Geoff Johns and DC Comics Present: Superman
This comic is nice because it collects rear Geoff Johns and Jeph Loeb comics that new fans may not have. The bad part is that it is a selection of stories because both men are HOT names right now, Johns being "The King of the DCU" and Loeb being one of Marvel's Made Men. Overall, it is nice to collect past arcs and give new fans a chance at these stores and let them decide.
One of The main problems I have with these "100-Page Spectacular" issues are that they lack reprints of the cover art and that they are more about the HOT names then truly important stories. I do think it is fair $2 an issue if the breakdown the fact that the cover price was $2.50 USD when these comics came out and likely would be $3.99 comics if printed today new.
This comic is focused more on Geoff Johns since he wrote or at least co-plotted all four stories: Diamonds and Steel, Fight the Power, Superman Vs. Dracula and Foul Play
It is a story about crime and how can a normal person hurt the Man of Steel? John's takes the Royal Flush Gang and the master that Johns is, he revitalizes the Royal Flush Gang by creating a full deck of characters spread across America. Now with 4 suits, and 13 cards a suit, making groups of 52. Numerological speaking I wonder if this deck idea helped to spawn the 2006 series 52, which follows after Johns' Infinite Crisis. It seems that Johns knew what he was doing way before he took over Green Lantern in Green Lantern: Rebirth in 2004.
What I liked most about this issue was that it was told mostly in the 10 of Diamonds narration and it gives incite who why someone would want to follow in crime. A need for belonging is a major reason and why not see if a Diamond can cut steel? I highly enjoyed this issue.
This comic had some positive reasons to be written, like trying to define what makes a Hero and what makes an Icon. But the race thing is weak, it was powerful when Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams created John Stewart in 1971, but this is just weak now. Muhammad X would leave little impression on anyone that I don't think he has made an appearance in a comic since this one, I have not seen him in and according to comicvine and the other sources I checked to confirm this, he hasn't seen print again since the reprint in DC Comics Presents: Superman mini series. Even the combination of the name Muhammad (Which I am assuming a tribute to Ali) and X from Malcolm X is offensive to me and I am not even black.
This comic does have decent morals and tries to inspire the meaning of a hero, but I feel it comes up short. This is an example of why Superman comics don't sell as well as Batman or Green Lantern. Superman is a hard character to write and even good writers like Loeb and Johns can lose sight on how to write compelling Superman Stories.
The concept of if Superman can be a Vampire is intriguing and I loved how Jeph Loeb explores this idea. Keeping in check the Superman mythos, but only distracting us with the monsters and the sex do we see what Loeb is really doing. He wrote a great Superman tale and one I would reread for sure.
The visual narration is nice, the silent narrations really brings out the feel like watching an exciting grudge match, both in Baseball and the battle of the Super people. Having just a baseball game would be boring and Johns does bring in excitement into it.
It is the battle between Major Force and Superman that didn't blow me away. It felt fast and convoluted. The baseball game really helps to reinforce how Superman wants to be accepted by Humans and that is why he is well mannered to those who are just simply good people.
This issue was not a Home Run for me, but it for sure was an RBI or two to score points on why I love what Superman represents.
Final comments:This is a decent Superman collection with the exception of the horrible Fight the Power story, there are some pretty solid reads in this reprint collection. With Halloween in mind, The Superman Vs. Dracula story may be a nice thing to read.