Thursday, May 26, 2016

Adventures of Superman #574 (2000)

Adventures of Superman #574 (January, 2000)
"Something Borrowed, Something Blue"
Plotter - Stuart Immonen
Dialogue - Mark Millar
Penciller - Joe Phillips
Inker - Rich Faber
Colorist - Glenn Whitmore
Separator - WildStorm FX
Letterer - Bill Oakley
Associate Editor - Maureen McTigue
Editor - Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $1.99

Sticking with the "theme" of Superman unwittingly locking lips with a super-powered lady, let's take a look at this turn of the century issue of Adventures of Superman.  This comes from the period just prior to my return to the Superman titles.  This was the dawning of the Eddie Berganza era, and the buzz hadn't quite reached my more Marvel-oriented self.

This era gets a lot of mixed reaction online, at least from what I've seen.  For the most part, I enjoyed the books from around 2001-2005 or so, dropping off a few months after Infinite Crisis.  Let's see how this one holds up...


We open with a drug deal going down, featuring a group of teens that look more likely to be hangin' with Denver the Last Dinosaur than to be poppin' DMN pills.  DMN is a demon-drug that turns the user into... well, a demon.  Their shadowy dealer mocks them as they hand over a wad of bills, and promises that they'll meet again soon.

Meanwhile Superman is in the midst of battle with the terror that can only be called Gabriel Van Daniken.  Ya see, that's his name.  He's thirty-five years old, and wouldn't it be silly to have a super villain code name at that age?  Hey Gabe, don't say that to any clown-faced fellows you meet at the next villain convention.

Supes tosses the armor clad creep into a Woody Woodpecker branded tanker full of liquid nitrogen.  That hardly seems safe, or responsible... Passers by chide Superman for killing poor Gabe, however, he already knew that the containment suit would keep him (relatively) safe.

Gabe stumbles out of the tanker, and is swept into the sky by... Mrs. Superman?  It's in fact, the woman known as Obsession.  She, and her derpy eyes are here to profess her love for her spit-curled paramour... and get the goods on just who Superman is married to.  In an earlier issue, Jimmy Olsen snapped a picture of Superman... in which, he was wearing his wedding band.  This, as one would imagine, caused quite a stir.  Obsession accuses Superman of being married to various DC superheroines including Big Barda and "one of those anorexic little Teen Titans" (ew).

Meanwhile, at the Daily Planet Lois is talking with her sister Lucy.  Lucy is currently with-child, and without wedding ring.  The father of her child is former Planet staffer Ron Troupe.  This appears to be a point of contention among the elder-Lanes, as Ron is a black man.

Ron arrives, and is spotted by Perry White.  He attempts to bring Troupe back into the fold, and offers him a better deal than what he currently has working at the local mission.  While they chat, Jimmy bursts in to announce that Mr. and Mrs. Superman are currently in the midst of a very public, very explosive, spat.  Lois is, as you might imagine, visibly annoyed.

Obsession is pounding on Superman, who is doing very little to fight back.  It would appear that he believes his stalker to be quite mentally unwell, and is doing his best to absorb the attacks and minimize the danger to others.

Their battle takes past a convenience store where the geeks hopped up on DMN are acting out.  These clowns tear up the shop, and head out onto the streets... where Jimmy, Lois, and Ron have arrived on the scene.  Ron notes that the DMN boys are headed straight for the Fairmont House Mission where he works, and heads that way to attempt to cut them off at the pass.

From the skies, Superman notices the hub-bub, and tells Obsession that it's time to quit playing this game... people's lives are at stake.  She begrudgingly decides to head into battle at his side.

Together, the pair makes short work of all the DMN boys but one... Ron Troupe is doing his best to hold him back with a chair, but the DMN is steadily approaching.  Rather than talk it out, Obsession blasts him with a fatal bolt of energy... seemingly killing it without a thought.

Superman gets up in her face, and tells her that's not the way he operates.  She puts up a bit of an argument, until we realize that the DMN wasn't totally dead.  In a final desperate attack, he lashes at Superman, but Obsession pushes him out of the way and takes the full brunt of the blow herself.

As she lay dying in Superman's arms, she sorta-kinda professes her love to him.  Not a creepy or obsessed (if you'll pardon the pun) kind of love, but a true love.  This appears to actually affect Superman.

Shortly, the press swarms asking Superman for a quote.  He gives a somber "no comment" and flies off with the surviving DMN boys.

We close out with a shot of the deceased DMN boy and Obsession.  A shadowy figure arrives and appears to feed off of their "pointless" deaths, and vanishes in a puff of smoke.


This... ehhh... I really didn't enjoy this.

The plot was okay... it makes sense with the recent "Superman with a Wedding Band" story weaving through the Super-titles.  Obsession isn't a character I'm familiar with, and this issue really doesn't make me want to seek out more from her.

The dialogue is okay, I suppose.  A bit stilted, especially in the beginning.  The bit with Gabriel Von Whatshisface feels a bit too clever by half.  Like a meta-commentary on how silly superhero comics are.  I'm dead tired of that kinda thing today, perhaps back in late 1999/early 2000 I would have been cooler with that.  Now it's just annoying.

You're talking to me... but you're looking at him... what's the deal?
I did dislike the art.  It looked like a rush-job, or maybe an uncomplimentary ink to pencil relationship.  Everything looked almost right, but yet a bit off (especially around the face/eyes).  Maybe loose is the right word for it, but I really feel funny about editorializing about art.

If you ask me, this is skippable.  I didn't dig it, and if I recall right, I'm pretty sure I disliked the entire "Mrs. Superman" arc.  This era is (at least in my era) a bit rare to come by in the bins (cheap-o and otherwise).  This issue is collected in Superman Volume 1: No Limits, which appears to be out of print... but easy enough to get a hold of at a decent price.


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