Comic Book Corner — Two Versions of Superman and Gotham by Midnight

Comic Books GeekMom

This week Corrina looks at two Superman offerings from DC Comics and an underrated horror title set in Batman’s Gotham.

Gotham by Midnight #3 by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith

I hate the kind of horror that focuses on gore and death. But the kind of horror that’s all about atmosphere and impending doom and insane nightmares? That’s my kind of horror, and this surprising new series from DC is one of the scariest comics out there, even on a part with Wytches (though not as graphic). Midnight reads like an independent comic, especially with the art by Templesmith. Nuns are infected by demons, little girls are infected by hands coming out of shadows, and our detectives/exorcists/magic users just try to keep the horror contained.

gotham by midnight #3
From the cover of Gotham By Midnight #3, copyright DC Comics

Age recommendation: 13+ at least.

 

superman #38 panel
panel from Superman #38, copyright DC Comics

 Superman #38 by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, and Laura Martin.

This is part seven of the powerhouse team’s “The Men of Tomorrow,” which introduced Ulysses, an Earth native who was raised in the fourth dimension to be that world’s greatest hero. Unfortunately, to save his world, Ulysses has to murder thousands of Earthmen. Superman has to stop him, and this issue is the fallout from that decision. This run has been my favorite Superman story since DC rebooted several years ago. Johns seems to be channeling an older-style Superman, one who’s about hope and inspiration rather than angst and worry. The final fight with Ulysses is a feast for the eyes and it’s clear it took the talents of Romita Jr., Janson, and Martin to bring it fully to life. There’s a surprise guest-appearance and a game-changing conversation (as much as there can be) between Jimmy Olson and Clark Kent.

Age recommendation: All ages, and I’m happy to say that about a Superman comic.

 

earth 1 superman volume 3
cover copyright DC Comics

Superman: Earth One, Volume 3 by J. Michael Straczynski, Ardian Syaf, Sandra Hope, and Barbara Ciardo. (Releases February 10).

Short version of this review: I liked this origin story better when it was called Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu.

Long version: This is the third volume of a retelling of Superman’s legend for the modern age, featuring young Clark Kent in Metropolis, learning how to be a reporter, encountering a potential girlfriend, and figuring out what to do with his powers. As a comic reader, I’m suffering from Superman origin overload, between Birthright, Grant Morrison’s run on the new Action Comics two years ago, and this book.

I’d hoped that this version, not tied to any other, might offer something truly new. But other than an updated Lex Luthor origin with a motivation at the end that I don’t buy because it’s a trope that needs to die (My love fought to save you and was killed by the villain, therefore I hate you, hero!) and yet another new woman added to the Superman mythos, there is nothing new, especially not if you’ve seen Man of Steel. I’m not even sure Clark’s new girlfriend serves as more than the creators not wanting to use Lois Lane in the role because it’s basically the same role she serves in Birthright. If you have someone who hasn’t read a Superman origin and wants one, this isn’t a horrible choice. It’s just not a particularly creative one, despite the excellent Zod/Superman fight scenes by the art team.

Age recommendation: 10+ for violence

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3 thoughts on “Comic Book Corner — Two Versions of Superman and Gotham by Midnight

  1. Thanks for the reviews! I loved Birthright. I didn’t mind Superman: Earth One volume 1 so much but I wasn’t a fan of volume 2. I’m not in any rush to read this. If I understand this correctly, this is the final volume?

  2. I can’t say I agree with your view on Johns’ Superman. Whether it’s his fault an overall publisher mandate, he has continued the trend of reducing Lois’s role in the mythos more and more and usurping her position with men. She barely appeared in the run at all which, given the fact that she’s totally absent from Action Comics and was mostly absent prior to Johns taking over, is just inexcusable. She shows up every once and a while but had no real character development or growth at all in the story. In her place, male characters are given development, attention and page space. It’s gross. It’s the total erasure of a female heroine.

    As for Jimmy…again…why does he get this honor while Lois must remain in the dark? This is another erasure of something that used to belong to her that now belongs to a man. And it feels very deliberate. I understand that nothing is going to change under this leadership but it’s still very sad.

    1. I think this is a much much bigger issue than what happened here. From the moment I read interviews in the run up to the reboot with the publishers making erroneous claims that the super marriage came to be because of the 90s LnC tv show and implying that by removing the marriage they were righting a wrong brought about by external forces, I had a sick feeling about what was about to happen to Lois. Their claims were revisionist in nature, it’s been documented in books (Les Daniels) and video (short at the end of Superman:Doomsday) what actually happened. Not to mention many of us were reading then and understood exactly what happened. They were gearing up for the wedding in Superman 75 but the TV division had the show in production and asked the comics to delay. They were frustrated and wondered what to do, and thus Doomsday and the Death of Superman was born.

      I said back then that I thought DC was trying to do to Lois what they did to Steve Trevor post crisis in that they wanted to remove these characters as the main and or inevitable love interest. At the beginning of the reboot they moved Lois over to a producer role and she was rarely seen with either Clark or Superman.

      They really haven’t built her relationship with Clark or Superman on page, I’ve sensed a softening on this stance but not as much as I had wished.

      For some reason, it seems to me at least, corporate doesn’t want Lois in either the confidant or love interest role at this time.

      Lois did know Clark and Superman were the same during the Brainiac arc but apparently lost the knowledge, I’m hoping she is just pretending not to know out of respect to Clark who didn’t want her to know.

      I really wish the atmosphere was different and I don’t pretend to understand why corporate seems to have a problem building a pre Flashpoint relationship between the two. I’m not talking about marriage but just more of a relationship between her and either persona.

      That said, I understand why they want somebody who works with Clark to know. I think it offers a bit of what we had when Lois knew, a window in to the whole man. Something I feel has been lacking since the reboot. I wish it had been Lois but really believe this is because of the larger corporate direction and that is where my frustration lies. I don’t understand the thought process around Lois at all. I wish I did.

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