Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Superman: The Journey Review (Mark Verheiden, Ed Benes)


Oh Superman, here you are again in another crappy book. Why’s it so durn tricky to write you a good storyline, eh?

Well, “storyline” isn’t quite the word for Superman: The Journey, the subtitle ironically being a mockery of the concept of a narrative. Because The Journey isn’t a story - it’s a mish-mash of random Superman issues from the Identity/Infinite Crisis era with no connection or point to any of it. It should be called Superman: The Stalled Journey That Ended Up in a Ditch.

In one issue Superman’s built his new Fortress of Solitude in the middle of the Peruvian jungle; in another he’s battling Bizarro in Metropolis; in another he’s fighting Omacs somewhere. I actually paused for a minute there to remember what this book was about - and I was paging through this book just before this review to remind myself what happened in it! It’s just that forgettable!

The issues are so random that there are blocks of text in between issues to inform the reader how we went from one story to the next and why Superman’s here and doing this. It’s that kind of book. Disjointed, messy, incoherent, pointless. 

The one takeaway you’ll get from The Journey is Ed Benes’ love of drawing all of the female characters like porn stars. Every female character has exposed midriffs, push-up bras with their cleavage popping out of their minimal clothing, the tightest shorts and the shortest skirts so he can frame them for butt shot after butt shot.

Some good examples of the sexist nature of this comic is the bedroom scene when Lois and Clark are standing around, Lois in a revealing nightie while Clark’s fully clothed. Later on Jimmy Olsen’s assistant Kelly is wearing a corset, microskirt, fishnets and stilettos while he’s wearing jeans and a shirt. When Superman’s fighting Bizarro, he’s shot from the sides, on top, from long-range; when Lois is battling an Omac, nearly every single shot shows off her bum, front and centre. The ones that don’t focus on her bewbs and midriff, and she’s always bending over or kneeling. 

It’s just crazy bad. I mean, Jimmy’s assistant wearing all that stripper stuff – that wasn’t at some nightclub, it was at work! What office anywhere allows that kind of “uniform” in the workplace - the porn version of The Daily Planet? It got so bad that in one panel where Lois and Kelly are walking in the rain, before I recognised them, I thought this was a side story starring a pair of hookers!

To be totally fair to Mark Verheiden, he writes Superman the character perfectly well. I don’t care for fascist psychopath Injustice Superman or dickhead Superman Earth One; I like classic Superman, and he’s definitely here in this book. It’s just such a shame he’s got nothing to do except rote Superman stuff. If there was a story rather than one non sequitur after the other, this might be a decent Superman book.

Instead Superman: The Journey is yet another depressing example of mainstream comics objectifying women. Sigh. The search for good Superman books continues....

Superman: The Journey

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