Daily Archives: March 1, 2008

Quick Critiques – March 1, 2008

Action Comics #862 (DC Comics)
by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank & Jon Sibal

The current story arc — “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes” — stands out as perhaps the strongest writing we’ve seen from Geoff Johns since his earlier projects for DC, such as Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. and The Flash. While there is definitely respect and affection for past DC stories and characters in this story, in this instance, continuity doesn’t seem to drive the plot the way it has in other Johns efforts. Nor is the point of this story a major event, as we’ve seen in Johns’s various Green Lantern comics in recent years. the writer achieves a nice balance between his homage to the Paul Levitz era of the Legion of Super-Heroes and a strong degree of accessibility for readers who may not be all that familiar with these heroes from the far-flung future. Now, the story has been fairly standard, as we’ve been presented with darker versions of bright characters in a dystopian future, but this chapter demonstrates the writer’s recognition of the importance of fun and a sense of wonder. With the inclusion of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, Johns brings a level of humor that was missing from the earlier episodes of this arc. Gary Frank’s designs for these slightly gritty takes on Silver Age characters are sharp, reminiscent of the kind of mature credibility that Keith Giffen brought to the property in the 1990s. Nevertheless, there’s still some campiness to the characters’ looks. Like the script, Frank’s artwork achieves a nice balance between the goofier side of this super-hero adventure and the more serious, dramatic leanings. When it comes to Superman comics today, most eyes are on Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, and for good reason. But Johns and Frank are playing a somewhat similar tune. 8/10

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