Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Adventures of Superman Volume 3 Review

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!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Adventures of Superman Volume 2 Review

It’s time for a good ole DC review! The Adventures of Superman is a decently fun series with the main drawback being that each story is a stand alone comic with completely different art each time. So, some stories are naturally a lot better than others so the important thing is to make sure that no comic is downright bad. They all need to at least a little entertaining if this trade paperback is going to work. It’s definitely not as good as the average Superman comic and the art does get pretty bad at some points, but it ends up being a (quick) satisfying read.

The first story starts the volume on a high note as Superman learns about his past and realizes that his father may not have been as heroic as he thought. There were some significant pieces left out in his story about how he warned Krypton of their upcoming demise. Superman also learns about the Phantom Zone and must decide whether he should be willing to use it on Mongul when the titan attacks Earth. This is definitely a solid premise and the artwork looks pretty good here. I was definitely satisfied with Superman’s decision at the end and the fight with Mongul was pretty fun. If the whole volume had continued from this comic it would have been great, but that’s the thing with short story collections. You can never get too attached since things end up changing. Still, this was easily my favorite story in the batch.

Next up was a comic dealing with the Church of Superman. Basically, a group of people started to think that Superman was such a great hero that they would jump off of buildings so Superman could catch them. If he didn’t, then they were just meant to die. Superman tries to convince them that this is off the walls crazy, but they don’t buy it. Meanwhile, Metallo is making his move! The art takes a slight dip, but it still looks reasonably good here. Superman’s portrayal is also pretty great as he shows that he’s willing to make the tough calls and yell the people the truth that they need to hear even if they don’t want too. The concept of a Church of Superman that got so widespread is a bit much and everyone deciding to jump off of their roofs will just make you shake your head. It’s sad that Superman has to deal with all of this. All in all, it’s a pretty entertaining comic even if it’s all a bit of a stretch.

Continuing on was a short story where Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter get brainwashed by Darkseid. Superman has to save them and quickly heads back to Earth before a kid falls off of a tree. The stakes have never been real for Mr. Kent and it’s a fun story. I could have done without the subplot of the kid, but at least we finally got some guest stars. The art isn’t very detailed, but it’s pretty fun and the fight scenes look pretty good as a result. That’s definitely what I like to see.

In the next comic, Superman gets word that Krypton is still alive so he heads over there. His father informs him that the explosion never actually happened and he was arrested for “scaring the civilians.” Superman manages to convince the court to let his father out of jail, but something feels pretty suspicious about the whole endeavor. If someone’s messing with Superman..they better watch out! You will probably assume that the whole story of Krypton surviving is fake from the start given that it always turns out to be a trap, but it’s still fun to see Superman interact with Krypton. It’s not quite as action packed as some of the other adventures, but it’s a good story. The art also holds its own so maybe our art worries were for nothing!

Bizarro got to have a big role in the next comic as a “cure” allows him to act and speak normally. Superman believes that Bizarro could actually be a good guy deep down so they team up to help the world. Unfortunately, Bizarro starts to revert to how he used to be. Why is this happening? This comic definitely wasn’t that interesting and I can’t say that the ending was very good. It was just really hard to get into. The art was also a little more sketchy than the previous ones and I guess I would call it average looking. The characters are still easily recognizable, but they typically just look a little off.

This next comic was easily the worst in the batch. Superman travels to a town after getting some mail from a kid telling him about a monster. Superman shows up and it turns out that the kid is the monster. Can Superman actually defeat this menace? The ending is pretty terrible and Superman didn’t look very good during the battle. The art was also easily the worst as Superman looks overweight and there is absolutely no detail in the art. Everything is just vague and not cool. Well, we got the worst story over with so it’s all uphill from here right?

Finally, we get a short story where Superman fights with Metallo, but the villain gets the upper hand when Superman has to protect some civilians who wandered into the line of fire. The ending is pretty emotional and it shows that Superman always cares about every individual. He’s not just a hero, Superman is The hero. It was a good way to end the collection.

So, it’s a pretty short read, but this collection did a good job of being entertaining. I don’t see it doing very well in terms of sales since this is the kind of collection that’s better to read at the library instead of paying the big bucks for it. My advice to DC would be to switch the format over to one continuing story and they could still keep this atmospheare of the good ole Superman days. It’s less risky and it could have given the comic an extra star.

Overall, Adventures of Superman was a pretty good trade paperback. I still prefer an ongoing plot series to one where each comic is a different story, but most of the stories were good, which was a relief. Most of the writers seemed to have a good handle on who Superman is as a character and it was fun to see so many of his adversaries pop up. From Mongul to the Toyman, they all tried their best to land a good hit on Superman. I definitely recommend this comic to Superman fans or to anyone who wants a casual comic to check out. By “casual” I mean that it’s short and simple. There are no large plots or character development to watch out for, but the stories are pretty fun and entertaining. In the end, that’s all that we could want from this right?

Overall 6/10