DC has been rolling out eight page “sneak peek” stories previewing the “new” direction for their various New 52 titles. Yup. That’s lots of “new” going on over at DC. DC has not done much to impress me in a while, but I must admit that the concept of inserting “sneak peek” stories in all of their Convergence issues is brilliant. This is a good way to get longtime readers like me who abandoned DC with the New 52 but are buying the Convergence titles to get a sampling of the upcoming New 52 titles in the hopes of recapturing our business. Now, will it work is an entirely different matter. So, in these quick Sneak Peek reviews I will give my impression if the preview story succeeded or not in getting a longtime reader like myself excited about an upcoming New 52 title. The first Sneak Peek that will be the Action Comics preview. Let’s hit it.
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Aaron Kuder
Colors: Will Quintana
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Superman (Oooh, look. He has an edgier short haircut. Very New 52. In fact, he looks like Conner Kent. Oookay.) trudging through the arctic. Suddenly, he is attacked by shadowy zombie like ninjas. (Because one of those cliches would not be enough.) We learn that Superman’s powers are fading. He can no longer fly. He is not as strong or as invilnerable as he used to be. Superman says that despite all of this I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. No, actually Superman says “I’m still Superman” and that “This is all I’ve got. But, Dammit it’s enough.”
Superman battles the shadowy zombie ninjas and sustains cuts and damage during the battle. Superman defeats all of the shadowy zombie ninjas but is bloody from the fight. (Hey, Ben Affleck! Greg Pak answered your question! Superman can bleed!) Superman trudges on to the Fortress of Solitude. Conner, I mean, Superman says that everything will be better once he is home inside of the Fortress. That the secret Kryptonian science in the Fortress will fix him.
Superman stands in front of the bio scanner at the entrance. The door doesn’t open. Superman yells “It’s me! Kal-El!” The bioscanner says that it does not recognize him. Suddenly, the Fortress rips Superman’s “S” off his shirt (Which causes him physical pain? Uh, ok.) and then the Fortress dematerializes the cape off of Superman. The Fortress says that it is reclaiming the stolen Kryptonian artifacts.
Superman then screams “NOOOOOOO!!!!” as his cape is taken from him. Then Superman drops to his knees and yells “AAAAAAAGH!!” End of sneak peek.
The Good: Kuder delivers some excellent artwork. His rendering of the Arctic North was beautiful. I loved the dark lines and effective use of white space. There is no doubt that this is an attractive looking sneak peek. I would kill to see Kuder drawing a Batman title or a Daredevil title. That would be incredible.
The Bad: Unfortunately, a pretty face only gets you so far. The story in this sneak peek is awful. At no point did I feel like I was reading a Superman title. Superman’s narration was so overly dramatic and over wrought. This narration had more cheese in it than the entire state of Wisconsin. It was almost impossible to take this story seriously with the melodramatic way that Superman chewed through his dialogue. This entire sneak peek was so over blown. I felt like I was reading a Sin City comic book rather than a Superman comic.
And, Superman curses. Of course. Because it is the New 52 and everyone has to be gritty and edgy. Even Superman. And this is the philosophical divide that I have with the New 52. To me, Superman should always be your most kid friendly comic book. He is such a kid friendly character. There are tons of other titles that DC has that they can make gritty and darker and aim for an older audience. Not every single title needs to be that style of comic book. Superman is a classic super hero. He is clean cut and kid friendly. Having him gritty and cursing just does not work at all with the core qualities of Superman’s character.
We are also presented with the time worn and, frankly, cliched storyline that centers on the main character losing his super powers. Whenever I see a story that revolves around the main character being de-powered it comes across as the writer waving his arms in the air at me and screaming “I have absolutely no more ideas left!” Pak serves up a plate of re-heated fast food rather than a carefully crafted gourmet meal.
Everything about this sneak peek has that tired feel to it. I’m simply getting well worn tropes wrapped up in a 1990’s Image style presentation. This certainly is not anything that is going to entice me to give the New 52 another try.
Verdict: Fail. Will this teaser get lapsed long-time readers like myself interested in this New 52 version of Superman. No. I would imagine that the entire point of these sneak peeks being inserted in Convergence issues that naturally appeal to lapsed long-time readers is to try and lure those readers back into the New 52. Who will like this “new” direction for the New 52 Superman? I think current New 52 fans will enjoy it. But, DC already had their business.