Review: Superman: Camelot Falls Vol. 1 hardcover (DC Comics)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just a brief review of Superman: Camelot Falls Vol. 1 today. Kurt Busiek continues to do a yeoman's job on Superman. His Superman is less like the early 2000's Jeph Loeb's incarnation than an offshoot of Roger Stern's, giving Clark a more every-man persona, and Carlos Pacheco's art offers greater realism than Ed McGuinness--I'm a fan of that previous Superman era, but many were not, and it's interesting to note the direction that DC ultimately took. Busiek offers some great Superman bits--the return of Bruno Mannheim had this long-time Super-fan all a-twitter, and Clark's "Super-reading" on the plane was ingenious; so far, Busiek's portraying Superman's super-intelligence very well. And again Busiek gets points for writing a Lois Lane who's both supportive and independent without seeming a shrew (even if she's the one character Pacheco draws as completely unrecognizable).

Camelot Falls falls, however, in that it's the first volume in a two-volume work, and the climax of part one really isn't much to speak of. In essence, Camelot Falls probably shouldn't have been published until volume two was ready, or else volume one probably shouldn't have come out in hardcover--it just doesn't feel like it can support the format. As a collection of monthly Superman issues, what's found in Camelot Falls is great. But the jump from Superman fighting the Bizarro-esque Subjekt-13 to Arion's interruption is quite jarring, and the final two issues of the hardcover have Superman simply listening to Arion's story--there's action here, but the conclusion just feels flat. I'm also fairly concerned about Busiek setting Superman up with a challenge where Superman's solution is to "do nothing" or worry about his influence on humanity--these are some of the same kinds of "wishy-washy" storylines Superman faced pre-Infinite Crisis, and I'd be more concerned if it weren't for Busiek's great track record so far.

[Contains full covers, sketchbook pages. Trade Paperback Slugfest: Camelot Falls just didn't turn out to be enough of a story, so Captain Atom: Armageddon wins again! But look out, because as soon as we find a good solid DCU story, Armageddon's going to be out of there!]

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