Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mon-El and Action Comics Annual #10

Got to get on to Action Annual 10 before Annual 11 comes out...

Reviews of this were mostly positive, some of them even glowing. Brings back a feel for the Silver Age, was a common theme. Not only did we have a new/old Mon-El story, but somehow Superman has statues of the Legion in his Fortress. I guess the old "Lar Gand came to Earth in the wake of Invasion!, joined the L.E.G.I.O.N., and seeded the future worlds of the 30th century United Planets, before Kon-El stuck him in the Stasis Zone for 1000 years" trick is retcon-punched out and Mon-El's origin is back to "I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still, da doo ron ron ron da doo ron ron" with a dash of "you can't call me Superboy because I'm not wearing the costume".

And it has been pointed out that in the 2-page spread of the "Secrets of the Fortress of Solitude" exists Superman's Trophy Room and Museum, which houses "Superman's private collection of relics from his adventures and statues of his family, friends, and enemies from the past present, and future." On one platform are the likes of Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Earth-2 Superman, Power Girl, Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and Wonder Woman, and on another platform are Ultra Boy, Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Star Boy, Dream Girl, Shadow Lass, Colossal Boy, Chameleon Boy, Saturn Girl, and others. The costumes of Cham, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Shadow Lass date the statues to immediately prior to the Great Darkness Saga (I checked the covers to be sure - Saturn Girl's non-bikini appeared on the cover to LSH v2 289, while on 288 Shadow Lass is in her non-cloaked costume; Cos was already in his post-Grell costume and Cham hadn't yet changed to purple and yellow). But that's not the point - the point is that this is the pre-Crisis Legion! WTF are their statues doing here along with E-2 Superman's?

Anyway, the stories here tend towards the "Smallville" age Clark Kent and to the Donner movies "Superman I" and "II" (no wonder, based on who's working on the comic these days). Fine, that's the look du jour. Remember when they remade Batman's Gotham City into the movie version? If you don't like it, this too shall pass.

A bunch of reviews, concentrating on the Mon-El story and the Fortress picture:

  • Rokk's Comic Book Revolution:
    My personal favorite of these five short stories was “Who is Clark Kent’s Big Brother?” It absolutely rocked!! In one fell swoop, Johns and Donner return one of my all-time favorite Legionnaires his original history that the Crisis on Infinite Earths stole from him. I am extremely happy. ...

    Now, let’s talk about the two special features. The “Secrets of the Fortress of Solitude” made me jump for joy. First, let me say that it was cool looking and well done... what really made me insanely psyched was what I saw in the Trophy Room and Museum where the statues of Superman’s friends from the future are located. Yup, that’s right; the Legion of Super Heroes is back in full effect in Superman’s history. Johns and Donner have re-connected The Legion of Super Heroes with Superman’s past. That is awesome.

  • Chris Roberson's Interminable Ramble:
    That's *my* Fortress of Solitude! ... Now, on the outside, it's all glass and crystal, straight out of Donner's flick. But on the inside? Pure Silver Age, baby. Check it out. Okay, now that is the closest they've come to this since John Byrne dismantled the franchise after Crisis on Infinite Earths. ...

    The stories on either side of that spread are not half bad, either. We get the reintroduction of Mon-El, Superboy's "older brother," in a tone that fits the current continuity but hews as close as possible to the original Silver Age version (and ties into the reappearance of the character in Mark Waid's Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes)...

  • Comic Fodder:
    ...If nothing else, this story answers the questions Superman readers have been trying to resolve since Infinite Crisis. Is there a Superboy? In this story (ably illustrated by Eric Wright) we quickly learn that while Clark Kent had not donned the costume of Superman, he is the mysterious "Super-Boy", a mysterious and anonymous figure who is a bit like a crop circle or UFO sighting in rural Kansas. Perhaps the best of both worlds. ... I'll admit, I never really read up enough on Mon-El, other than knowing he was supposed to be a Daxamite as Mon-El hasn't been front and center in Superman comics while I've been reading. This bitter-sweet story went a long way to providing Mon-El with an origin and a young Clark Kent with a sense that he is no longer utterly alone in the cosmos.

  • Laura and Adan at Pop Culture Shock:
    Adan: This has been touted as a book which lets readers peer into future Superman storyarcs, but all I see here is the resurgence of the Silver Age. Kryptonian criminals, Mon-El, Bizarro World, multi-colored Kryptonite and... are those statues of the old-school Legion of Super-Heroes in the Fortress of Solitude? Oh, sweet Jesus. Well, like it or not, and I certainly do not (except for the Mon-El bit; that’s pretty cool), the Silver Age is back in a big way, with all its silliness and convolutedness intact, one assumes...

    Laura: ...The most interesting thing about this book, for me, is not the way it is, but the way I like to imagine it. And maybe the Mon-El story, but not much else.

  • Perrynomasia:
    By far the best story in the book has a young Clark Kent learning about his powers and growing up separate from his peers in fear of accidentally injuring them. ... This is clearly a tie-in to the continuity of the new Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes. And yet, with such an interesting story about Clark's loneliness and newfound "brother", the art is the weakest here. I'm not sure how closely the artist and colorist worked together on this, but all the panels have a very washed out feel to them, with a palette in the browns, almost sepia. Perhaps this was done to give an impression of nostalgia, but it gets boring to look at, especially all the flat colors. Compared to the vibrant coloring and art throughout the rest of the book, this story is a dramatic departure.

  • Comic Bloc message board - the Geoff Johns/Action Comics forum and LSH31C writer J. Torres's forum

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