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Tangent: Superman's Reign #5

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Dan Jurgens & Ron Marz
Jamal Igle, Robin Riggs (i)
DC Comics
"History Lesson" (part 5)

Plot: While Superman learns more about New Earth by probing John Stewartís unwilling mind, Batman is on the job of piecing together a Tangent fact file in the Spectre's hidden lair.

Comments: This issue begins with a battle between Power Girl (in one way at least, strength level, she's very like the Power Girl we know) and the remaining clandestine Tangent heroes and Justice League members. PG has already killed Manhunter, and she seems more than capable of dealing with the uncoordinated Tangent attacks. Whatís surprising is that the League doesnít fare much better, and ultimately Batman is forced to flee, leaving Flash, Black Canary, Black Lightning and Green Lantern behind.

While Jamal Igle's art is clear, it's much too conventional to capture the real quality of Power Girl: she was conceived as a kind of anime robot, not just a tough officer in armor. The fun of that conception is off the page (Igle fairs much better with Tangent Flash, sparkling in light energy and pink tights and cape, his style definitely leans towards a traditional DC comics look).

While Batman lives to fight another day (and assess the extent of his new allies' resources), Hex tries to entice the Joker back to a life of crime-fighting. Power Girl returns home to her lover Superman (yep, really not the same world we know), whose omnipotence extends to trumping a Green Lanternís will and acquiring his ring. What he learns from John Stewart unsettles him all the more, and itís an interesting touch that New Earth offers such a great number of super-beings compared to Tangent Earth.

In the back-up story with Guy Gardner still sharing with his probable captors how much he knows, Pasarin does a very good job of capturing the insouciant and giddy flair of the Joker, who was the highlight of the original Tangent concept to this reviewer. He's definitely in over his head in the Nightwing facility, but this is a mystery that hasn't grown tiresome yet. While some of the underlying concepts of the Tangent universe donít make a lot of sense, the overall mandate to create a very different world out of familiar names is an intriguing one that keeps Dan Jurgens on his toes as he explores his many variations on the theme. The plot is advancing in a very formulaic way, but that's okay if the formula is a good one, and the sense that various threads might converge is slowly becoming evident.



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