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Superman #678

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2008
By: Erik Norris

James Robinson
Renato Guedes, Wilson Magalhaes (i)
DC Comics
I think James Robinson is doing some slam bang work on Superman. I'm finally interested in this title again, almost to the level as its brother series Action Comics. And while Robinson hasn't really had a chance to settle into the Clark Kent persona in Superman, he is making great use of Superman in the title, showing he is great at what he does: punching stuff.

In last month’s joint review between Joey and me we discussed, in great length, the merits of how Superman goes about justice. The man absolutely loves to hit first and ask questions later. And truthfully, this causes a lot of problems for the city of Metropolis and, like it was shown in last month's issue, makes Superman come off as a stereotypical alpha male to the general public. To defend his characterization of Superman in this title, I think what Robinson is trying to show is that he isn't much different than Atlas, and once the dust settles on this first, he will come to this realization and understand that maybe his approach to beating the "bad guys" is a little haphazard.

I also want to comment on Robinson's approach to character dialogue. Both issues of Robinson's run show a "stream of consciousness" type of dialogue, where characters let the words flow out of their mouths without putting much thought into them. It gives the book a much more realistic feel as opposed to normal comics with preciously picked words for a minimal amount of dialogue, allowing the action to really tell the story. Now some readers might find this as a distraction, but I for one loved this stylistic approach. I think it works exceptionally well for Jimmy Olsen, above all else. He has always seemed like a photojournalist with A.D.D. and to see his dialogue bounce all over the place while he tries to narrow his focus was fantastic and really brought him to life on the page.

Complementing James Robinson is Renato Guedes on art. While I usually prefer the slimmer version of Superman (how could the man possibly bulk up when lifting planets is almost an easy task for him?), Guedes makes up for it by rendering everything else in this book gorgeously. I love his Atlas, Lois, and Jimmy. His skyline and buildings for Metropolis are also note worthy. Then, for this specific issue, he produces an amazing tribute to Jack Kirby during Atlas' origin which rocked my very core. I absolutely loved this segment for the art alone. I didn't even care that it was a ton of exposition because it was so pretty to look at. So touché to Guedes for this segment of issue #678, because it was by far the highlight of the book. I even had to flip back to the title page to make sure there wasn't another penciller attached to this issue.

With James Robinson doing some great character work on Superman's supporting cast, and Renato Guedes drawing the hell out of it all, Superman has once again become a can't miss title. I look forward to more of the Superman/Atlas juxtaposition in future issues as well as the inevitable Daily Planet sequence in Superman to see if Clark matches up with the version of himself over in Action, to see if Johns and Robinson truly are on the same page and building a cohesive Superman universe.



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