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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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for Friday, September 4, 2009

Superman 689

I'm continuing my "New Krypton" reviews with Superman #686-689 [DC; $2.99 each]. In discussing this storyline and the elements therein that trouble me, there's one I haven't gotten around to. Namely, that this is the third DC storyline in as many years in which Superman is either out of action or off our planet. It started with the One Year Later comics that followed 52. It was done with Trinity and, even before Trinity concluded, it became a key element of the "New Krypton" storyline. When "New Krypton" is over, maybe we could get back to interesting Superman adventures set on Earth? Such stories have sustained the character for over 70 years. DC has fine writers who could tell such stories today and I would encourage the company to let them do so. That said...

The current star of Superman is Mon-El, who has been released from the Phantom Zone and given a cure for the lead poisoning that had doomed him to death. Writer James Robinson has given Mon-El a solid supporting cast that includes John Henry Irons, the Guardian, members of the Science Police, and a helpful neighbor, as well as great guest stars like Black Lightning, the good Doctor Light, and, in one particularly choice issue, over a dozen super-heroes from all around the world.

Mon-El is a likeable hero, determined to live his new life on Earth to the fullest and fulfill his pledge to protect Metropolis in the absence of Superman. He's truly a noble soul and, as such, stands out among the too many conflicted heroes we see in so many DC and Marvel super-hero comics.

Robinson's scripts are as good as this book has seen. There are no gratuitous players. Even issue #689, which is essentially Mon-El's trip around the world via a series of one-page vignettes, adds much to the ongoing storylines. There is lots of action, lots of character play, and some shocking surprises. I'm eager to see what happens next, which is a nice switch from my usual "dreading what happens next" reaction to the DCU.

Penciller Renato Guides provides consistently good art through these issues, though some of his double-page spreads can be tough on the clear storytelling I prefer in comics. But, overall, it's good stuff.

Superman #686-688 earn an impressive four Tonys while Superman #689 gets the full five.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back on Monday with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

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