Tug's Pick of the Week

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #627 — Click for a Larger ImageAdventures of
Superman #627

Superman is easily the most recognizable and most loved super-hero ever created.  He has leapt his way over tall buildings and into the hearts of pop culture with a single bound.  So you would think that would mean that his comics were the best, right?  Wrong.

Truth be told, I haven’t really loved any of the core Superman comics for the past few years.  Sure, there have been some great issues scattered here and there, but the titles themselves have changed hands and crossed over back and forth so much that consistently good Superman titles were few and far between.  So when DC announced that all the books were getting major overhauls, including solid, non-shifting creative teams, it was quite a relief.  And when they announced Greg Rucka would be writing one of these titles, it was a cause for celebration.

Adventures of Superman # 627 begins Rucka’s run on the book with penciller Matthew Clark.  This is the second time Rucka has shown up in a "Pick of the Week," the first being issue # 200 of his incredible run on Wonder Woman.  This is something of a hat trick for Rucka, as well, because it means he is writing DC’s Big Three concurrently — Superman in Adventures, Wonder Woman in her aforementioned book, and Batman in Batman: Death and the Maidens.

The big problem with writing super-heroes like the Big Three is that they are so — well, super that they can sometimes come across as stale.  Rucka’s approach in the past has been to show the heroes through the eyes of the people around them.  For instance, in Wonder Woman, we see more of the day-to-day operations of the Themyscirian Embassy than we do of the Amazon princess beating up people.  And in Gotham Central, Batman hardly even appears, although it is very obviously a book with close ties to the character.  Rucka’s Adventures of Superman looks to be more of the same approach.  Since Pulitzer Prize-winning Clark Kent has now been demoted to the Metropolis crime beat, the story revolves around his career as a journalist, as well as his activities as the Man of Steel.  It also looks like Lois and her career will be a big part of Rucka’s book.  There’s an incredible scene with her and Perry White that really shows why Lois is so good at her job (and why Rucka is so good at his).

Matthew Clark’s pencils are a fine fit for the book.  His Superman is impressively majestic while maintaining a realism that matches the tone of the story.  Looking at this issue, I think Clark needs some work on his storytelling skills, but I’m sure that after a couple of issues, his style will have completely settled into the book and we will see him do some truly great work.

The best thing about this book (and all of Rucka’s work) is that the characters and situations are as much realistic as they are fantastic.  There are no Silver Age throwbacks and no crazy-looking battlesuits.  This is the Superman book for people who are more interested in an engaging story than nostalgia for stories that have already been told.  In a nutshell, it’s just what this franchise needs.

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