Saturday, December 01, 2007

One of these things is true

I just read Action Comics #858, the first part of the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" arc. Yes, I'm a bit behind on comics. Anyway, I had some serious problems with the comic, which led me to one of the following conclusions:

1. This story does not take place on New Earth.

2. Continuity lord Geoff Johns hasn't read a Superman comic in 20 years.

Now, if the former is true, then there are some serious problems with continuity. While it would clear up the whole Legion thing and the other problems in this issue if the story took place on Earth-1 or something, it does refer to the recent General Zod storyline, which by all appearances took place in the normal DCU.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that the latter is probably true. See, in this issue we find nebbish Clark snubbed by his co-workers, then berated by Perry White for never making any friends his own age. Now, I don't mind so much the decision to make Clark unpopular around the office again; that I can handle. I do mind that Perry White has gone from a caring father figure who treats Clark, Lois, and Jimmy as friends to J. Jonah Jameson-lite, smoking cigars (I guess he forgot about his bout with lung cancer) and calling Clark by his last name. Especially since that character development backsliding only applies to Action Comics. Over in this week's Superman Annual #13, we get the more modern, nuanced Perry White.

The most egregious thing about that whole exchange is where Perry says to Clark, "Why, you've been here, what--three years? And yet I haven't seen you make a single friend outside of James Olsen!" Did Perry have a $&*@ing stroke? Besides Ron Troupe, who, last I checked, was still writing for the Planet, there's at least one other absolutely-in-continuity friend Clark's made since starting at the Planet. A close friend, in fact. So close that they got *&%^ing married, and Perry was at the wedding!

It's telling that, in the panel where our intrepid Editor-in-Chief makes this comment, Clark isn't wearing his wedding ring. Whether it's telling that this is on some other Earth, or telling that even Gary Frank hasn't been paying attention to Superman comics in years, remains to be seen.


Anonymous said...

I gave up on Action Comics after that bland fill-in arc, so I haven't read this issue.

If I had to guess though, I'd say it was some other Earth, because that's the only way I can rationalize it.


Anonymous said...

Good point, Tom!

Anonymous said...

Don't get me started, Tom. I never thought Geoff Johns would be the one to make me give up on Action Comics, but there it is. I guess the greatest comics you read really were the ones that came out when you were ten...

Good stuff as always. Did you get a new laptop yet?

Tom Foss said...

Matt: Which bland fill-in arc? I haven't read the Nicieza one (which I hear was actually pretty good) yet, but the Countdown tie-ins were pretty painful.

Plok: thanks!

Neverask: Yeah, really. I won't be giving up just yet (my subscription doesn't expire for some time still), but I'm not exactly psyched for the rest of the story.

Speaking of comics that came out when I was 10, I recently went back and read through the Death & World Without a Superman stories, and I was shocked at how well they've held up. I actually found myself getting misty-eyed during some of the WWAS issues.

My laptop has returned from Dell, with more new parts than post-rebuilding Vic Stone. It's not quite 100% just yet--for some reason, I keep getting a blue screen of death when it wakes up from having the lid closed, and I haven't seen a BSoD since I was running Windows '98. I've tried the diagnostics, but at this point I figure I'll give reformatting and reinstalling everything a shot before I call tech support again.

Anonymous said...

This storyline definitely takes place on New Earth. But just what the continuity of New Earth is still being clarified. The second issue of the storyline was great and im loving seeing the old legion.

Matthew E said...

It's odd, you know, that Johns would attempt to negotiate the minefield of adjusting the continuity of the original Legion in the face of massive fan attention, and seemingly come a-cropper on his portrayal of Superman. I couldn't have predicted that if you'd given me until 3007 to try.