Friday, 12 December 2014

Superman: Godfall Review (Michael Turner, Joe Kelly)

Superman’s been brainwashed, shrunk and placed into the bottled city of Kandor where he awakens with an alien wife and son. In his new reality, he’s Kal, a father and bureaucrat within Kryptonian government. That is until the day some Akira-type biker gangs try killing him and he discovers he has unknown strength – superpowers! 

Godfall is a very dull middle piece of a larger Superman story. How Superman got brainwashed/shrunk happened to take place in a previous book (not sure which one but I haven’t read it, though several pages of text are provided to catch you up if you’re interested – I wasn’t) and what follows after concludes in the pages of Chuck Austen’s Action Comics run. We’re introduced to the dreadful Kryptonian cop Preus whose character Austen managed to completely mangle by making him totally psychotic in the even worse Superman book In The Name of Gog, before some guy (probably a pseudonym) called JD Finn put him to rest. 

I suppose if you wondered what Kryptonian city life was like, this might be vaguely interesting though it’s more a visual feel than anything insightful. The Kryptonian armour the guards wear might’ve served as inspiration for the kind worn in the Man of Steel movie as they look similar but that’s not a great reason to read this. 

So we watch as Kal slowly realises he’s Superman and that he’s in Kandor, in a bottle, on Brainiac’s ship. It’s a slow, uninteresting process before he escapes and grows big again (how did he do that again?) and then fights an alien witch called Lyla who stole his powers and also refuses to wear pants - another great character design, DC! 

I didn’t understand Lyla’s character at all. One minute she’s pretending to be Superman’s wife, the next she’s stealing his powers, then she’s trying to replace Superman? Where did she come from? Was she in Kandor the whole time? Did she know Kal was Superman all along or only when he was exposed to the sun’s rays? Why would she want to rule Metropolis? She and Brainiac were fighting so they weren’t in cahoots – so what was the plan for Superman? Hope he would remain clueless as to who he was? What a baffling, poorly written character AND plot!

Some of the art is good, especially Michael Turner’s covers but Godfall’s story barely held my interest. Turner/Joe Kelly’s script is sloppy in places, boring in others, and his Superman is uninspired. Altogether it’s a very unmemorable read with quite a few moments where I was confused as to how we’d gotten from one scene to the next. Definitely not a must read, Godfall does however have the virtue of being a short book, even for a superhero trade, so the badness doesn’t stay for long!

Superman: Godfall

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