Mike Gold: The Man Who Didn’t Save Krypton
I’ve gone on record many times about how I enjoy much of DC Comics’ digital line. I’ve even been snotty enough to note that, unlike much of The New 52, these titles are quite readable and are DC’s saving grace. So I’ll take it one step further.
One of these weekly digital titles is called Adventures of Superman. Yes, I realize it’s not the first comic book (let alone teevee or radio show) to employ this name. This doesn’t matter. Like DC’s digital Legends of the Dark Knight weekly, each story is by a separate creative team and said stories usually run across several “issues.”
If you’re thinking about sampling, let me strongly recommend the three-part story that was just completed (Adventures of Superman numbers 31, 32 and 33). The story is called “The Dark Lantern” (yes, I will not be surprised when DC does “The Dark Sugar and Spike”) and it was written by Jim Krueger and drawn by Neil Edwards and Scott Hanna; a fine pedigree. I single this story arc out for three reasons: its concept, its execution, and its timing.
The concept is first-rate. It figures that Krypton must have fallen within some Green Lantern’s sector. Clearly, that GL didn’t save the planet and presumably it went blooie on that guy’s watch. How does he feel about that? Does he think he should atone for his failure to prevent the incident? And what happens when he learns there was a survivor?
The execution is first-rate. The story is well told and complete within its 60 half-page bandwidth. DC reprints some of this stuff in trades or pamphlets and stacks the half-pages, so let’s call this a 30-page story. Simply put, we rarely see so much story within 30 pages.
I mean, we used to. Hell, Ditko and Lee took 11 pages to introduce Spider-Man and tell his origin. 38 years later, it took Bendis and Bagley about 136 pages to tell that same story. Times change, and not always for the better. Mind you, I enjoyed their retelling and we no longer rely on nine panel pages to get through a tale, but my point remains. It is quite unusual to see so much story from DC or Marvel in so few pages, and if “The Dark Lantern” is a throwback, then let’s throwback some more.
However, nobody can take credit for the timing. Take a good look at the two panels above. “I failed to save his people and threatened to kill those he now loves. I fought him and brought poison to him. And still he forgives me. Still he thinks of me.”
It is simply amazing that this issue was released within hours of Nelson Mandela’s death.
THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil
THURSDAY AFTERNOON: The Tweaks!
FRIDAY MORNING: Martha Thomases