"Men & Monsters"
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artists: Carlos Pacheco (p) & Jose Merino (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Wow. What a great issue. Hell, what a great series. When was the last time you could have said that about Superman? Well, get used to it. This book is great. If you look up top, you see I have Busiek as writer and Pacheco as just the penciller. However, the credits have them listed as co-storytellers. And it really shows in the story. These two working together is pure magic.
In this issue, we learn a bit more about Clark during his travels after high school, as well as some more hints dropped about a mysterious "super-boy" seen during his high school years. We also see what might have happened if Clark wasn't as human looking as the rest of us, and that part is what this issue is all about. "Subjekt-17" is what "might have been" for Kal-El.
In many ways, this is a very sad issue. You have a sentient being like Subjekt-17 whose entire life is nothing but one horrible test after another, a being who was essentially born to be a "test subject." Is it any wonder that when he gets free, he lashes out? He's not a villain; he's a being who has had enough of being in pain. Superman has no choice but to battle him in an effort to save those in the city. It's not something Superman likes doing, but he does what needs to be done. In the end, during the second battle, Superman realizes he cannot hold back. He may not like it, but he no longer has a choice. And, when the battle nearly is at an end, some unexpected help arrives in the form of Arion. As I said, pure magic….
So while the story itself is extremely good, it's the artwork that propels this title to greatness. Carlos Pacheco and Jose Merino are giving this title their A-effort. And while it's incredibly clichéd to keep calling their art "the best this book has ever seen," it's worthy of such a statement. This is the book they were destined to do, and it really shows.
Kurt Busiek & Carlos Pacheco have made this book among the best that DC has on the shelves today. Period. Anything else I can say to describe it may not be sufficient. This title is just that good.
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