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Thursday, 21 January 2010

Superman: Last Son

Writers: Geoff Johns and Richard Donner
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorists: Dave Stewart and Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
This is what's known as a trade - a collection of 5 issues from the Action Comics title.  It's a fully self contained story arc, so you don't need to have read previous issues for it make sense.  This arc introduces a new Kryptonian to Earth. a little boy who crashlands into Metropolis one day.

Who is he?  How did he get here?  How did he survive Krypton's explosion?  And who are these strange people that showed up shortly after he did?

The book features lots of familiar faces: a now married Lois and Clark Kent, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Zod, Ursa and Non.

What's good about it?
Richard Donner directed Superman and Superman II, starring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon amongst others.  Having Donner involved in writing the story has led to the book being built on and based around the iconography of the Superman movies.
When we first see the Fortess of Solitude, when we see Zod, Ursa and Non, and when we read certain lines we know exactly what sort of world we're in.  These symbols and ideas cross over very well onto the comics medium, no doubt helped by the addition of the Geoff Johns as co-writer.

Johns is a very well respected comic writer and has also written one of Smallville's slicker episodes - Legion, and has written the 2 hour special Absolute Justice, to be screened in February 2010, (I mean no disrespect to the episodes not written by him, I adore Smallville, but I recognise most of it probably isn't life changing drama).  He has also written a lot of DC's bigger stories and is well known for good characterisation and world building.

Both Donner and Johns have a good handle on the Superman character and the associated cast.  For  fans of the Donner movies, this book will evoke some powerful feelings. Add to this a superpowered son of Krypton, reminiscent of Superman Returns (but less nauseating), action, fights, explosions, drama, and an interesting cast and we have a pretty good mix for new readers to start from. 

What's bad about it?
You know, this is a fun read that is evocative of the films.  If you want something more you will want to look elsewhere.  It's not going to be considered one of the literature greats, but it is enjoyable.

What's the art like?
It's colourful in the right places and gloomy in others.  More than anything else I feel that Superman should be a symbol of hope and brightness.  The artists seem to have the same idea as there are some wonderfully uplifting pieces within the book.  The pencils are clear and the colours not too overbearing.  There's some interesting layouts and perspectives which serve to draw you into the story and also make the visual side of things more interesting.

Other information
Price: £8.99
ISBN: 1845765729

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