Writer: Chuck Austen
Artist: Teddy Kristiansen
Since I am an unabashed fan of all things Superman, Iím happy to say that this issue (and the miniseries as a whole) has given me hope that Chuck Austen wonít suck when he takes over a Super-title soon. The writer obviously has a good grasp on Big Blue, and this issue further reinforces that in addition to providing more insight into Austenís take on Supermanís supporting cast. Absolutely nothing happens in this issue, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Austen has Jimmy Olsen and Superman spend the entire issue talking about more than The Tech/Lena; rather he lets the characters learn more about each other through their discussion of the women in their lives. Austen lets us see what itís like when Superman is your only friend, and their relationship is much more deep (and, quite frankly, interesting) than I imagined it to be. They talk about candidly about their love lives in this issue, and not once did I think they were acting out of character. Austen does an excellent job of balancing Supermanís concern for his friend with his need to maintain the privacy Superman covets.
While I found their conversation riveting, I canít say the same for the art. I was hoping for the new artist to bring a sense of realism, or even coherence, to the title, and that isnít the case. Thereís no getting around it, Teddy Kristiansenís art is just plain terrible. He retains the dark and gritty qualities of his predecessor while failing to make any strides towards making this a series that is pleasing to the eye. His faces are downright ugly and theyíre usually too small for the heads theyíre drawn on. There are times when his people look decidedly Asian, and that just doesnít fit Superman. I think heís a step up from Daniel Zezelo, I donít think that step is big enough.
Thereís a good amount of humor mixed in with all the serious issues Superman and Jimmy talk about, and thatís a side of Austenís writing I donít think Iíve seen before. From having Jimmy curse for the first time to providing Superman with just the right amount of sarcasm, Austen infuses this issue with a lighter touch than those that have come before and that helps off set the tension-building subplot. There appear to be some darker days ahead for Jimmy, and thatís what will keep me reading this series until its conclusion.
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