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Superman: The 10-Cent Adventure

Posted: Monday, January 20, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Artists: Scott McDaniel (p), Andy Owens (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
The book opens with Superman rocketing through the upper atmosphere of Earth, before his uncontrolled flight ends with him smashing into the Moon. We then see him speed back to Metropolis, where we see his lunar landing was the result of a super-powered villain who calls himself Amok, and we see this villain's hatred of Superman is the result of him being a raging xenophobe, and Amok wants the world to recognize Superman is not of this planet. We also see Amok is a bit annoyed that Superman doesn't seem to recall a previous battle that he had with him, but as we look back at the encounter we see Amok was such a non-threat in this initial encounter that its understandable why he would've slipped Superman's mind. After Superman manages to get the upper hand on Amok we see the villain pulls a quick vanishing act, and as such Superman goes about his day to day dealings as Clark Kent. However, Amok displays wonderful timing, as he arrives for round two just in time to rescue Clark from a conversation with Perry White where some rather uncomfortable questions were being asked. While this second battle ends with Amok blowing himself up, we see the entities that supplied him with his weaponry have gotten what they had hoped from these encounters.

Comments:
I must confess I never been much of a Superman fan, and the primary reason for this has always been the idea that the character is too powerful, and the primary appeal of the character is that he's the cream of the crop. Now I'll concede that I was always more of a Marvel fan when I was growing up, and as such I've become rather attached to the idea of flawed heroes like Spider-Man, and tormented ones like the Hulk & the Thing. However, since this is the ten cent adventure I figure this was an ideal opportunity to see if my perception of Superman & his world was wrong. Now truth be told there are some interesting ideas in this issue, from the exchange between Clark & his boss Perry White, to the idea of a group of villains from the future acting as weapon suppliers to the villains of the present. I'm also willing to forgive the plot that has Steven T. Seagle borrowing a page from the absolutely dreadful film Superman IV, as the clone that is created from Superman's strand of hair should make for an interesting conversation around the dinner table when Lois becomes aware of Superwoman. I also have to give Steven T. Seagle full marks for offering up a pretty impressive opening sequence, as Superman is punched by Ralph Kramden.

On the other side of the equation however this issue does offer up ample proof of why I'm not ready to jump aboard the Superman ship. I mean yes it's impressive that Superman can be punched to the Moon, but after he dusts himself off, and races back into battle without a single hair out of place I have to ask myself why am I suppose to find this battle exciting? I mean it's clear the only real danger here is that in his efforts to bring down the villain, Superman might accidentally injure, or even kill an innocent bystander, and while the villain does bring this potentially interesting problem up, Steven T. Seagle never goes anywhere with it. I also have to take issue with the way that the villain is done away with, as while there's an element of dark humor to the idea of a villain getting a power so explosive that it literally causes them to blow up, this doesn't exactly make for an impressive climax, and Superman's little speech to the child only underscores the idea that he played no role in this villain's defeat. From a marketing standpoint I also have to wonder why the house ad at the back of the book didn't bother to mention which title this new creative team would be working on, as this seemed like the ideal opportunity to do so.

I'm a huge Scott McDaniel fan thanks to his run on "Nightwing", and as such it's great to see he's held in such high esteem with the higher-ups at DC that he continues to land on the company's highest profile titles. Scott McDaniel delivers some of the most explosive action I've ever seen, and his ability to convey a sense of visual excitement is hard to beat, so I have every confidence that he's found himself the ideal home for his art. This issue opens with a wonderful sample of what Scott McDaniel will bring to Superman, as the hero is blasted clear to the moon. This is then followed up with an equally impressive sequence where Superman takes a second blast, and he performs the classic "hero carves a path through several buildings before they are able to halt their momentum" scene. The art isn't all about action though, as he also captures a nice little quiet moment between Lois & Clark, though I do have to wonder about Lois' coffee consumption, as that's the largest coffee mug I've ever seen. The tension between Clark & Perry is also nicely realized, and the art has some fun with the classic "I have to end this conversation abruptly and run off" moment that Clark has down to a science.

Final Word:
I hope that this 10 cent adventure results in a boost in Superman's numbers, as I rather enjoy the idea of the occasional super cheap comic, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Now has this issue convinced me to join in on the Superman party, and add his book(s) to my monthly pile of books? Honestly I have to say no, as while this is an enjoyable, largely done-in-one adventure, this issue served to reinforce my resolve that I'm simply not a Superman fan. I recognize the idea that he's the granddaddy of all super-heroes, and he's got some big league creative talents in his corner, but I have grown up on a steady diet of flawed heroes, and Superman is too perfect, and too powerful for me to find much enjoyment in his various struggles. With that said this issue does seem to be a pretty solid preview of what one can expect to see in the monthly titles, so if you like what you see here, then this one-shot looks like it's the ideal jumping on point for new readers.



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