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    Reviews - Superman - Annual 01

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48 pages and about half of them are recap. - colten97
If Superman Annual #1 were a person, I’d be sure that it was suffering from multiple personality disorder. It’s not a person, though, so I have to wonder what the hell was going on down at DC editorial when they cooked this one up.

The main plot of this book is fine. Helspont’s back to make a ruckus and to recruit some associates. Great. He’s doing all of this because of all of the emotional baggage he’s been carrying since he was just a lil’ ‘Pont. Even better. Problem is, that only takes up a fraction of the space in this book, only tangentially involves Superman, and doesn’t come close to drawing together the wildly disparate sections of the book.

There is so much wasted space in this book, the creators should be ashamed of themselves. It’s almost as though it was declared that each section must include at least one stunningly unimpressive and uninformative large format shot. Worse, we spend much of the issue being brought up to date on concurrent events happening in such titles as Superman, Stormwatch, Grifter, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Hawkman. Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza are smart guys. I’m sure they could have brought home the idea they were trying to make without scripting individual fights for each of the characters.

The most disconcerting aspect of this massive convergence of plot threads is the jarring transitions between them. One second I’m seeing Supes getting hit by a cheapshot and the next second I’m staring at some gratuitous Starfire cheesecake. It doesn’t help that the changes in which writer is leading the script at any particular time and penciller/inker team totally changes the tone of the book. Is this Superman the indomitable embodiment of strength or is he the Charlie Brown everyman who enjoys schlepping his way to work on the subway? Is he thickly muscled as depicted during his fight with Biomass or is he the nearly emaciated Clark Kent brushing his teeth? The whole assemblage is so disjointed, it takes a concentrated force of will to identify it as a related whole.

This issue accomplishes its purpose of initiating a massive crossover, but it’s not a fun trip. Visually, the book is a mess, with awkward postures, inconsistent inking, and occasionally confusing visual flow. The script isn’t totally smooth, either, as it teleports suddenly from scene to scene, vacillating between different voices and tones the whole while. There’s no way this book is worth five of your hard-earned dollars, so feel free to pass over this one.

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