it just repeats what the previous story had already established up until Krypto saves Martha, which is more than a quarter of the way through the issue.

It is re-established (and I don't know why) that Clark and Conner are fighting Kal-L, that Psycho Pirate is causing chaos, and that Martha is fighting Black Lantern Lois (which is odd, considering the cliff of last issue was her jumping out and saying, "BRING IT ON!")

The only new information in that opening is that Krypto wakes up and goes to save Martha, but it can be (I think) reasonably argued that it actually diminishes the tension with Black Lantern Lois and Martha, and would have been more coherent if Krypto had simply appeared. And also tighter.

There are many flaws in the varying resolutions, as well, from the comic nerd's perspective of demanding story cohesion. Black Lantern Lois simply gives up. The Black Lantern rings are "shut off," or whatever, but why wouldn't other black rings simply appropriate the Kal-L body, given its potential to cause chaos and emotion (which is what their stated motive is in the series, feeding off emotion). I mean, in this issue they get to 90 percent strength, and that's the farthest we've seen yet, right? And they just let that go because a ring went off?

But even that's debatable. One thing that isn't debatable, at least to my mind, is that the machine that repels Black Lanterns on New Krypton was a really crummy Deus Ex Machina. I mean, it'd be one thing to create a ray or a device that could hurt the lanterns, I dunno, but to take a people who have been through the trauma of being domed and assaulted from the outside and then have said people say, "Hey, let's dome ourselves!" seems pretty ignorant to the motivations of Kandorians. Maybe I'm nuts there. Or maybe the thought just wasn't paid, which I think more likely. That thought needs to be paid in good story.

I have no idea what Conner means when he says touchdown, but maybe that's a failure of the art. There were many art failures, but I can't blame the story for that.

Clunky dialogue was rampant. Names in dialogue. Exposition. "I NEVER GIVE UP!" "FOR THE SAKE OF SMALLVILLE, I'M ENDING THIS NOW!" Etc.

Perhaps bad fortune to have a comic that has Conner say to Superman that it's been a while since Conner has used tactile telekinesis the week after it's apparent he's using it with Superman. Still pulled me out.

And, beyond all of that, the last page was padding. All in all, an awesome concept taken and turned into what appears to be a padded attempt to cash in. Which sucks, because it started out pretty well.

1Art - 1: Rarely reading a comic am I absolutely pulled out by the art on a constant basis. I tend to let a lot go, given that I'm not an artist and don't feel like I have a place to correct as an artist would. Here, though, there were flat-out multiple times where this art made coherence impossible without a second or third look.

I still do not know what's going on in the splash page, who Superman's fighting with his heat vision, until it's established in a later panel.

There were other times, like when the Pirate disappeared, when the mask was shattered, that I didn't know it had happened until it was exposited. In comics, that's just flat out embarrassingly bad storytelling through art.

There are many swaths where it seems like Superman and Conner have spines that curve and twist. There are extra teeth. There are Liefeld-style panels where legs are just, eh, too hard to draw.

Seriously bad stuff, as loathe as I feel judging art in that respect. This is one case where I can actually display why I think it stinks, and usually it's just gut.

2Cover Art (Superman/Superboy) - 2: Decent coloring, but again you've got that twisted spine, odd pose thing going on. Grit yer teeth some more, buddy, and Emil Hamilton's gonna have to get you a mouth guard.

Actually, maybe not Emil, come to think of it. Yeesh.

2Cover Art (Kal-El/Kal-L Cover) - 2: Awkwardly colored, and a bit of an odd pose, coupled with not much of a background. Not terrible, but not really something that pulls me in, either.

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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