Sunday, November 05, 2006

Action Comics #844 (part 1)

Action Comics #844, December 2006, DC Comics
writers: Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
artist: Adam Kubert
colorist: Dave Stewart
letterer: Rob Leigh
associate editor: Nachie Castro
editor: Matt Idelson

As I drove the I-10 from Phoenix to Orange County, more so than I thought about how little I wanted to write this review, I thought about long roads – specifically, the long road fans endured to the latest installment of the cinematic Superman saga, last summer’s appropriately titled Superman Returns. Even more importantly than securing a fresh-faced actor to portray the Man of Steel following Christopher Reeve’s long-lasting impression, Warner Bros. sought to secure a reliable name for behind the camera, someone the industry from producers on down could embrace as a pioneer for a franchise overhaul.

They found such a phenomenon in Bryan Singer, whose love of film inspired his on-line video diary of the Superman movie’s pre-production development. Who would’ve thought that such an enthusiastic visionary, such a well-respected filmmaker, would rely so much on Superman’s cinematic past that his fingerprint on the project was smudged completely. Singer was seemingly so in love with the Man of Steel’s silver screen debut from the seventies that he tried to recreate the experience entirely, failing to realize that the director he admired was the only man before and since truly capable capturing those magical moments on film. That man was Richard Donner.

Now, decades later, Donner has returned . . . to Superman, that is, as the co-writer of Action Comics, the series in which Supes first appeared early last century, and that launched a whole new genre of sequential art – superhero comics. Since Donner did so much for the character’s popularity, and now has the native forum in which the character thrives monthly at his disposal, one could expect some phenomenal storytelling . . . right?

My daily deadline is looming, and I am extremely road weary, so I dare present to you the first “to be continued” review. Unlike a speeding bullet, we’re going to tear this one apart slowly. Will Richard Donner deliver? Or has Superman met his greatest nemesis since turquoise Krytponite? Tune in tomorrow, folks! Same geek-time, same geek-blog!

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