Friday, February 04, 2005

"Absolute Power"

DC's Superman/Batman has been a mixed bag for most of the run. Jeph Loeb is a gifted writer who loves the "big epic stuff" and has given Marvel a bunch of shit lately for forgetting about the wonder and fantasy element of comic books and basically just writing a bunch of talking heads. Loeb, in my opinion, does a good job of balancing character and cool superhero stuff (check out "Hush," which was the best Batman story I've read in years or his Batman miniseries, The Long Halloween). He's good. Unfortunately the last Superman/Batman story arc was kinda weak.

But he's redeemed himself on this current arc. I don't understand why nobody is talking about the "Absolute Power" story!? This is superhero fantasy at its best. The basic plot is that some group (who I will not spoil) has changed history, by killing the Kent's and taking orphan Bruce Wayne, and raised Superman and Batman to become the dictators of the world. Of course, Supes and Batman figure out that something is wrong (with a little help from some old friends) and then race through different realities trying to undo what has been done.

I know it probably sounds really corny and convoluted, but it's a brilliant story for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Loeb has finally made the idea of a "Superman/Batman" comic worthwhile, rather than just seeming like a forced teaming of the two greatest heroes of all time. It explores the importance each character plays in their world and also the friendship dynamic between the two characters in a way that hasn't really been looked at yet.

Secondly, Loeb understands that epic feel doesn't have to come at the cost of keeping us from caring about the characters. There is a scene in the third issue of the series that is as good as anything that has been in any comic this year, the much vaunted "Identity Crisis" included. It delves to the heart of Batman's character and what makes him tick.

Finally, Carlos Pacheco's art is outstanding. His rendentions completely avoid the "Image" look, but at the same time looking incredibly "clean" and "stylish." His rendition of Superman harken's back to the classic 40s renditions of the character, while not looking rediculous. On top of that his faces have an expressiveness and each character looks distinct. I never really admired him before, but his work here is top notch.

Check it out if you can.


At 11:25 p.m., Blogger Hilary said...

Are you really going to the Paradise Lost reading? If so, I didn't mean to offend you in my blog, I give you great respect for enduring 13 hours of reading. And it was Ewan who said pretentious nerd, not me, just to clear that up.

At 12:24 a.m., Blogger Anders said...

Oh, I know it was Ewan. That's why I give him a hard time for it. I wouldn't expect everyone to sit through that, but I didn't get a chance to go last year, so this year I thought I would.


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