Another week, another installment of Adventures of Superman with Issue #4. Click the jump to see more.
Another week, another installment of Adventures of Superman, this time brought to us by the creative team of J.M. DeMatteis (writing), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouts) and the legendary Sal Buscema (finishes).
The real draw of this issue is Buscema’s art. “Our Pal Sal” is an industry legend, and his artwork evokes a sense of nostalgia and innocence that these stories have delivered thus far. Layouts are clean, if unspectacular – this is more due to the limitations of the digital format than Camuncoli’s work. I certainly enjoy seeing the classic Superman costume, and it looks really good here. Overall, the art is pretty enjoyable. On the writing side, I really enjoyed the voice DeMatteis gave Superman. While it is a little hokey, it is undeniably fitting for the character in this story.
Like the previous installments of Adventures of Superman, we’re given a standalone tale. And like the previous installments, this one requires a second read. DeMatteis turns the story on it’s head in the last few panels. It’s a clever twist that makes sense of some of the more questionable story elements – including the dialogue and the mystery character that is the focus of this story. However, unlike Issue #2 by Jeff Lemire (writer of Animal Man, Constantine), the implausibility of the scenario presented by DeMatteis causes the whole thing to fall flat. This story is more enjoyable upon a second read, but the quality and depth of the story should not demand one.
While I do like the voice that DeMatteis crafted for Superman in this story, a lot of the dialogue reminded me of a Dawson’s Creek episode – too philosophical and heavy-handed to sound genuine. Most readers understand that Superman is inspirational and represents the best of what we can be. Unfortunately, the writing chooses not to show us through Superman’s (or other character’s) actions, but rather by bludgeoning the reader with blunt statements like “you’re the embodiment of the very best in us.”
This is the first real disappointment from Adventures of Superman. Some pretty decent artwork can’t save the half-baked story presented here. The good news is that we only have to wait a week for another fresh take on the icon.