Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Superman vs. Aliens (1996)

Superman Vs. Aliens (1996): written and pencilled by Dan Jurgens; inked by Kevin Nowlan: 20 years ago, DC and Dark Horse put out this fairly nifty battle between Superman (still in his mullet phase) and the Alien film franchise. It was a time when the Kryptonian Supergirl was still gone from DC continuity. That fact explains much of the storyline, in which Superman responds to a distress signal from a domed city in space that appears to have once been part of Krypton. It comes complete with a spunky blonde girl named Kara who's pretty much the image, in appearance and name, of the pre-1987 Supergirl.

The story is a bit heavy on the then-continuity of the Superman comics, from the mullet to the absence of Lex Luthor from the storyline. Superman can't travel unaided through space for long at this point in his career, necessitating some technology help from LexCorp. Or LuthorCorp. Whatever. 

It's solid, unspectacular, and relatively unbloody fun. There's a bit too much harping on Superman's decision not to kill anything, including hordes of acid-blooded aliens. Is this a workable moral stance for the Man of Steel under the circumstances? Well, yes, but as written it relies an awful lot on other people killing aliens, which makes the moral stance seem awfully dubious, if not completely daft. A sin of omission rather than commission is still a sin.

Inker Kevin Nowlan makes the normally straightforward pencils of writer-penciller Dan Jurgens broody, moody, and intermittently menacing. It's a great job of inking in terms of establishing a tone a penciller isn't known for -- Nowlan did something similar with his inks on the sunny Jose Luis Garcia Lopez during the Marvel/DC crossover around the same time. Lightly recommended.

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