All right, it’s time for the final volume in the Adventures of Superman series! It was a fun ride and I was certainly glad to see a Superman who tried to be more heroic like he was before the New 52. He still has his moments there to be sure, but this is the Superman that I wanted. Unfortunately, I think that the writers started to forget why they even started this series. I believe that the staff varies from issue to issue, but an editor should have quickly stopped some of the madness that ensues in this final volume. We get some great stories and also some very iffy ones. Nontheless, this was still a fun series.
All right, the first comic involves a Green Lantern and this was one of the best stories in the collection. Perhaps it was the best story! Superman’s very first line is “I am Superman and I don’t kill.” Perhaps not word for word, but I remember meta physically clenching my fist and sending it skyward as I read this story while waiting for Midtown Comics to start unloading the free comics. That’s how you start a Superman story and it was fairly amazing. For context, a Green Lantern had just told him to destroy someone and that was Superman’s response. This writer certainly understood Superman. Superman has a scuffle with the Green Lantern and then Brainiac also entered the fray.
The art was very good and there was a lot of action in the story. I really couldn’t ask for a better way to start the collection. This was Superman’s best portrayal in the graphic novel and he showed us how to be a real hero. Superman is still my favorite comic book character of all time. He lives up to his name and shows us how to be good people in all circumstances. No matter how dangerous or tricky, he makes the right calls. That is why the next story was so bad.
Superman has grown tired of arresting criminals. They simply get out of jail and hurt more people. With those thoughts in mind, Superman decides to create another alter ego called the Demolisher. In this form, he breaks bones and steals kisses as he acts very impulsively. Villains won’t be getting past him! If this was Superman’s sub conscious then it wouldn’t be okay, but it would be slightly better. The fact that Superman is doing all of this willingly is terrible! He’s right that it is annoying when villains are constantly getting out of prison, but then Superman needs to improve the system, not take matters into his own hands. The story made Superman look completely out of character and it was quite sad. People love to see Superman act more like a villain nowadays, but that simply isn’t Superman.
At least the art was good for that one. The next story involved a reporter who finally made a connection between the Daily Planet and Superman. He believes that Superman is actually a publicity stunt by the newspaper so that they can sell more papers. He takes his dangerous theory over to Metallo and then things get a little tricky. Clark Kent is relieved that the man doesn’t know the full secret, but now there is a man in harm’s way. It is time for Superman to show up and take names! This comic was decent. The art was good and we got to see more of Clark Kent for the first time in what felt like forever. It reminded me of an episode in the TV show, but I can’t recall which one.
This was a standard Superman comic, which was fun to read. The art was solid and Superman appeared to be in character for the most part. It wasn’t terribly exciting and the action wasn’t as good as the first issue, but the plot was engaging and it is good to see Superman use his wits. Metallo has Kryptonite at the ready so Superman definitely has to play this match up a little more carefully than his other fights. I always had a soft spot for Metallo as he is an interesting DC villain. He’s one of the few opponents to have beaten Superman on numerous occasions.
Next up, was the Joker comic where Superman is out of character once again. Joker has arrived in Metropolis with various bombs located around the city and we know that the madman is willing to use them. The odd thing here is that Superman appears to be completely insane like the Joker. Superman manages to get the Joker worried because his emotions are all over the place. Superman will be laughing one second and threatening to kill Joker the next. The art is constantly shifting so that the Joker never stays in one form and Superman also has his Golden Age charm one moment and his New 52 glare the next. It’s very atmospheric and works to make the comic fun to look at.
That being said, Superman’s portrayal is completely unacceptable. It was good to see him grab all of the bombs at super speed and show off as he pointed out that even if the explosions took out the building, he could stop all of the rubble before it hit the street. I believe that Superman could do this with ease, but he goes off the deep end. He claims that he doesn’t generally kill, but doesn’t mind doing so and says that he will kill the Joker if he ever returns. He even threatens Batman and the whole situation is really off. Superman ends the issue laughing as he flies away. There are so many meanings that you can draw from the laugh. He could be thinking that he just pulled off the best bluff ever, he is feeling really well, or he is simply insane. My bet is on the last one as he acted like that in this issue, but the whole comic was really off. The writer definitely has no grasp on who Superman is as a character.
There was a short story about Superman babysitting, which came next. It was a decent story although Superman didn’t look as experienced as you would expect. He’s great with kids so I don’t see this as being too much of a challenge for him. I also thought that he put them in more danger than necessary as he fought Metallo. It was an enjoyable comic to read even though it was so short. The art was decent and it was certainly better than most mini comics.
Approaching the end of the collection was a story about a large robot from Krypton who lands on Earth. He has a skirmish with Superman of course, but then Superman is able to convince the robot to fight for good. They fight an army of aliens that are set on conquering Earth and the comic has a very emotional ending. It just goes to show that Krypton will never fully be destroyed as there are always more creations and Kryptonians somewhere in space. The art was good as per usual and the fight with the alien fleet was a lot of fun. Overwhelming Superman with sheer numbers isn’t possible thanks to his great abilities so this was likely pretty easy for him. I would have liked it if the aliens had some kind of super powered threat on their side to fight Superman, but it was a nice fight regardless.
Finally, we had a story involving time travel and such. Back in the 40’s or earlier, man tried to venture into space before we had the proper technology. The astronauts were stuck in a portal. Thousands of years later, the rest of the universe has been destroyed, but Superman still lives on as he finally finds the rocket with the pilots still inside and takes them to a new reality. The story was just odd. It is neat to see Superman essentially be immortal as he is one and the same from all of the eras, but I just didn’t find it all very interesting. I believe that it is supposed to be very meta and mysterious as our reality is ending and another one is starting, but I just wasn’t very interested. It was cool to see a cosmic Superman who essentially rules reality though and that he sends one to every universe. It’s the kind of issue that gives you a lot to discuss I suppose.
That was the last main story that the collection had, but there were 3 more mini comics to conclude the saga. One involved Superman deciding what to get Lois for Valentine’s. The Justice League got to appear as guest stars, which was neat. Another had Superman fight with a ghost and then realize that the ghost wasn’t real. The final story, which ended the whole series had Superman team up with Omac to defeat a powerful robot. I’m glad that the series decided to end with a fight as that’s the best way to go about this. They were all fairly charming and Superman definitely got his props.
Overall, The Adventures of Superman is now added to the list of comic series that I have read from start to finish. The 51 chapters make for a fun saga and even though the stories had their ups and downs, most of them were ups and properly portrayed Superman as the ultimate hero. There will never be quite another like him and I look forward to reading more Superman comics in the future. I recommend checking this collection out when you have the chance. It’s thicker than most of the trade paperbacks around so you’ll get a lot of value for your purchase. The stories where Superman seems to be a little meaner and more chaotic are iffy, but the rest of them give him a good portrayal and we see a nice amount of action here. Superman’s always had a great track record with comics and I look forward to seeing what I will read from him next. While it is not a Superman comic, there is a Justice League one that I will be reading soon and I’m confident that he will look good there. Until next time!