"The Long Run"
Writer: Scott McCloud
Artists: Aluir Amancio(p), Terry Austin(i), Patricia Mulvihill(c)
The strength in the title of this latest Superman mini-series does not refer to the Man of Steel's muscle. It instead alludes to his conviction and his belief in what's right in the microscopic and the macroscopic levels of existence.
The book opens with Jonathan Kent continuing the story he began to relate to Lois last issue. During an eclipse, Clark Kent as a boy is bombarded with a burst of solar energy that gives him a taste of the future. The story informs more than just Lois. It informs the reader as to why Superman behaves the way he does in this book and every other book worthy to be considered part of the Superman mythos--no, not the Chuck Austen books and uh-uh for Emperor Joker badness.
As Superman: Strength progresses, we see how Superman's honor is never a weakness. Certainly, it may seem so in certain situations, but without that wide-spread understanding that Superman always keeps his word, he would not be allowed to think outside the fishbowl nor gain the trust of not just those he protects but also from those he hunts.
Scott McCloud's story differs from the kind of scorched earth tale that DC fans are used to seeing. The villains of the piece vary in characterization. They are not merely shallow works designed to rape and kill; kind of like homicidal wind-up toys. The man responsible for putting Superman under glass is arrogant and greedy but he is motivated by a single psychological problem. None of this however makes him want destruction, and this frees Superman from some of his predicament but not his obligations.
McCloud's tale is more of an extrapolation of the Superman Animated Series Universe. True, Lois and Clark are married, but the behavior of Luthor ultimately identifies this story as something that rests way, way outside the DCU. His Telly Savalas type features perfectly caricatured by Amancio suit a more rational personality who has considered his options and chooses the best one that will protect what he considers his property.
The cartoon look of Amancio's style disguises a mature exploration in human and Kryptonian behavior. Superman: Strength is a thoughtful work that belongs on the shelves of every Superman fan.
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