Comic Reviews: Superman: Year One and Bad Reception!
Superman Year One #2 (DC Comics)
Frank Miller’s weird take on the early years of the Man of Steel continue on in Superman Year One #2, which focuses more on Miller’s version of Clark Kent and his adventures with the Navy. Yes, the Navy. It’s something that’s really hard to wrap your head around, and like the first issue, this John Romita Jr drawn second issue still struggles to come up with a solid reason to exist.
As Clark acclimates to his life in the Navy, he soon discovers that just off the coast of his training camp is a group of mermaids that call to him. This leads to Clark exploring the world beneath the waves and falling in love with one of the mermaids, which leads to his temptation of never heading back up to the surface world. Will he stay beneath the waves and be a king of the undersea kingdom?
Of course not. We all know that he won’t, and that’s one of the things that makes Miller’s script not that important. It’s also chock full of strange narrative decisions and patterns, with repeated phrases and turns of phrase that just come off as awkward and more like a first draft than anything else. It’s entirely possible that editorial just took a step back and let Miller continue to do whatever he wanted, regardless of whether it really made sense or not. Almost the entire page count of this issue is focused on Clark and his underwater girlfriend. That’s a lot of story time to spend in a three issue series focusing on Superman’s origin. It really makes me worried that this will end up being a rushed job next issue.
On the art side of things, John Romita Jr is still a reliable workhorse, and he puts out some truly solid work here. While it elevates the rather lackluster script, it can only do so much. Romita’s work has a great sense of action and pacing, but even then it’s not as good as the work he’s done in the past. He’s not resting on his laurels quite like Miller is, but it seems like even Romita’s not that interested in the story.
It’s pretty sad to see someone of Miller’s stature put out lackluster work, but then again, the writing was kind of on the wall after the release of Dark Knight 3. Hopefully this is just a fluke and Miller will be ready to show off something new and original, but I’m honestly not expecting that at this point. Instead it seems like DC is willing to let the once legendary creator tarnish his legacy even more.
Bad Reception #1 (Aftershock Comics)
A technological whodunnit, Bad Reception seems tailor made for our modern age. Focusing on the wedding of a tech analyst and the biggest pop/social media star on the planet, the latest book from Aftershock Comics is from the mind of Juan Doe, the artist who’s made a name for himself with American Monster, Animosity, and a host of other series. On the day of these pop culture vanguard’s wedding, guests start to go missing, and their bodies turning up with a # mark on them.. Who’s behind this, and can they be stopped in time before the very exclusive nuptials go off?
That’s the big mystery behind the series, and it’s a pretty damn solid one. I had no idea that Juan Doe could write, let alone write this well, before I picked up Bad Reception, and I gotta say, he’s pretty damn solid. Reception has a great hook, and it’s tailor made for something that you’d see on your basic cable miniseries.
On the art side of things, it’s no surprise that Doe is no slouch. His style, while a little cartoony, is still very much his own, and fits the script really well (which is also no surprise since he wrote the damn thing). While he starts the issue with a bunch of black pages (a modern trend in comics that I hate), he quickly uses the rest of the book to show off what he can do, and the results are pretty great.
If you’re looking for a solid mystery to offset all the capes and tights in your pull list, then Bad Reception is definitely the book for you. Filled with some pretty insane moments, it’s the type of mystery that we don’t see in comics enough these days, and is a great showcase for Juan Doe’s many talents as a writer and artist. Check it out.