Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'Spider-Man': Threat or Menace?

By now you've probably heard about the disastrous Spider-Man musical's preview night, but it's still worth reading all the crazy crap that went wrong. At this point, I'm almost convinced that it's some big meta-joke, a budget-busting show about a character who lives paycheck-to-paycheck, a media disaster about a character who is loathed by the media, a threat to audiences and a menace to actors. I would be completely unsurprised if J. Jonah Jameson himself were bankrolling the project, sitting backstage and shouting "No, no, make him get stuck above the audience! I want him humiliated!" while chomping on a cigar.

Despite that, I've been getting into a Spider-Man mood lately. I picked up "Shattered Dimensions" on Black Friday, and it's gotten me back into watching "Spectacular Spider-Man" on Netflix. But at this point, I'm itching for some good modern Spidey comics, and I'd like to kind of stick to trades. I haven't been reading the Brand New Day era religiously or anything, but I've liked what I have read (BND volumes 1 & 3, "New Ways to Die," and the Mark Waid two-parter with the Shocker). So I'm looking for some recommendations: which current Spider-Man trades should I be picking up? What's the best of the best of the Brand New Day era? What should I avoid?

Incidentally, I'll spend the meantime reading Marvel Masterworks Spider-Man vol. 5, which finally just came out in paperback. I've been waiting for that since I was an undergrad. And I'm kind of shocked to see how Ditko-esque the early Romita style was. Definitely not what I was expecting.

Walking with Superman: Day 132

Baltimore, Maryland once had one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, but you'd never know that today. When Superman visits, he finds that front doors have been left unlocked, cars have been left running indefinitely in driveways, business owners have disconnected their security cameras, even traffic violations have stopped. The city is positively sparkling, and the people are incredibly friendly, without the slightest hint of fear or distrust or aggression. But when the Man of Steel discovers that the source of this sea change is the aggression-modulating Mother Box that once belonged to Orion, he's faced with a dilemma: leave the otherworldly device and allow Baltimore to remain an idyllic--but compulsory--paradise, or remove it and give the citizens back their freedom, but condemn them to their previous vices.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 131

It rarely snows in San Antonio, Texas, but it's a veritable winter wonderland when Superman comes to town. The whole city has been shut down by a freak ice storm, and it's definitely not of natural origin. Killer Frost, Captain Cold, and Icicle have joined forces to hold San Antonio hostage, and until their demands are met, they rule the streets. Superman plans to put their snowy reign to an end, but he's not the only one. Mr. Freeze wants a piece of the action--the biggest piece--and he's willing to put the competition on ice in order to get it! Can Superman save the deep south from this deep freeze, or will his death be merely the icing on the cake?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 130

Racetrack Playa is a region in Death Valley National Park, where stones slide mysteriously across the ground, carving tracks into the dry lake bed without any apparent propulsion. Several mechanisms have been hypothesized for the rocks' movements, but none have been definitively confirmed. But geologists have stepped up their observations in recent years, noting that the once apparently aimless tracks have been converging. Today, for the first time, three of the stones are expected to collide, and Superman plans to observe the event alongside the scientists. But when he lands, the stones become a lot more active! Not merely three, but dozens of the sailing stones lift into the air and collide with one another, changing shape and taking on a familiar, if shrunken, form. Years ago, when Superman had been split into a pair of energy beings, he sacrificed himself to save the world from three giants intent on remaking it. Now, standing before him, smaller but no less recognizable, is Cabraca, one of those three giants, reconstituted from the sailing stones of Racetrack Playa! The relentless mountain destroyer has returned to finish the job it started years ago, and its first goal is to kill Superman!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 129

A massive, unprecedented earthquake rocks the Eastern seaboard, and the epicenter is just north of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Investigators at the site discover a previously hidden cave opening, marked with warnings written in 17th-century English and bearing the seal of Plymouth Colony. The traveling Superman is asked to investigate, and what he finds is nothing short of amazing. Deep beneath the Earth, he finds a cavern lit by ancient torches, and two strange men--one, an unconscious Native American giant, the other, a rugged-looking European straining to hold a cracking, crumbling stone seal down over a dark pit. Superman revives the giant and assists the European, and he listens to their tale: a spawn of the Devil, like Leviathan, which dogged the Mayflower on its journey toward the New World. A teacher named Samuel Goodman thrown overboard, who tried to kill the creature and was blessed with strength and vigor beyond that of average men. On another shore, an evil spirit which spread corrupting illness which consumed even healthy warriors from within and made them into monsters. A legendary hero called Maushop who could battle the strange horror. Then, when ship met shore, two evils became one, and in the following winter they claimed hundreds of lives. So two brave warriors from two very different cultures locked it away in this cave and have guarded it ever since. But they are growing older, though neither truly shows it, and their nemesis has only become stronger. It is breaking through the seal; in its last assault, it was even able to overpower strong Maushop and shake the very foundation of the Earth. No longer can the beast be contained only by these centuries-old heroes. Superman stands alongside them, but if they cannot stop the thing beneath Plymouth once and for all, then America may be utterly destroyed by a horror from its earliest days!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 128

In Brightest Day, in Blackest...Friday? It's the biggest shopping day of the year, and at the biggest shopping center in America, that means enormous crowds of bargain-hunters looking for a head start on the holidays. To some people, that scenario sounds hellish, but it's music to Larfleeze's ears! The one and only Orange Lantern has come to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, to bask in the glory of unfettered capitalism. Unfortunately for him, the outpouring of greed all around him seems to have put his lantern in a giving mood! Suddenly the thousands of early-morning shoppers have become an Orange Lantern Corps, fighting over sale items with some of the most powerful weapons in the universe. Even Superman is overwhelmed by the crowds, and so he decides to fight power ring with power ring by calling in Green Lantern John Stewart! But will one ring be enough to stop a horde of orange hoarders? Or will space-cop Stewart need to take a Deputy of Steel?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 127

Clark Kent returns home to Smallville to help Ma with the cooking for their big Thanksgiving dinner. Lois and Lana fly in from Metropolis, along with Lana's niece Linda, and Conner even brings his friend Lori over. Everyone settles in for a nice, calm, home-cooked meal...until a knock on the door brings an unexpected party crasher! On the doorstep, bloody and disoriented, and crackling with strange energy, is Lex Luthor. The Kent clan takes him in, but what brought him to Smallville? Why is he in such a terrible state? What do you suppose will happen when his former Vice President stops by? This year at the Kent farm, the turkey comes with a heaping side of drama!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 126

Superman heads back to Earth, re-energized by the quick dip in the sun that purged him of his fusion-induced abilities, and hoping to resume his visit to Pennsylvania. But he's not coming back alone. Something was born in those roiling cosmic flames, forged from solar plasma and the strange radiation that generated Superman's new powers, from Kryptonian biological material and the Eradicator's sense of self-preservation, nuclear power given shape and flesh. It flies toward Earth, drawn by its connection to Superman and the exotic energies that gave it life. And when it feels the familiar resonance of the repaired, reactivated Three-Mile Island fusion reactor, it knows that its yearning for that energy could be sated indefinitely. It's up to Superman to stop this superpowered menace, before it uses the fusion generator to become a demigod. Can the Man of Steel stop this Nuclear Man in time to prevent him from raining atomic death across the Eastern Seaboard?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 125

A nuclear accident has given Superman a host of new powers, but the side effects are killer! If Superman doesn't find a way to stop his body from emitting deadly amounts of radiation, his heroic career--and life as he knows it--will be over! He's transported carefully to the S.T.A.R. Labs facility in Pittsburgh, PA, where they've brought in an expert on Kryptonian physiology and exotic energy: the Eradicator! His diagnosis is dire; the only way to cure Kal-El's condition is to radically reboot his solar cells. Unfortunately, that means intense exposure to Kryptonite followed by direct, unfiltered sunlight, making this one of very few medical treatments which requires sending the patient in a rocket toward the sun! But when Superman's radiation damages the guidance system, it begins to looks like his exposure to the sun will be a lot more direct!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well, there goes any hope I had for the Superman reboot.

I had reservations about Zack Snyder as the director of the new Superman movie, seeing as I didn't really care for "Watchmen" or "300," and I certainly don't care for that style of CGI rendering that makes everything look like plastic and every background look like a matte painting. But I had high hopes, thinking that Warner might be learning from the successes of films like "The Dark Knight" and "Iron Man," and learning from the mistakes of "Jonah Hex" and even "Superman Returns." After all, with Christopher Nolan shepherding the project, it seemed like little could go wrong.

Unfortunately, if this is true, it looks like Snyder has left the pasture.

Where to begin? Matthew Goode wasn't bulky enough to play Adrian Veidt, let alone Clark Kent. He doesn't look terrible as a possible Clark in the shot on the Superman Homepage there, but I just don't see the presence. Plus, I have a hard time imagining someone who played the Veidt role as slimy as Goode did doing a decent job as wholesome farmboy Clark Kent.

But then, suggesting that Superman would be some CGI-enhanced actor? That's asinine. Let's leave aside the matter that Clark doesn't actually undergo any physical change when becoming Superman. We've seen a variety of actors convincingly (some more than others) make the shift from Clark to Superman just by changing their mannerisms, voice, stature, and so forth. A competent actor with the right physical presence should be able to do that job. I don't see how it would be wise or necessary to take an actor who lacks that physical presence and/or competence and try to shore all that up with CGI. The only reason to go such a route is if suddenly there were no more tall, muscular male actors in the world. And even then, there's Brandon Routh.

So hopefully this rumor is just a rumor, and will go precisely the same way as the Riddler's role in "Dark Knight Rises." If not...well, then I might find myself hoping that this goes the way of "Superman Lives" and Nic Cage's CGI-suited Superman.

On the other hand, the same page has this information about a casting call, which suggests a much larger pool of potential stars. It doesn't exactly rule out Goode, but it offers some room for hope.

Walking with Superman: Day 124

Three Mile Island was the site of the most significant nuclear accident in American history, but that hasn't stopped the technicians and researchers from trying to develop new ways of producing clean, sustainable energy. Today, they're activating a new experimental fusion generator. If successful, the mass production of such devices could end the world's energy crisis and make fossil fuels obsolete. Unfortunately for the workers at Three-Mile Island, Terra-Man is determined to show the world the environmental dangers of nuclear power, even if he has to manufacture the danger himself! He sabotages the fusion generator, hoping to make history repeat itself with far deadlier results! Superman intervenes, and though he's able to prevent a nuclear disaster and capture Terra-Man, there are some unexpected side-effects. Superman's body absorbed the fusion radiation as though it were sunlight, and it's changing him in unpredictable ways! But while Superman tries to handle his new powers, the plant staff are trying to handle the deadly radiation emanating from his body!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 123

When Superman arrives in Fawcett City, Indiana, the sense of despair is almost palpable. He searches for the town's noted protectors, but only finds an exhausted Mary Marvel, struggling to keep up with the negativity that seems to have settled into the once-vibrant city, particularly around William H. Parker High School. She explains to Superman that the past few weeks have seen a sharp rise in bullying, violence, STDs, and attempted suicides at the high school, that everyone seems to be on-edge and aggressive or listless and empty. Even Billy and Freddy have fallen into this malaise, apparently forgetting their powers entirely. She's been putting out literal and figurative fires all across the city for days, seemingly the only person who hasn't succumbed to this contagious attitude, but even the stamina of Atlas has its limits. She emplores Superman to help her find the source of this oppressive darkness and stop it from completely consuming Fawcett City!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Recent Snafus

If you're the kind of person who follows this blog through a feed reader, or if you're checking here every day promptly at noon for the latest installment of "Walking with Superman," then you may have noticed that this week has been a shaky one for the feature. Thursday's post was late by 50 minutes or so, today the post changed dramatically at one o'clock, and now you might be thinking "there he goes again, Tom's going to flame out on yet another promise. Yet another series of posts is going to go the way of Black History Month and Blue Prints and Fridays with Freakazoid and Silverhawks Sunday."

Not so, faithful reader. It's true that this week has been a tough one, but it's only through my stupidity (and a cold I appear to be catching, and a general lack of sleep). I accidentally scheduled Friday's post to appear on Thursday--which wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't specifically filled it with details to commemorate hitting the 1/3 mark on Friday. The post that hit at noon today was initially going to be today's post, but after I tweaked the following posts and my basic ideas quite a bit, I decided to push it back to Monday. Unfortunately, I swapped the titles and timestamps on the posts, and the rough Monday post appeared today. I've corrected the error, but not before people got that ugly look at how the "Walking with Superman" sausage is made.

I'm not out of ideas or time yet, ladies and gents. And I've got some big plans as we get into the next year. I'm working this weekend on getting ahead of where I'm at, and that'll give me a little more buffer as we get into the season of holidays and certain bloggers' impending weddings.

But hey, you know what would be a real non-denominational holiday miracle would be to have a few more comments on these posts. I'd continue doing it until the end even if I didn't receive a single comment from here on out, but it sure would be cool to have a bit of feedback, or even some buzz on some of those big ol' comic news websites. That would be totally awesome.

Finally, since the movie came out this weekend and all, something else that's unauthorized and totally awesome:

Walking with Superman: Day 122

Superman's not the only one in demand on his cross-country tour. Award-winning journalist Clark Kent has been invited to speak to a group of graduate students in the Print and Digital News program at the Missouri School of Journalism. What started off as a lecture and discussion about modern investigative journalism became an experiential learning course when the campus went into full lockdown! Clark tries to find out the reason for the emergency procedures, but when several journalism students accompany him, they get a hands-on lesson in embedded reporting and grace under pressure! After the dust settles at Mizzou, will Clark and his students be writing the headlines...or listed in them?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 121

Superman visits Ft. Wayne, Indiana during the Three Rivers Festival, joining in the festivities and marching in the Opening Day Parade. But trouble comes in threes at the intersection of the Maumee, the St. Joseph, and the St. Marys, when Troika comes to town! She's a Carggian from the 30th Century, a member of the Legion of Substitute Super-Villains, and killing Superman would be her ticket into the major leagues! But she's armed with more than just Tri-Jitsu; each of her bodies has a different Kryptonian-killing superpower! One can project any kind of Kryptonite radiation, one can generate and control solar energy, and the third can draw upon 5th Dimensional magic! Superman stares three kinds of death in the face and makes his last stand at the Summit City!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 120

Superman visits Aspen, Colorado, where he meets Mountain Man and Yeti, superpowered agents of the crimefighting agency B.I.G.H.O.R.N.! The Rocky Mountains' premier defenders take Superman on a tour of the region, from B.I.G.H.O.R.N.'s mountaintop headquarters to the posh ski lodges, from the Art Museum to the secret reptilian city hidden inside Castle Peak. But the heroes' pleasant journey is suddenly cut short when they're ambushed by the snowboarding ninjas of Black Diamond! The sinister skiers have acquired a techno-seed from beyond the stars, and plan to use its transformative power to awaken their wintry avatar, the towering ice-demon called Avalanche! Can Superman and his newfound allies stop this calamitous cult before they unleash a frozen hell across the Earth?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 119

Predatory lending takes on a whole new meaning in Laurinburg, NC! Scotland County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, so when a loan negotiator came to town promising to solve everyone's problems, many jumped at the chance. And when it turned out that Mr. Hamlin offered not just money, but the fulfillment of their deepest wishes and desires, the people called it a miracle. Soon, the citizens of Laurinburg were living lives of fame and fortune, of timeless youth and preternatural beauty and eternal love. But now the loans are coming due, and it turns out there were some unexpected fees hidden in the fine print: sacrifices, souls, children. Those who can't--or won't--pay the premiums are faced with repossession and foreclosure on their lives! Desperation leads them to Superman, but though he can bend steel in his bare hands, is he strong enough to break an ironclad contract?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 118

The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., is looking to expand its three buildings with a fourth--dimension! Using bleeding-edge tesseract technology, the world's largest library would ensure that it had limitless space well into the future, allowing them to archive without end. Superman leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony, but that's when everything goes horribly wrong! A malfunction in the tesseract generator folds spacetime in on itself, trapping Superman in a bizarre infinite library containing every book that could possibly be written! Now the Man of Steel's only chance of escaping these lonely endless stacks lies in finding the book that explains how to get out! Better start reading, Superman!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Doomsday will Purple Rain

So, Doomsday is coming back. When the "Doomsday WIll Reign" teaser first broke, I rolled my eyes. Doomsday has existed for around eighteen years at this point, and yet he already feels played out. It's really a function of what Doomsday is, specifically that he doesn't have much depth. He started as an unintelligent, unstoppable force, designed (by the writers) to kill Superman. His second story gave him an origin (which, despite its terrible mangling of evolution, I don't really have many problems with), and his third story made him basically into DC's version of The Destroyer. After that, he showed up a few more times, but as far as I'm concerned the last Doomsday story that needed to be told was in "Superman" #175, where the Man of Steel finally confronted the now-intelligent monster, handily defeated him, and told him in no uncertain terms that he no longer feared him. And, of course, stories have since been told about Doomsday, none of them particularly good. So I was all ready to come into this post full of sighs and snarkiness about DC dredging up Doomsday for no good reason, rehashing old stories, and failing to let Superman have even a few months go by when his titles aren't embroiled in one crossover stunt or another.

But then I actually read the solicitations, and there's no Superman to be found. Instead, this "Reign of Doomsday" storyline seems to be starting in a "Steel" one-shot, then continuing in "Outsiders" (featuring the Eradicator), "Justice League of America" (featuring Supergirl), "Superboy," and some fifth to-be-announced title. And that actually intrigues me. Doomsday's not fighting Superman this time around, instead apparently going after the Superman Family, three of whom showed up as a result of Doomsday's first appearance (and Steel's origin is a direct result of Doomsday's attack). I wouldn't be surprised if the fifth book were "Green Lantern Corps" or a Cyborg Superman one-shot, but I also wouldn't be shocked to see "Adventure Comics" or "Legion of Super-Heroes" in that slot. Despite facing the JLA and Matrix/Supergirl early on, the vast majority of Doomsday's battles have been with Superman. It'll be quite interesting to see how the rest of the Superman family deals with Doomsday.

So interesting, in fact, that I'll be purchasing comics written by Dan Didio and James Robinson to find out.

You win this time, DC Comics.

Walking with Superman: Day 117

The Shalako School of Enlightenment outside Yelm, Washington, is often dismissed as a cult, trading in new-age nonsense to gullible people with disposable income. Founder B.X. Squires maintains otherwise, claiming that she truly can channel the spirit of a 10,000-year-old Atlantean warrior mystic named Shalako, and that her school actually teaches his benevolent wisdom--for a fee, of course. Now, as part of a fraud investigation, Squires' alleged ability is being tested by a team of relevant experts: magician and sorceress Zatanna Zatara, skeptical investigator and "ghost breaker" Dr. Terrence Thirteen, and Metropolis University's professor of Atlantean history, David Petersen. The event has drawn considerable publicity, including coverage by the Daily Planet's esteemed reporter Clark Kent. As the test begins, Squires settles into her usual trance, but things get a bit unusual when she actually summons an ancient Atlantean spirit! Unfortunately for everyone, she isn't channeling Shalako or any other benevolent spirit; instead, she's latched onto Gamemnae, the lethal sorceress who once absorbed Zatanna and impaled Superman! It took two Justice Leagues to take her down last time, and now the only thing standing between her and world domination are two superheroes and a parapsychologist!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 116

The Cowboy of Steel has come to Ione, NV, to take down the corrupt politician at the top, but the townsfolk don't take too kindly to strangers. Superman's going to have an uphill battle if he hopes to free these innocent people from the Mad Hatter's maniacal mind control! But why is Tetch even allowing him to mix with the citizens? What does he gain from kidnapping people to become involuntary historical reenactors? There's more to the Hatter's plans than meet the eye, and Superman aims to find out just what it is. Along the way, he'll have to eat in, speak out, saddle up, and showdown! There ain't room in this town for both Superman and the Mad Hatter, and one of them will only be leaving in chains.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 115

Ione, Nevada was a boomtown, springing up around a silver mining trade in 1863. By 1864, it was the county seat, with more than a hundred buildings and six hundred residents. But other cities grew nearby, while the silver mines dried up. Aside from a brief resurgence due to nearby mercury mines, the town has been in a steady decline for the last century. Today, Ione is basically a ghost town, populated with ruins proclaiming the glory days of the distant past.

At least, that's what Superman expected when he planned his trip through the city. What he found instead was a bustling town straight out of the old west. If not for the evidence of modern orthodontia and medicine among the citizens and the strange circuitry woven seamlessly into everyone's headgear, the Man of Steel might have thought he'd been sent back in time. But the unmistakable clues instead lead him to the office of Mayor Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter! Unfortunately for Superman and the oblivious townsfolk, victory won't come easily--any attempt to disable the circuitry or break the 19th century illusion or attack the Hatter himself would trigger a deadman's switch, terminating every last resident. If Superman hopes to save the innocent townsfolk, then he's going to have to play along with the Mad Hatter's twisted pageant. And so a stranger checks into the Ione Inn, with a mind set on bringing a new law to the town!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 114

A few years ago, a portion of San Diego fell into the ocean, taking with it thousands of residents, who would have died if an induced genetic mutation hadn't made them into water-breathers. For a time, Aquaman protected the region, dubbed "Sub Diego" by its residents, until he was able to raise most of it above the waves and restore the populace. But hundreds were left behind even then, joined by many refugees from various disasters that affected Atlantis. When Aquaman disappeared for so long, they were left without any defense against the ocean wilderness. Now, Superman's journey brings him to the frontier town of Sub Diego, where the residents have found a new savior in the form of the sorcerer Ronal! His shape-altering enchantments have made him a hero to the undersea denizens, but Superman fears that Ronal's motivations are less altruistic than they seem.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Superboy's Age

An amusing post over at Thoughtballoons poses the question of Superboy's age, which is kind of an interesting nexus of problems that only comic book characters face. To wit:
  1. Superboy is a clone who emerged fully-formed from his test tube, physically sixteen years old when he was 'born.'
  2. Several years in real-time, and an unknown amount of comic book time, passed, during which Superboy learned that he would not age beyond 16.
  3. In the "Sins of Youth" crossover, Superboy was artificially aged, then restored, but this (as I recall) fixed his inability to grow older.
  4. A few years in real time, and an unknown amount of comic book time, passed, and Superboy was taken one thousand years into the future, where he spent several months of real time and an unknown amount of comic book time with the Legion.
  5. Superboy returned to the present, around the same time that he left.
  6. A few years in real time, and an unknown amount of comic book time, passed, and Superboy died.
  7. Superboy's corpse was placed into a sort of suspended animation/regeneration matrix, where it remained for a thousand years of comic book time and a year or two of real time.
  8. After that thousand years or so, Superboy was revived by a different Legion of Super-Heroes, and he returned to the present.
So how old is Superboy? A few years? Nearly eighteen? That, plus a thousand?

In any case, I imagine he and Bart Allen have quite a lot to talk about. Frankly, they've got so much in common that I think we ought to see a lot more of Conner and Bart hanging out than Conner and Tim.

Walking with Superman: Day 113

Theodosia Burr, the daughter of Vice President and accused traitor Aaron Burr, was widely considered a brilliant, highly-educated woman at a time when such traits were not always viewed positively. It's little surprise, then, that Burr kept the true extent of her intellect secret, even from her friends and confidants. Theo Burr had a keen interest in natural philosophy, and became fascinated with samples of meteoric metal that were heavier than they seemed and gave off the most curious warmth. As she studied them, she discovered that thoughts and ideas came more easily than they had before, and she had periodic glimpses of people and objects nearly beyond her comprehension. These strange visions spurred her studies onward like never before, and she found herself building strange devices in secret that would rival any of the creations of misters Franklin or Volta. Indeed, she sought to test her most ambitious device onboard the ship Patriot on the eve of the New Year in 1812--and neither she nor anyone else on the ship was ever seen again.

Until today. Patriot finally returns to Georgetown, South Carolina, nearly two hundred years after it left port--not that it would be recognizable anymore. The schooner has become a time-vessel, sailing through history under her captain, Theo Burr--Temporal Adventuress! She has returned to her home state, if not her home time, pursuing her time-traveling nemesis, time-trekking treasure-hunter Percy Fawcett! But what is Fawcett's goal this time, and why does Theo need Superman's help to stop him? No matter what the answer, it's sure to be a team-up for the ages!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gonna fly now

I'm as free as a bird nowYou may have heard that J. Michael Straczynski is more or less leaving "Superman" and "Wonder Woman" to focus on the next "Superman: Earth One" book. Meanwhile, Chris Roberson of "iZombie" fame and Phil Hester of "Green Arrow" and "The Darkness" will be taking over writing duties on those two titles.

You probably know how I feel about all this.

I like JMS, I really do. I've enjoyed his work on everything from "Real Ghostbusters" to "Babylon 5" to "Amazing Spider-Man" to "Thor." There have often been things I disliked, even strongly (cf. "The Other"), but in general, I've enjoyed his writing. His work on "Superman," however, has been awful. And while I didn't much care for "Superman: Earth One," it was a whole lot better than "Grounded." I'd even be willing to pick up the sequel to "Earth One," to see where the story goes, and in the hope that it would be a less redundant story than "Superman's origin, take fifty-seven."

I've been buying "iZombie," but after the first issue (due to that whole comic shop closing dealie) it kind of ended up on my "to be read" pile, and I haven't caught up. But given the excitement over his work by people I generally trust, I'm pretty excited to see him taking over "Superman." Sure, he's using Straczynski's story notes, but I'll be the first to admit that there's some potential in the conceit of "Grounded." The main problems with the story have all been with the characterization and other details, not so much with the basic plots.

Regarding "Wonder Woman," I've never actually read anything that Phil Hester has written, and frankly, it's unlikely that I'll be resubscribing to WW for the remainder of JMS's new-status-quo story. Somewhere under six issues of "iZombie" on my "to be read" pile is the first issue of JMS's "Wonder Woman," which I have never quite gotten around to reading, and which doesn't really excite me enough to seek it out. Depending on how it looks and what I hear, though, Hester's involvement may be enough to get me to check it out in trade, and I certainly hope it does well and he gets the chance to stay on the title beyond the fill-in work.

By the way, the best take on this news is right here.

As for me, I'm going to keep chronicling my own version of Superman's trek across the country. I'm almost a third of the way through; how could I stop now?

Walking with Superman: Day 112

When Superman visited the 14th Century on a mission for Thor, he and his viking allies imprisoned the wounded Frost Giant deep beneath Lake Superior. But when conditions are right at the lake, the Giant stirs, trying to escape its ancient bonds. It came closest on November 10, 1975, when hurricane-force winds swept across the lake during a terrible winter storm. In its thrashing, the giant managed to sink a freighter, and the legend of that wreck lives on. The lake, it is said, never gives up its dead, but today it will give up its imprisoned! Chill winds blow over Lake Superior, and the jötunn imprisoned therein has finally loosed his bonds. The giant wants revenge, and if he cannot take it from the Aesir and their brood, then he will take it from Superman!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 111

Memory Lane is like a slice of the past, preserved in a privately-owned valley in Rogersville, TN. The small 1950s-style replica town is only typically open on Memorial Day, but lately it's been a little more active. Memory Lane is growing in both size and population, thanks to the nefarious nostalgiamancer who has taken up the mantle of the new Mad Mod! It's Mod rule on Memory Lane, as innocents are assimilated into the fantasy, adding to the villain's power. Superman steps in, but before he can defeat the Mad Mod, he's going to have to make it through The Pack--Peekaboo! Darci! The Folded Man! Johnny Angel!--Mad Mod's 50s-themed team of superpowered enforcers! Will Superman be able to stop the badnik beatnik, or will Rogersville become a permanent sock-hop?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 110

The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower atop the Rockwell Automation building is the largest of its kind in the western hemisphere, keeping time for much of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It's also a prime target for Temple Fugate, the Clock King! Armed with a device that can manipulate the local passage of time, Clock King hijacks the tower, using it to amplify and direct the temporal effect. Police officers are reduced to infants, SWAT teams become geriatric, the National Guard, eerily frozen in place, and an entire city held hostage. Massachusetts' Governor asks the visiting Superman to intervene, but what can he do against someone with complete control over time?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 109

Plymouth Rock has been shattered. Superman's visit to Plymouth, Massachusetts, comes at a time of shock and outrage over the symbolic attack. But when a weakened and wounded Uncle Sam calls on the Man of Steel for help, it becomes clear that this was more than mere vandalism. A magical strike broke the cornerstone of American history, and without it, the past is collapsing. Sam drafts Superman into service and, with his last bit of strength, shields him from the changes to the timeline. Now, with the world changing around him, Superman must find a way to save America--before it ceases to exist entirely!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 108

The Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL, has long been at the forefront of particle physics in the United States. A current experiment with tachyons promises to make the lab even more cutting-edge, by allowing the researchers to get a glimpse of what the facility will look like in the future. But when that image of labs to come shows a smoldering crater where northeast Illinois used to be, the scientists call in Superman for assistance. Superman puts all his investigative skills to work to solve the disaster before it happens, but in trying to avert the destruction, might he end up causing it?

Friday, November 05, 2010

A penny for the old doc

Remember, remember, the fifth of November:
Capacitors, insights, and Doc.
He came to unravel the key to time travel
By falling while hanging a clock.

Walking with Superman: Day 107

A shape-shifting alien parasite turned extreme sports champion Zak Wheeler into the skateboarding superhero Kickflip, but professional disgrace and personal disillusionment have led him back to Newport, Rhode Island, to live in obscurity. But a visit from Superman makes Wheeler nostalgic about their one brief team-up years ago, and he seeks out the Man of Steel for advice on life after being a superhero. The meeting goes a bit off the rails, though, when a celestial entity shows up for Krypton's last son! Wheeler dusts off his cybernetic skateboard and nanotech-enhanced BMX bike, but when the threat is an ancient, world-destroying colossus, what use is a guy who can skate really well?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 106

Clark Kent is on the lam in the Mountain State! Wanted for the attempted assassination of the President, Kent has mysteriously disappeared without a trace--even Superman can't seem to find him! But as the Secret Service digs deeper into Clark Kent's life, Superman fears that his secrets may soon be revealed. And when the trail appears to have gone cold, the investigators call in their own superheroes: the Special Operations unit of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Agents of Liberty! The noose is closing around Clark Kent; if Superman doesn't clear his name soon, he's going to have to find a new one!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 105

The President is holding a patriotic rally in Charleston, West Virginia, and he's invited Superman to share the stage with him. But when an attempted assassination nearly cuts down the Commander in Chief, suspicion falls on reporter Clark Kent, who was mysteriously absent from his place in the Press Box at the time of the shooting. Superman's caught between his duty to assist the Secret Service in their investigation, his need to keep his secrets safe, and his quest to find the real killer! And when the would-be assassin learns of the primary suspect, Clark Kent's life suddenly becomes a lot more dangerous!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 104

Every year, Los Atómicos travel Otero Mesa in southern New Mexico, where they gather with their allies and enemies from both sides of the border. Feuds and rivalries are forgotten as the heroes and villains set up a banquet table and construct a simple wrestling ring. Over a ceremonial feast, they tell stories of lost friends, allies, and mentors, reminiscing over their colorful history. And every year, many of those fallen colleagues join them at the banquet--and in the ring. This year, Los Atómicos have invited Superman to join their celebration, and he eagerly accepts. But what departed souls will join the Man of Steel at the table? Will his visit finally break the traditional peace?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Walking with Superman: Day 103

Clark Kent's Metropolis University classmate Loretta York is running for the U.S. Senate in Delaware, and Superman must stop her at all costs! What strange circumstances would cause Superman to subvert the political process? The answer lies in the Secret Treaty of Oblivion, signed by President Martin Van Buren in 1838. Van Buren was the last President descended from Homo Magi, and during his political career helped defend the Union from three separate attempts to overthrow it through dark magic. Meeting at the Oblivion Public House on mystically neutral ground, he signed a treaty with leaders from all the ancient orders of magic, ensuring that the government would be protected from magical influences, and only the consensual will of the people could remove such a protection. Nearly two centuries later, and Loretta York is campaigning on her history as the Yellow Peri, and promising to use her magical powers to end the gridlock in Washington. What she doesn't realize--and what Superman has just learned--is that her election might open the floodgates to any warlock or wizard with aspirations of national conquest! Can the Man of Steel change the course of a mighty electorate? Will Loretta York bow out gracefully? And why does Superman have the strangest feeling that things might be even worse if her opponent, media mogul Colin Thornton, takes the office?