So I read all my comics last night and I must say I loved Action Comics. It was a really traditional style Superman story and Bryne's art was amazing. He has really got his style with a modern twist down and it really works. I think that the creative teams we have on the Superman books now are far better than the "relaunch" last year.
Pete is the biggest Superman fan I know, with a better Supes tattoo than Jon Bon - true fact. His comments got me thinking, which is always dangerous. What will the new creative teams be like with no new costume, no "edgy" revamp or long hair gimmicks?
It might be a little early to say. Gail Simone has proven herself as a very competent writer over the last few years and although Brynes name has become synonymous with dogshit, the vast majority of his recent past work has been somewhat marred by his less than able writing skills. But there is no doubt that Action Comis will be recieved a lot better without Chuck "The Internet Hates Me" Austen (I like his stuff - sorry, he did put the Action back into Action Comics and there were some great Superboy moments, the best in Superman since E=MC2's run).
"Adventures of" will stumble along much the same as the last year I feel, two good issues, one bad - this is how Rucka seems to operate on every ongoing title with the exception of Q&C. Don't know why.
Then we have the unknown comodity: Superman; while it will certainly be better than Azzarellos recent efforts on the mainstays of the DCU - (Lex, Supes, Batman, Deathblow???) and the artwork by Ed Benes will certainly make the book well worth reading (although I'd rather see him draw WW - no offense to Rags, few people draw fit bitches while still telling a great narrative story quite like Ed Benes, and I really like Rags Supes, has a little of that Routh naivette I feel) - Mark Verheiden is, at least to me, somewhat of an unknown quantity.
The best thing about the Superman relaunch is DC are employing KISS as a policy. No, not Ace Frehley and co.. Keep It Simple Stupid. The Superman group is looking very streamlined right now with only 3 monthly titles and the Superman / Batman crossover. this isnt too much for people to purchase in the event of a title crossover - such as in July - where the Supes titles cross into Wonder Woman. And the brand name looks to be kept just as strong with the creative team going onto the forthcoming Supergirl ongoing, pushing Churchill into the A-list of Comic Creators - but thats another debate.
This simple, no-fuss policy is something DC would be wise to employ in mid 2006 as opposed to flooding the market with a glut of movie tie-ins, adaptions and cash-ins. The real movie cash-in is from ticket sales, merchandise and a healthy - preferably numbered - trade paperback selection, this is where the newcomers flock.
Did a little digging on Mark Verheiden, turns out he works for a little known show called Smallville, so that probably qualifies him to write Superman, although I'm sure some puritans (read: people whom are afraid of change) would use that fact against him. Did people use this to advertise the book? If not, why not???
A back to basics approach is definitely what the Superman books needed. I don't want to be reading about a Superman who questions himself so much and has to see a priest about it. I don't want a Superman who created a "Metropia" so that earth doesn't suffer the same fate as Krypton. What I want is more stuff at the Daily Planet, more Perry, more Jimmy, more Superman in Metropolis. Its all simple stuff but simple stuff that works so well. Gail Simone looks to understand this as does Mark Verheiden.
Online there are the first few pages of Verheiden's Superman and its fantastic. Lois and Jimmy held captive and Superman coming to their rescue. Add this to the stunning visuals by Ed Benes and you have yourself a winner. There is one panel of Superman flying at speed across the ocean, it right out of a movie, it works so damn well. While I have only seen a 3 or 4 preview pages I am sold on this book, I think it will be great and just what is needed for comics flagship character.
As far as Mark Verheiden's past on Smallville being used to advertise the book, it really hasn't been done outside of the internet and then you have to look for it. There are been a couple of interviews with Ed Benes where he has mentioned it and a few sites like Supermanhomepage.com have made note but that's it. I'm sure it would of been in DC's best interests to push this a little more that they have.
Okay, just read my preview copy of Superman #217.
Its good. Very very good. It follows on and expands upon a few of Azzarellos ideas so the last year of Superman doesn't feel like a complete waste. Superman is the best I have seen him since Kingdom Come, complex, caring and always trying to do more for the world around him. Ed Benes artwork is great, a little busy in places but this is a complaint I have of the industry as a whole (too much background and foreground detail everywhere, can sometimes detract from the comic).
this could be the best Superman, although its early days and I don't want to jinx it.
It also ties in to OMAC, which is soemthing else I think DC neglected to mention in their advertising.
DC is great and for my money the third best comic company at the moment (after AiT / PlanetLAR and Image Central), but they still have a few things to learn from Marvels House of M campaign, we've had a load of checklists in free, to give away to customers - thats marketing. Maybe DC thinks good comics will sell themselves.