I've stuck with Superman through the thickest and the thinnest. As I've mentioned before, I've been buying every regular Superman title on the shelves since 1993. I've seen the demise of Adventures and Man of Steel, I've seen the rise and fall of Man of Tomorrow. I've read countless miniseries, from "Day of Doom" to "Metropolis" to "Superman's Nemesis Lex Luthor." I've stuck through good runs (Greg Rucka's incredible turn on Adventures, which got moderately derailed by various Crises) and bad (Steven T. Seagle's run on Superman, wherein every use of a superpower was accompanied by a caption naming said power). I can't tell you how many massive story arcs and crossovers and world-changing events I've seen (World Without a Superman, Fall of Metropolis, Trial of Superman, Final Night, DC One Million, Electric Superman, Our Worlds At War). I've been reading the New Krypton storyline, which excites me a great deal, and I'll be reading the Codename: Patriot storyline, which I'm not sure I could be less interested in.
In short, I can't think of many things that would cause me to actually drop a Superman book.
But I swear to Rao, if James Robinson kills Steel again, it might mean the end of my subscription to Superman1.
I've not been too impressed with Robinson's run so far. I haven't found too much to dislike specifically (though I can't recall if anyone's discussed yet what relationship the Science Police has with the Special Crimes Unit, and that bugs me), and hey, Mon-El, so there's at least some incentive for me to keep reading it, but there's nothing here that has blown me away like Starman did. Heck, that's a significant part of why I'm not buying "Cry for Justice"--not only has the JLA lost my interest recently (thanks, DC editorial!), but Robinson's recent work just hasn't done anything for me. That, and the art looks like it was done entirely with screenshots from "Mortal Kombat/DC Universe."
So really, Robinson's run is suffering from the crime of being mediocre. But this most recent turn, with the plot to kill Steel with Atlas...it bugs me. It bugs me because I really like John Henry Irons, and I'd like to see him be a major supporting character in the Superman books. It bugs me because there is a startling lack of people of color in the Superman family. It bugs me because this latest issue really had the feeling of greatness for awhile there. It took some shortcuts (all it took to shut up Fox News-style blowhard Morgan Edge was Jim Harper's word? Why hasn't anyone on the Science Police noticed Kent's absence?) but Mon-El's world-traveling superheroics, told in brief vignettes, were the stuff of genius. Every page could have been a full issue, if not a miniseries, and I would love to see someone explore those in greater detail. Heck, I'd do it for free.
So to end the issue with "by the way, Dr. Irons, you're worm food" left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I hope this is just the setup for (yet another) Crowning Moment of Awesome for Steel, but the current state of comics (and Robinson) have me concerned that it'll just be more fodder for Blackest Night.
1. In all honesty, it probably wouldn't. I'd stick it out just to see if it was some kind of stunt, but I'd be very cross about it. In other words, I'm a lying addict.