It's been a long time since I've written a full review so I thought I would do one on this issue of Superman and continue doing some on a weekly basis from here.
With us diving into the number thirteen issues, we should note that this is the beginning of the second year for DC's 'New 52' initiative. If there was one person who really needs something awesome and new to happen for them, its Superman. He's the most recognized character in the world next to Mickey Mouse and yet, DC has yet to find their footing on any of their Superman titles. When news broke out that Scott Lobdell would be taking on the second year from the 'Superman' title, many embraced this idea with a level of excitement. And who could blame them? Lobdell does some decent things with established characters while also making sure that when it comes to action, its very great to see how the events carry out. But while this is the thing that Lobdell does well, its also where others are apprehensive at his form of writing. From plot points that seem underdeveloped, to overly cheesy dialogue, people can find a lot to be worrisome about Lobdell coming on board from comic projects. His Teen Titans run has been known to gain very poor reviews through out the internet, and his run on Red Hood and The Outlaws makes people think that at one moment it has a good arc going for it, before it falls apart and dives into a whole new story. With the idea of Lobdell coming onto Superman with a crossover event in the midst, how exactly does the first issue of Lobdell's run stack up?
What Lobdell does well in this issue is try to tell us what a day in the life of Clark Kent and Superman is like. Clark goes through everyday stuff when it comes his life: He has a roommate, Jimmy Olsen, who he feels intrudes on his space, his job is giving him trouble as they think he needs to follow only Superman which makes him question his career, and the girl he loves, Lois Lane, is involved with another man in which she in moving in with. Lobdell goes into detail that life for Clark Kent, is no different from ours while also displaying the differences between him and and his alter ego, Superman.
The thing that works in this book the most is the art. Rocafort does a good job at showing us great detail that goes into every character that's presented in each panel. Also, when it comes to the action that's displayed, we are treated to a great show of art in which Rocafort pulls us away from the action in order to show us the scale of Superman's powers. Its nice to see such a thing displayed. Even though its been done before, its something that's not shown too often.
Whereas Lobdell was able to detail the difference between the two lives that Clark Kent leads, this is also where there are problems. There are a lot of things going on in Clark's life at the moment that seem to echo Peter Parker's life. Morgan Edge showing up to berate Clark for not doing his job on his Superman beat, comes off as something that would happen in a Spider-man comic. Also, the problem with this issue, and with most of Lobdell's work for that matter, comes from the over written dialogue and also the fact that he feels the need to tell the story to us through thought bubbles and narrative boxes. In most cases, Lobdell tries to go into detail more with his dialogue by telling us what we had just witnessed in the illustration, and by doing so we are treated to dialogue that's very hard swallow. Most of the things that characters are saying don't feel very lifelike, but rather forced. Look no further than scene between Clark and Morgan Edge about the state of journalism today. While the message is nice, it comes off as something that came from Lobdell watching 'Jerry Macguire' too many times.
Furthermore, there's a lot that's going on in this issue. Not one single plot ties to one another from the beginning pages to the closing pages. A lot of plot threads how been brought together and it seems to be for the sake to fill the 29 page quota rather than because they all need to be tied together.
Lobdell begins H'el on Earth with a mediocre story that doesn't seem to feel very exciting. I can only hope he really shows us that he can actually write Superman in the next issue otherwise it will look as though people will be waiting for Scott Snyder's Superman book to get the Superman story they've been waiting for since the New 52 started.