Monday, April 25, 2005

Review - Superman For Tomorrow

Superman: For Tomorrow
By Brian Azzarello, Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Coming off their highly successful run on Batman: HUSH, Jim Lee and Scott Williams move on to their next logical project, Superman. They are the most coveted Penciller/Inker team in the business.

Coming off of Batman: Broken City is Brian Azzarello. Most people will agree that Azzarello’s Vertigo series 100 Bullets is the bees knees. His Batman arc is held to widely mixed reviews however. I imagine his run on Superman will yield similar results. He is a very talented writer, but his super-hero work isn’t for everyone.

I wisely bought every issue that came out and stored them away like a squirrel. Last week with the release of Superman #215, I felt it was time to read this. It should be noted that in the earlier issues I would flip through to marvel at the work of Lee and Williams, but for the most part I didn’t recall what happened too closely. That isn’t a knock against this book; keep in mind I read nearly 50 comics a month so it is tough to keep track of things.

I’ll start off by saying that this storyline starts off kind of slow. The first few issues are Superman talking to a Metropolis Priest who is battling Cancer. Some time ago a mysterious act happened, now dubbed The Vanishing. In a short amount of time a million people were missing on Earth. They vanished into thin air without an explanation or a trace. One of them was Lois Lane, wife of Superman. He starts to bear his soul to the Priest and decides to try to find out where everyone went to. The true answer will come back to haunt him. There are people who stand in his way, a mercenary named Orr, a genetically and cybernetically enhanced killing machine, Equus and his master General Nox. However his most difficult opposition comes from his teammates in the JLA including Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

Overall this is really a very good story. Azzarello takes a part of Superman’s origin and focuses on it from angle not previously explored. He did a similar tactic in Batman: Broken City. Whether or not this works is mainly up to the reader as it will vary depending on your experience with the character. I haven’t been a diehard Superman fan since well forever. I am a huge fan of Alan Moore’s work as well as Joe Kelly’s Action Comics #775. Other than that, I haven’t had a real interest in Superman. I was pleased to see that this takes some silver age elements as well as modern issues and puts them in a Superman story. It was great reading this in one sitting, had I had to read it issue by issue who knows. The pacing to me seemed like it was meant for graphic novels, so I would suggest reading it once it’s collected. Also fans of Superman have to read this. The only real beef I have with this is that I don’t exactly understand why Superman didn’t know the things he should have at first. I also didn’t like how they didn’t develop the police officer who appeared at the start of the storyline any further.

The artwork, what can I say? It’s Jim Lee and Scott Williams just tearing it up. As much as I liked their work on HUSH, they do what all great artist do, improve after every project. In the first few issues there are some great homages to past Superman covers and scenes. They also put in some shameless plugs for Sleeper, which is published by Wildstorm Entertainment which Jim Lee founded. I am anxiously awaiting their next project with is All-Star Batman & Robin with Frank Miller.

The bottom line is that if you’re a Superman fan I think you will enjoy this story. For fans of Azzarello this might not be what you are used to, but it has Jim Lee and Scott Williams so try it out. You’ll also get to see Superman Vs Wonder Woman, which is cool. However, if you didn’t like Azzarello’s Batman: Broken City, chances are you will not like this. He pretty much does in 12 issues what he did there in 6 issues. This is a real wildcard which makes me kind of shaky on who to recommend it to. If you are up for a challenging storyline and top notch artwork in a mainstream super hero title then this is the trade for you.

Rating –

Art – 5
Storyline – 3

Overall – 4/5


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