Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Rocketeers, Hellblazers, and Super-sons
The only down side? This is only the first part of a year-long story, and ends on something of a cliffhanger. Leonardo Manco's art is suitably moody and impressionistic, though his lay-outs sometimes become a bit confusing. That may not be his fault, as non-comic-book writers often have trouble early on in their comic-writing careers describing sensible lay-outs. Nonetheless, enjoyable and sharply observed horror, with just enough of Constantine's acerbic cynicism. Recommended.
Superman and Batman: The Saga of the Super-sons: written by Bob Haney with Denny O'Neil; illustrated by Dick Dillin, Curt Swan, Ernie Chan, Rich Buckler, Kieron Dwyer, and others (1974-1980, 1999; collected 2013): Once upon a time in the 1970's, DC Comics posited an alternate timeline in which Superman and Batman had teen-aged sons who themselves had started haltingly into the family business of crime-fighting. And lo, it was groovy.
I mean, really groovy. Writer Bob Haney never got a grip on the speech patterns of youth culture, but that never stopped him from trying here or on Teen Titans. The art by Justice League of America mainstay Dick Dillin was solid, as it always was from him, with some able fill-ins by Curt Swan and Ernie Chan. Superman and Batman Jr. just wanted to find their own way in life. So they set out across America. And then they didn't. And then they set out across America again.
Well, the whole picaresque, Easy Rider bit does stop and start a bit. Nonetheless, there are some solid stories here, and they are, generally, 'fun,' which is more than I can say for most modern comic books. If nothing else, this is the series in which, inexplicably and jarringly, Superman starts referring to everyone as "fellers" for a couple of issues. Getting in touch with his rural past, I guess.
DC caught the continuity bug late in the 1970's, leading to a nonsensical story which eliminates the Super-sons from 'existence' in fairly brutal fashion. A 1999 story restores them to their rightful writer, Haney, and suggests that they're still out there somewhere, as this year's Grant Morrison-penned universe-hopping series apparently will also establish. Groovy indeed. Recommended.