Sunday, August 14, 2005

Terminating a Superman Singularity

Ok, I'm going to try this again. I'm pretty well eased into my new job, but as I've eased in I've also realized that I will have a lot less free time than I used to. I still read lots of comics and still want to let people know about some good back issue finds out there so I'm going to try to give some time back to this site. The format is going to change a little and I won't have as in depth of reviews and there will probably be reviews of multiple items per post, but that's really the only way I can think to do it right now. So, without further adieu, here's some recent reading:

Singularity 7

Ben Templesmith is an artist who is either reviled or loved. There appears to be very little middle ground and I can see why. His use of minimalistic linework in combination with digital painting techniques is a unique art style, but many might see it as simply crap thrown on a page. I am one of his biggest fans, so reading a mini written and drawn by Ben was something I was looking forward to for a while. I had put it off since I detest the high price tags IDW puts on their titles, but I finally found this series on the cheap and dove in.

In the future our world had been invaded by malicious microbes that took over the world on a microscopic level, changing it to suit the needs of an alien master race. Some people would have interesting reactions to the microbes and would turn into what you could think of as superheroes. The seven remaining superheroes have been charged with the task of destroying the mother hive with a virus that the few living human scientists have created.

All of this is nothing too spectacular and is basic post apocalyptic sci-fi, but Templesmith's art makes it a beauty to behold and the story never treads into cliche too deeply. The dark nature of the story is quite easily reflected in the artwork, which is a perfect match. If you can, give this mini a shot, especially if you're into sci-fi. Grade: A-

The Superman Monster

As I've said before, I like Elseworlds stories. Many don't, but I do. In this Elseworlds story Lex Luthor is cast as Frankenstein while Superman becomes Frankenstein's monster. One of the biggest draws of these Elseworlds stories are the ways that current continuity characters are portrayed in a new setting. In this prestige one shot I wasn't as impressed by the way the characters translated over. Some of the translations were neat (Olsen being one of Luthor's aides), but others didn't work (Supergirl as another zombie monster? Superman as a re-animated human corpse?). The story also felt a little underdeveloped, simplistic, and boring. I guess you have to have some bad stories to make the good ones good. Grade: C

Terminator: Endgame

I loved the concept of Terminators when I was in high school. The Terminator mythos and future was one of the first post apocalyptic visions I was treated to when I was getting into sci-fi. I had never delved into the comics until I found this tpb on the cheap. I'm kind of glad I never did get into the Terminator comics because if this is a prime example of the world Dark Horse created to go with the movies, I might have ended up scared away from the Terminator universe for good.

I didn't know it, but this tpb is the ending to a series of tpb's that chronicled many varied attempts by different Terminators to kill Sarah and John Connor and other people who would work with them. This tpb is so steeped in continuity that had come before that I was constantly lost and wondering what the characters were referencing. Another annoyance was that the terminator in this tbp was hardly a factor. The art didn't help either, being of the simplistic and underdeveloped nature, but what can you expect from the era this tpb came from? If you've never read any of the Dark Horse Terminator titles, then stay far far away. Grade: D+