Saving the World, One Superman at a Time
After reading, and reviewing Batman: Broken City, I decided to buy more work from Brian Azzarello, including, Superman: For Tomorrow (which I also wanted for Jim Lee's art), which I've read, and reviewed since, Joker, which I've also read, and reviewed, and this.
Lex Luthor wants to save the world, and he feels that he must stop Superman to achieve that. With help from the likes of Mr. Orr Luthor lays his plans, and even creates a superhero of his own, named Hope.
This was a fantastic book, and it showed a different side to Superman's arch enemy. Brian Azzarrello has produced a marvelous book, and it's something that was very original, and enjoyable. I've noticed through the stories that I have read from Azzarello over the last couple of weeks that no matter what character he's working on that he produces something unique, and something that the character doesn't do, or show as often otherwise. Azzarello also has a brilliant way with dialogue in his stories, as the character interaction is nothing short of brilliant. Now I will say that the story itself wasn't overall exciting, and the first half of it was a bit slow, but the emotion, throughout with the excitement near the end more than makes up for it. After reading Joker I was kind of expecting something similar in this book, but besides the fact that both stories are centered around arch enemies, and that they are both different take on the characters these books are very different.
The art in this book from Lee Bermejo is nothing short of phenomenal. Although I've seen his art on covers before I never really got the chance to appreciate it until I got the Before Watchmen: Rorschach series, and since then I've been trying to get comics, or graphic novels that have his interior artwork. I have also enjoyed his covers on such things like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but his covers don't compair to his interiors. Bermejo's artwork is full of amazing detail, and I can't find any panel that lacks detail. Bermejo is also able to show expressions brilliantly, as besides Azzarello's great dialogue, you can feel the emotion through the characters in Bermejo's art. I also love the way Bermejo draws the characters, as although he keeps them to their classic looks, he's added his own uniqueness. I especially liked how he drew Superman, as he looked like the demigod Luthor sees, but I did find it a bit weird that his eyes were always red. The cover from Bermejo was also fantastic, and I loved that he filled all that shadowy space with Superman. The colours from Dave Stewart were also brilliant, and they made the already phenomenal art of Bermejo look even better.
As I said earlier this book gives a very different view of Luthor as a character. In this book Luthor appears to be this very nice, generous man, who sees Superman as a God looking over them, being nothing more than a threat. I liked this take on Luthor, as I've always seen Luthor as a character that wasn't born evil, but made evil through his jealousy towards Superman, and that is shown in this book (although it's more fear of Superman than jealousy this time). It was also nice to see that Luthor was still an obsessive character, wanting to get what he wants, and isn't willing to stop until he gets it. Overall I think that Azzarello wrote Luthor brilliantly, and it showed more depth to him as a character, whilst also showing him for what he truly is.
Like Batman making an appearance in Joker, Superman made an appearance in this book. Although Superman had a much bigger appearance in this book than Batman had in Joker they were still very similar, as in it was obvious that they were background characters. Superman needs a longer appearance than Batman because in this story Superman is the focus of Luthor's problem, and the main reason he feels the need to create Hope, so it wouldn't be the same if he didn't appear as often. There was however something that I wasn't sure if I liked in Superman's appearance, and that was that he barely talked (I think he only said one thing in the entire book). I actually think this worked as a whole, as it lessened the attention towards Superman, and showed that he doesn't need words. I did however find it slightly awkward at times, but feel that it helped the story.
Like Azzarello's other Superman related story For Tomorrow, Mr. Orr also appears in this story. To be honest this is the character that has changed the least between this version of Superman's world, and the regular DC version. Mr. Orr is still a hired mercenary, but this time he's on Luthor's dime. Luthor uses him to help persuade people to do what he wants, and overall set-up things that will help Luthor in the long run. The function of Mr. Orr in this story doesn't just remind readers of what type of character Mr. Orr is, but it also shows some of the characteristics that we usually see from Luthor. It was also nice to see Mr. Orr again, as with him being created by Azzarello, it feels right for him to be in any Superman related story he works on, but only if his role is necessary, which it is in this book.
Batman also made an appearance in this book, as both Batman, ans Bruce Wayne. His main appearance in this book is during a dinner conversation between himself, and Luthor, but he also gets into a fight with Superman not long after. I liked Batman's appearance, but more as Bruce than Batman. I liked that we see how the rich live, and how due to being rich that Luthor, and Bruce are both friendly to one another, whether they like each other or not. I think that Azzarello showed Bruce's characteristics perfectly throughout the dinner, but not so well after his fight with Superman. I just couldn't see Bruce helping Luthor just cause he got in a fight with Superman, but there are reasons I can make for this. The main one is that Bruce also sees Superman as a threat, and shares the same goal as Luthor now, but it still doesn't feel right to me, as being a long time Batman fan I wouldn't expect him to do this. Don't get me wrong, I can believe him seeing Superman as a threat (he has in the past), but I can't see him helping Luthor. I do however understand that the story needs something like this to develop certain parts of it.
Hope was the character that I saw most change from in this version of Superman's world than the regular DC version. I don't know a great deal about the normal version of Hope, but I do know enough to know that this version is much different. For starters the normal version is an Amazon that was hired as Luthor's bodyguard along with fellow Amazon Mercy Graves, whereas in this version she's a robot that Luthor made to be a superhero. I did however prefer this version, and found the relationship between her, and Luthor very interesting. You could say that it isn't right that someone can love as robot, or at least in the way Luthor does, but at the same time I can see why, as he created her, and was with her throughout. He also was that amazed by what she was, and due to her being exactly what he wanted it's kind of natural that he'd love her, even if it isn't necessarily right. I also liked that she believed in herself, and that although she was a robot, she still wanted to do good. It probably helped that she didn't know what she was, but all the same it was nice to see that although she believed in Luthor that she also wanted to do good.
This was a brilliant book, but not quite as good as Azzarello, and Bermejo's other work. It was still a very interesting read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked how it showed a different side to Luthor, whilst showing some of the more well known characteristics. I would highly recommend this book, as it is still a cracking read.