Adventures of Superman: DC’s Digital-First Series Continues
By Brian Martin | Graphic/Novels Editor Published: 06/17/2013 11:00 am EST
Publish date: June 17, 2013 Publisher: DC Comics
DC’s digital-first series enters its second month, with stories from Joshua Hale Fialkov, Michael Avon Oeming, and Matt Kindt (among others). The first four installments of Adventures of Superman were quite an achievement in quality, receiving a collective score of 8.4 from CultureMass. Chapters 5-8 continued to focus on telling brisk, fun Superman tales, and also featured the beginning of the series’ first multi-part story. How did it all measure up? Read on to find out!
As with last month, I’m going to look at each of the most recent chapters released between May 27 and June 17. Each individual installment has been given a rating out of 10. These scores are then averaged into the overall score for the series, which appears at the bottom of the article.
Chapter 5: “Slow News Day” (Joshua Hale Fialkov, Joëlle Jones)
On a day at the Daily Planet so starved for news that only a dog show merits coverage, Lois and Clark make a friendly bet: Whoever writes the best story gets the byline. Of course, 20 pages of a dog show would make for a boring Superman tale, so it comes as no surprise that Clark’s attempt to win the bet is sidetracked again and again by various crises. Fialkov’s story is cute and fun, but fairly dismissible. It’s a nice, simple take on the classic Lois and Clark dynamic, but it doesn’t necessarily deliver a concept we haven’t seen before (although it is fun to wonder just how long Superman was running around with Rip Hunter and Kamandi). Jones’ art, hovering between realistic and cartoony, is a nice fit for this lighthearted tale. There’s an energy to her work that elevates the fairly mundane material. As for who wins the bet, the outcome is a bit obvious, with a slight twist that rings true to Lois’ character. Ultimately, this story is an extended joke with an amusing, but not hilarious, punchline. CM Score: 6.5 out of 10.
Oeming and Glass accomplish quite a bit in this story, considering its length. This might owe a bit to the tale’s time travel aspect, as a visitor from the future has come to Earth to destroy a child destined to become a tyrannical despot. It sounds like a tired retread of a sci-fi trope, but fortunately the story takes an interesting turn at its climax, challenging Superman’s own intentions and providing a striking lesson in humility. Oeming’s art is perfect for the crazy alien action on display here, with a style that blends Jack Kirby and Bruce Timm. With tons of action, grave portents, and a unique story that lingers in the mind after its conclusion, “Best Intent” is one of the standouts of the series thus far. It’s an exercise in storytelling efficiency. CM Score: 9.0 out of 10.
Chapter 7: “Faster Than a Bullet (Part 1 of 3)” (Matt Kindt, Stephen Segovia)
In the opening chapter of the series’ first multi-part story, a split narrative follows Superman into space to contend with a vicious alien creature while Lois confronts a much more familiar, terrestrial monster. Kindt does a great job of getting into Superman’s head in a familiar way that is, nonetheless, uniquely revealing. There are a lot of clever moments in Superman’s monologue, such as his observations about dreaming, waking up, and the smell of the Earth’s atmosphere. The parallel narrative could transition a little more smoothly between Superman and Lois, but there are moments that mirror one another quite nicely, as Lois navigates Lex’s words while trying to determine his true intentions and Superman tears his way to the core of a more physical threat. The conclusion is a bit familiar, but with two chapters left the story still has time to take things in a unique direction. CM Score: 7.5 out of 10.
Chapter 8: “Faster Than a Bullet (Part 2 of 3)” (Matt Kindt, Stephen Segovia)
This is the largest-scale story Adventures of Superman has tackled thus far, and not just in terms of length. The action is bigger, the stakes are larger, and the execution a bit more complex. Kindt’s tale is shaping up to be worth a few rereads in its second chapter, which finds Lois vocally questioning Lex’s revelation while Superman continues to draw a nice contrast through his actions on alien worlds. There are some exceptional details here, such as Superman speed reading at a library to develop an understanding of alien language and political conflicts before intervening in a potentially devastating war. Segovia’s art is much less playful than what this series has delivered so far, but fits the material well. Although it feels just a little rushed, Kindt and Segovia look to be building towards a fairly interesting climax, and I can’t wait to read it. CM Score: 8.5 out of 10.
Brian L. Martin is an educator, writer, and amateur curmudgeon. An avid fan of novels, movies, and beer, he would much rather spend his time reading comics, a lifelong love since receiving a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man # 242 from Spider-Man himself in 1983. His favorite books include The Grapes of Wrath, Siddhartha, and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, which is heavy enough to be considered the only real defense weapon he has in his home. He currently lives with his wife in Uppsala, Sweden.