Friday, October 26, 2007

"Superman Prime" -- FANBOY!

"Oh, I get it," I said to Self as Self was reading "Superman Prime" #1, "Superman Prime is just a big Fanboy run amok...or at least Geoff Johns's interpretation of one."

The key to this, as far as I am concerned, is Superman Prime's rant about how his "heroes let him down..."

"They don't care about anyone but was terrible. Hal Jordan went bad! Wonder Woman killed someone! I couldn't watch what they did to Sue Dibny." (emphasis mine)

The Dibny line is very telling. Is S.P. really referring to Dr. Light or Jean Loring? Or simply parroting complaints about the "Identity Crisis" and the whole "darker" tone DC had seemed to take since that miniseries?

Superman Prime is:
1) From "our Earth"
2) A comic book collector
3) The son of a comic book collector who named him after a comic book character (shades of Nick Cage!)
4) Owns a "Green Lantern" T-shirt
5) Thinks nothing has been the same since Dan Didio took over the DCU
6) Is a batshit-crazy murderer

Getting that out of the way, the book itself features a very entertaining extended fight sequence between S.P. and ALL the DCU, and flashback sequences with tortured continuity explanations that makes my brain hurt.

The art by Pete Woods is a stand-out and a revelation; perhaps the key is the fact he has inked himself here. Jerry Ordway's art is also top-notch.

Really, not a bad issue at all, except for the rather obvious "Fanboy Straw Man" and the continuity porn.

Grade: A-


  1. Honestly I was rooting for Superboy Prime during infinite crisis. I thought he was a more interesting character than Conner. I'm glad to see him back and hope he kicks some ass. I won't get my Superman Prime special in until next Friday but I'm excited about it.

  2. It honestly hadn't even occurred to me that Superboy Prime was even a dig at or specific to "fanboys". Disillusionment with one's heroes, and realizing that one's future is radically different from what you once imagined it to be ... it's a painful part of growing up for anyone. One of the most emotionally resonant single lines of dialogue from last year was Superboy Prime getting stuffed into the speed force screaming "Don't you understand! When I grow up I'm going to be Superman!"

  3. I can't get enough of Superman-Prime, actually; & the bit where Superman, Power Girl, & Supergirl all come down with the "Man of Steel" shadowed face with red eyes? Man, somebody is gonna get some hurt on him.

    I've liked ALL of Sinestro Corps War a lot.

  4. Wait, is Val saying it is a dig at fanboys, or a dig at "Dark DC" with Superman-Prime as the vehicle of criticism? The latter is the vibe I got, & I concur with it.

  5. It was totally an attack on fanboys (though I liked the suggestion made on another blog that Superboy Prime is actually Alex Ross). And I loved it. Sure, it snarkily answers the complaints about the darkening of DC with even more gratuitous violence, but you have to credit Johns for at least having a stance.

    - Sharif

  6. I'm with Mordicai. I read it as a dig at DC, rather than fanboys, since Superboy, while homicidal and crazy, has genuine reservations about "Dark DC" being bullshit and that maybe someone, maybe him, should take a giant fucking eraser to it.

  7. I feel he's suggesting that the nostalgia freaks for the nicer times in the DCU are either forgetting how much violence was in those comics OR are far more tainted by violence in their critique than they'll admit. Nostalgia can be pretty unhealthy. Either way, Super(boy)Man Prime is always worth a chuckle or two.

  8. Mordicai--I saw it as mostly a dig against Fanboys who hate "New DC," though wrapped in that I can see how it's also a parody of "New DC"

    I find the adventures of Supes Prime and "Goddamn Batman" rather amusing in that "Marvel Zombies" sort of way.

  9. See- I have no attachment to Superwhatever-Prime (other than: I think this story was better when it was titled Secret Identity) so I don't mind him as the...whatever, nearly deus ex machina character. I certainly wouldn't put him in the Goddamn Batman camp, though.

  10. Right? He's basically the same character as the Captain Marvel of Kingdom Come, only one whose annihilated innocence is not (yet) redeemed.

  11. The difficulty with Johns work is that... he is a good writer, a really good one...

    Who seems to constantly undermine his talent by writing about 75% of his material on trying to get goofy useless Silver Age crap tweaked just-enough to fit back into modern stories while still being pretty effing goofy.

    I LIKED that there was only one kryptonite and a lot of the other ridiculousness in the same vein was gone or seriously diminished.

    Peter David's another great example. The beginning of his work on any given character is usually really quite solid and then...

    Slowly but surely, he descends into a downward spiral of fourth-wall continuity-wank meta-douchery.

    As if he's a 15 year old kid who watched "Annie Hall" for the first time and has decided that all characters should talk to the camera at all times.


    I'm with you. A little continuity-wank is fine as a side-dish but it gets old fast as the main course.

  12. Heh. I was actually going to ask you about this issue the next time we talked, as I thought the same thing. Superboy Prime is like the CBR or John Byrne forums on steroids.

    And Risk losing a limb with each major even is maybe my new favorite running gag.

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  14. Of course, what bothers me is the attitude this is symptomatic of--that the writers at DC are more important than their audience. If people don't like the current tone of the DC universe, it's their fault for being out of step with DC's writers, not the fault of DC's writers for writing stuff that I don't want to read.

  15. Can't argue with anything, but I do disagree with this line, "5) Thinks nothing has been the same since Dan Didio took over the DCU"

    I would actually say it's more pointing out of the general take of the big two's superhero lines as a whole taking darker paths since the mid-90's to garner a larger readership.

    But I guess that's partially why I like Superboy-Prime, he's like this take on both the serious fanboys whole's looking at the business.