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Tangent: Superman's Reign #12

Tangent: Superman's Reign #12

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 18, 2009

Cover date: April 2009

"Superman's Reign - Conclusion"

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Carlos Magno
Inker: Julio Ferreira

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

The Green Lanterns of New Earth lead the charge toward the Tangent Superman. As they do, the Tangent Superman forces Guy to attack them and easily takes them out. Despite this, they are reassured that they are a part of Batman's plan.

Tangent Superman gloats over their collapsed forms next to his pet Ultra-Humanite. Green Lantern, Lori Lemaris, Batman, Lex Luthor and Superman all watch the battle, wary as to its conclusion. Lex gloats about Superman having to work with him, and Superman gets angry.

They send another wave with Black Lightning, Parasite, and Doctor Psycho. The Tangent Superman dispatches them easily.

They send another wave with Power Girl and the Tangent Batman. Tangent Power Girl and New Earth Power Girl spar, with New Earth Power Girl taking great offense at the use of her name. Tangent Batman strikes the Ultra-Humanite in his soul, and in the process Tangent Batman loses his life. Power Girl grieves for him.

The final wave with Superman and Batman attacks, taking down the Ultra-Humanite and pressing forward. Tangent Superman easily takes them out, but then Lola Dent, his wife, appears. She tells him to stop, and he responds that he will turn the world to ash. Having not expended her energy in the battle, she has more power than her husband does for once, and she takes him down.

They put the Tangent heroes into the Ultra-Humanite's prison. Foes vanquished, the Tangent heroes return to their own universe.

2Story - 2: This has to be one of the stranger endings to a longer series that I've seen in terms of quality waver. Tangent, as a series, was amazing from the beginning until about issue ten, and then VOOM, it veered south and became this odd, beat 'em up affair whereby the old "standby" of all of the universe's villains and all of the universe's heroes come together for fisticuffs.

In the face of the complex motivations woven together in the previous ten issues, this was outlandishly unfortunate.

Then you have this issue, which kind of hints at those broader thematics, but only plays to a few. The Power Girl coincidence. The death of a Batman to stop the ultimate despot. Etc.

But basically, poor writing and/or not enough space to unwind actually killed this last book. And I say that with a profound respect for the issues that preceded this one. Lex is written very stock and wrote, a nyah villain if I ever saw one. This is incomprehensible coming from Dan Jurgens, who spent so much time working on the complex and wonderful Lex that is hands-down, my favorite. And it sucks, as a reviewer, to have to bag on his work, because Jurgens remains in my top five Superman artists. Fact is, though, Lex is not the kind of guy who would openly spout that he puts his own best interests in front of others. He's the kind of guy who would fight for his own best interests while making you think that YOU fighting for his best interest was you fighting for yours. Read that a few times, it does make sense.

But beyond that, the narrative extrapolates a good bit, like more space was needed, and there was no wrapup/denouement for all of these characters I've come to know and love. What happened with Guy/Clayface? What is the Ultra-Humanite in this universe? What happened to the Tangent Universe? I know, New Earth is safe, theoretically story over, but why build twelve issues of care for the Tangent Universe and then not tell us what happened to it? No resolution for Lori Lemaris. No resolution for Lola.

I also realize that Wonder Woman played no part in this. I'm a little late for the feminist critique here, but then, the story was so rad I didn't notice she was missing until now. When the story slows or starts to fail, then you start seeing those kind of things.

I dunno. All in all, it was still more than worth the read, things just fell apart here at the end.

3Art - 3: There were times where the art was stunning, but there were also many times where it was rote and sloppy, and looked rushed.

They also did a Lex with brown eyes, which is a personal pet peeve that drives me nuts. Lex's eyes are green to a symbolic end, the obvious kryptonite in his soul showing through his vision.

3Cover Art - 3: The picture is very strong, but alas, no background. I also can't help but think of a Konami video game looking at this Ultra-Humanity. Perhaps if I knew more about who he was or what his motivation was, this might not just seem like an interesting design, it might hold more menace.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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