Path of Doom (Superman Action Comics #1) ★★★★☆

pathofdoom (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Path of Doom
Series: Superman Action Comics #1
Author: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patch Zircher, et al
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 144
Format: Paper Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Some dummkopfs are holding some people hostage and Lex Luther, wearing an armored suit emblazoned with an “S” comes to the rescue. He is then confronted by the real Superman, father of Jon and husband of Lois. The REAL Superman. They begin to duke it out when suddenly Doomsday appears from a container and begins his rampage from almost 30 years ago all over again. Lex and Superman team up and manage to get Doomsday out of Metropolis. Lex is left behind to help the citizenry in need and Wonder Woman shows up to help.

Superman has learned from his last fight to the death with Doomsday, at least so he says. But basically it turns into yet another slugfest. Jon is watching on tv and gives a super shout that alerts Doomsday to another Kryptonian and Doomsday sets off to hunt down Jon. Supes convinces Wonder Woman to take Lois and Jon to Watch Tower, the JLA space fortress while he has a plan to deal with Doomsday.

Before he can enact his plan though, a group of humans with some sort of super tech appear, open a gate and begin using energy weapons to push Doomsday through the gate. They almost succeed but then Doomsday simply rips through them all like tissue paper.

With some timely intervention by Wonder Woman, Supes manages to get Doomsday into the path of a Phantom Zone Projector and the world is safe. Or so everyone thinks.

During all of this, a mysterious narrator has been watching everything on screens and at the end, he intercepts the Phantom Zone Projector and captures Doomsday for himself. Who he is, what he wants and pretty much everything about him is a mystery.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, I’d like to first thank Bookwraiths for reviewing this book this last year. Gave me some hope that maybe DC hadn’t totally destroyed Superman. Superman: Doomed was truly an epic fail in the saga of Superman and left me reeling.

This was a return to the Superman who was and always should have been. This was the Superman who fought Doomsday to a standstill and gave his life for those he loved. This is the Superman who clawed his way back from death and kicked the ass of every single other Pretender. This was a Superman who was facing death again and yet would NOT turn away. I have to admit, I almost cried.

So while I loved this return to form for Superman and I had no problems whatsoever believing he and Lois now have a son, the rest of the DC comic world has moved on and made some huge changes and I just can’t accept those changes and enjoy them. This whole multiverse thing? That was supposed to have been dealt with back in the 80’s with Crisis on Infinite Earths. The fact that DC has hashed things up so badly that they have just as convoluted a multiverse AGAIN doesn’t tell me anything good about the state of the plan for storytelling.

The second thing is that I am used to getting a completed story arc in a graphic novel. If you can’t tell a complete story arc in one book, then you have no business telling that story at all. It’s DC’s new business model of selling a whole years worth of comics and all associated comics to get a complete story. I won’t buy into that practice.

I think this is going to be my last comic for the foreseeable future. It used to be that comics were in our world and if you knew the origin of the Hero you could pretty much slot into whereever you started reading. Not any more. With things like Flashpoint, New52, Rebirth, things are so complicated that you can’t just jump on board.

I enjoyed this particular set of comics a LOT and feel like it is an almost circle in regards to Superman and Doomsday. But with everything else I stated, I can’t and won’t be continuing.

Adios Kal. You’ve always been the example of True Manhood to me throughout the years and I’m glad to see you being returned to that state. The world nowadays needs real heroes and I hope you can survive our worlds current penchant for destroying heroes with a sneer and glib mockery.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Red Son (Superman: Elseworlds)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 
Title: Red Son
Series: Superman: Elseworlds
Author/Artist: Mark Millar, et all
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 160
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: 

Superman lands in the Ukraine and a Communist Collective instead of in Smallville, USA.

The Man of Steel promotes communism and once Stalin dies, takes over as President Superman. Lex Luthor, last hope of the Free World, makes it his mission in life to bring down the Man of Steel, even at the sacrifice of his marriage to Lois Lane. Superman is being guided by Brainiac and can Wonder Woman, Boris Wayneski, a newly minted cadre of Green Lantern US Marines and even Superman himself stop Brainiac from completing his nefarious plans?

 

My Thoughts:  Spoilers

I enjoyed this the first I read it but I never recorded that I read it, so this is my first time rating and reviewing it.

I always enjoy the Elseworld stories because they do what all the phracking ridiculous and completely unnecessary reboots attempt, and miserably fail at, doing. IE, bringing us the characters we know in new ways with new stories and new variations. In fact, I would say that is the main fun of these, seeing the familiar turned at a 37° angle, just enough to skew everything but still the same enough for you to recognize.

First off, lets get through the bad. Stalin. For all that Hitler is vilified and made the devil incarnate, Stalin was truly worse. He was a butcher, plain and simple. So, for Superman to admire him was a bit of a let down. I’m not talking about Superman and communism, but Superman and Stalin.  Then there is Boris Wayneski. I don’t even know if that was his name in the book, he was simply the Russian Batman. He was almost a caricature and I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been someone else. However, the frenemy status between Supes and Batman goes way back, so it makes sense why it was included.

The good stuff.

Superman looked good. He looked good in his suit and with the hammer and sickle on his chest. I’m pretty picky about my Supes, as I liked Dan Jurgens version from the 90’s, but this was a creditable job and the art didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

Lex Luthor. He is portrayed as the smartest man alive here. While his quest to overcome Superman takes the lead, the advances he makes in doing so drags humanity upward, in all ways. In fact, his name becomes so great that his descendants take on his name, as L, or eL. You can see where that is going.

And that brings me to the ending. I loved it. I can see it pissing people off though. Superman is NOT from Krypton. He is from Earth, sent back in time to try to change the future created by Lex Luthor and the House of L. Of course, the story ends with his little craft landing in the Ukraine, hence beginning the whole cycle again.

star40full-custom

Superman: Doomed (Superman)

coverThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com

Title: Superman: Doomed
Series: Superman
Author/Artist: Greg Pak, et al
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 544
Format: Paper graphic novel
Synopsis:
Taking place in the New52 timeline. Doomsday has been kept in the Phantom Zone and somehow is allowed out by somebody. He is literal poison to the world and his very presence kills. Superman tears him in half, gets infected and begins a battle with Doomsday over who will control his body.
And it all turns out to be a masterplan by Brainiac to get control of everyone’s minds so he can “change the perception of the universe” and hence, change the universe. Because he misses his dead wife and son. Who he killed.
Yeah…
My Thoughts:

This was first foray into the New52 reboot universe and I didn’t like it. It also relied on the reader knowing the storyline from Reign of Doomsday. At least to explain why Doomsday is still around. Goodness, I hate these reboots.

This was a very messy read for me. The characters I knew were suddenly completely different. Superman and Wonderwoman? Superman and Lois Lane are just friends, not married? I felt like I was reading one huge Elseworlds storyline. Sadly, I wasn’t and this is where things are.
This is a big, glossy book with some gorgeous art. Unfortunately, I had a hard time reading the text and trying to follow the action. There were so few panels used that I had to guess where I was supposed to look next to follow what was happening on ONE SINGLE PAGE. And half the time I couldn’t tell if I was looking at a 2 page spread meant as one, or if I was actually supposed to read it as 2 pages.
The storyline itself just went all over the place and made me wonder WHO was in control at the helm of this idea. Superman and Doomsday argue with each other, Clarke gets angsty, Supes and Wonderwoman are all lovey dovey while making promises of mutual destruction, Brainiac is putting the whole world in a coma while whining about his dead family and there is so much more. It wasn’t a clear, concise storyline. It was a soup with about 67 different cooks all trying to make it “their way”.
It took me 6 months to finally finish this. I just didn’t want to read about it. If this had been from the library I probably would have abandoned it very near the beginning. However, I bought this in February so I was going to get my money’s worth, even if I had to suffer for every page of it. Yankee thrift and all that.
I could probably write a bunch more but it would just be more complaints. To end, I didn’t like this, I didn’t like my foray into the New52 and it will be quite some time before I try out new comics again.

Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey (The Death and Return of Superman #4) 1…

coverThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey

Series: The Death and Return of Superman

Author/Artist: Dan Jurgens, et al

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comics

Pages: 151

Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

Doomsday is not dead, nor doth he sleep, but he shall fail while Supes prevails [ha!]

Yeah, Doomsday isn’t dead and with what Superman finds out about him, it appears impossible that Kal-El will be able to defeat him again.

 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this. Which came as a surprise to me because I remember it being the weakest of the 4 books and hence “remembered” not liking it nearly as much. Man, me and my Remembering.

While it was much shorter than Return of Superman, it still managed to pack in a lot of info and action. The Cyborg is back as well and sadly, his part was WAY too short and was almost a plot device just to keep him around for later use.  That was to bad because I think the Cyborg is one cool bad guy.

I think my nitpick was how Superman kept trying to deal with Doomsday. With the revelation of Doomsday’s evolving nature, it seemed kind of stupid that Superman just kept on hitting him, just like in the previous encounter. Find a blackhole and toss him into one of those. Mother Computer’s solution of sending him to the end of the universe and time, where Entropy would destroy him, felt like a copout but at the same time really manifested just how powerful and dangerous Doomsday was.

The action was good. Even while I was mentally tsk, tsk’ing Superman for just hitting Doomsday, it was still pretty cool. And Superman’s little Kryptonian battle gear, sword and all, definitely made the visuals better. Nothing like Superman as a knight.

The Return of Superman (The Death and Return of Superman #3)

coverThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: The Return of Superman
Series: The Death and Return of Superman
Author/Artist: Dan Jurgens, et al.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 480
Format: Paper Graphic Novel

 

 

Synopsis:

4 Supermen have appeared in Metropolis. One is a young clone with all the attitude and haircut of the 90’s. One is a man encased in steel who makes no claim to be Superman. One is a violent vigilante who has Superman’s powers but not his heart. Finally, one is a cyborg who claims to have been mysteriously rebuilt from kryptonian tech.

One of these is a traitor bent on the destruction of Humanity. Can they figure out which one of them is the traitor and stop him?

Only the real Superman can stop the destruction of the world [again].

 

My Thoughts: Spoilers Ahead Matey!

A fitting conclusion to the whole story arc.

 

The first thing that struck me when I pulled this book off my shelf yesterday was just how the garishly primary colors dominated everything. Nothing but Blue, Red and Yellow. That is one thing that makes comics stand apart from graphic novels.

 

My second impression was just how fast things developed. Now given that I read this in one afternoon from one book definitely helped that along. But all the pretenders are revealed and while the world is still reeling from trying to figure out which, if any, are the real Superman, the Cyborg suddenly is about to turn the world into a new War World?

 

Third, the utter ridiculousness of it all. The pure absurdity. However, that level is needed to pull something this big off. This story arc spanned multiple comics for months. It HAD to be over the top to keep the teens interested and wanting to spend their money.

 

Fourth, I still enjoyed this. It was fun, it was explosive, it was garish, it was high octane. It was everything I expect a comic book to be in other words. I don’t expect comic books to be on the same level as The Count of Monte Cristo. Reading this also brought me one step closer to reading Superman: Doomed which I bought back in January. I have not read that before. It is just as big and I think I’ll be able to judge it more objectively than I did Return of Superman.

 

In conclusion, this was just as big as I remembered while definitely belonging to my younger days.

World without a Superman (The Death and Return of Superman #2)

coverThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: World without a Superman

Series: The Death and Return of Superman

Author/Artist: Dan Jurgens, et al.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comics

Pages: 240

Format: Graphic Novel

 

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of Superman’s death, hell breaks loose. A shady government agency steals his body, which Lex Luthor buried in a very public funeral attended by the JLA and the rest of the heroes in the DC universe.

At the same time, Lois has to deal with Clark supposedly having gone missing, while she knows he is dead. Ma and Pa Kent are being torn apart with their private grief and Jonathan ends up in the hospital with a heart attack.

And then things get weird with some sort of afterlife scenario where Pa Kent has to bring back Superman from a potential hell.

And then right at the end, it appears that 4 Supermen have come back.

 

My Thoughts:

This was fun and as bright, splashy and soap opera’y as one could wish for. This was everything a comic should be. Larger than life characters and scenarios.

Of course, I was rolling my eyes almost the whole time. I mean, super guns being sold to gangsters is the big problem in Metropolis? And Lex Luthor being mad because HE didn’t kill Superman? Ay yi yi.

I enjoyed every page though. And it brings me once book closer to Doomed, where it looks like Superman is infected by Doomsday. I am looking forward to that!

The Death of Superman (The Death and Return of Superman #1)

coverThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

 

Title: The Death of Superman

Series: The Death and Return of Superman

Author/Artist: Dan Jurgens, et al.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comics

Pages: 168

Format: Graphic Novel

 

Synopsis:

A creature dubbed Doomsday wreaks a path of destruction towards Metropolis. Along the way he takes out the entire JLA and it is now up to Superman, alone, to stop this unstoppable monster.

 

My Thoughts:

This book has a lot of nostalgia built in, so my thoughts might be a bit wander’y here.

 

I was not much aware of the DC universe when this storyline was taking place. I accidentally picked up the next to last comic in this crossover [there are 7 comics comprising this graphic novel] and since I was used to once a month comics and not used to crossovers, I waited until the next month to pick up what I thought would be the finish, only to find that the Death arc had ended and some other storyline had started up. I couldn’t afford to buy a comic EVERY week, so I pretty much gave up on this.

 

Fast forward about 2 years. I now had a summer job of painting and the whole Death and Return story arc had finished and was collected in 3 graphic novels. I’d been saving up all summer and on one trip to Barnes and Noble I spent my “stash” on all 3 GN’s. They blew me away and made me a life long Superman fan.

 

So now on to my thoughts this time around.

 

First off, I had forgotten how garishly colored comics are. After novels and walls of text, it is kind of fun to see wicked BRIGHT primary colors.

 

Second, the time frame from beginning to end was less than 8hrs. I had forgotten that this was lightning fast. Doomsday just explodes onto the scene, destroys a whole slew of superheroes and then proceeds to kill Superman. He KILLS Superman.

 

Two titans brutally beating each other with their fists and any material on hand. While the artwork varied comic by comic [different artists obviously], the intensity just came through in each panel.

 

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this as much as before, but I am thankful to say that my 20+ year old paper copy, while now yellowed and slightly bent from standing cockeyed on my shelf, is just as entertaining and good as it was back then.

 

And I think that the following 2 pictures encapsulate the feeling of this whole book.