Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Superman, Inc.

I'll admit it, I love Elseworlds stories. Not quite enough to buy them at full price, but I scour the bargain bins for them! Any time I see an Elseworlds I haven't read somewhere on the cheap, I snatch it up as fast as humanly possible. The novelty of having an established superhero in a role outside of the one he/she usually takes on appeals to me, which is probably good for DC since that means I'll buy them as opposed to yet another rehashed Superman or Batman book.

In this prestige format one shot, Superman isn't found by the Kents, but is instead run over by a drunk who finds the baby miracuously unharmed when he gets out of the car to see what he ran over. Taking this as some sort of sign he drops the baby off in the closest town and vows to give up drinking. With this premise in place, Clark Kent now grows up as Dale Suderman. Tragically, his parents die when he is young. His mother dies after seeing Dale use his power of flight as she falls down the stairs running from him. Dale's subconscious then locks away his ability to use his superhuman powers all the while he lets himself become obsessed with nothing more than being the most successful person alive.

Becoming a success was easy for Dale as his innate physical prowess in comparison to the rest of the human race allows him to become one of the greatest sports stars ever. He uses the money he earns in professional sports to fund his own business ventures, all of which are quite successful, mostly because of the positive outlook that Dale exudes to the public. In private, however, he is a ruthless businessman that will do just about anything in his power to gain even more accolades than he already has.

Of course, Lex Luthor doesn't like that someone is more successful than him, so this is where the core conflict of the story comes. Lex assigns reporters to dig up anything they can on Dale Suderman and when things do start to come out, it all falls apart for Dale.

The premise and execution of the story were both interesting enough, but the characters were given little depth. Dale was simply a man obsessed with success who breaks down when he finds out he's not who he thought he was. Lex is a less interesting version of his DC self. The supporting cast aren't really that interesting, but they're essential for moving the story along.

In comparison to other Elseworlds stories, this one isn't a bad one, but it's not one of the good ones either. From the art department, there was one huge mistake--Dale's haircut. It looks like something from a late 80's rock video and I laughed every time I saw it. I don't think any self-respecting business man would ever sport such an ugly cut, but apparently Dale can get away with it.

Give this a look if you dig Superman and Elseworlds. If you like one or the other it's probably also a decent read. If you could care less about either... why'd you read this review?

Art: 2.5
Story: 2.75
Overall: 2.75

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