Superman #677 (August, 2008)
“The Coming of Atlas, Part 1: The World on his Shoulders”
Writer – James Robinson
Penciller – Renato Guedes
Inker – Wilson Magalhaes
Colorist – Hi-Fi
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Associate Editor – Tom Palmer, Jr.
Editor – Matt Idelson
Cover Price: $2.99
After an epic(ly long) six-hundredth daily discussion extravaganza, I figured we’d follow up with something a bit “lighter”… another installment of 1st Issue Special: Where Are They Now? featuring (to my knowledge) only the second appearance of the fella who led off the original run… Jack Kirby’s Atlas!
Only took him 32 years for him to get a second appearance! Take that Outsiders and Codename: Assassin! To be fair… they will both show up soon…
Let’s get to it!
We open with a strange flying disc soaring through space… then Krypto! Hey, wouldja lookit that, they’re playing Frisbee! Superman is joined by Hal Jordan, who thinks playing Frisbee with a dog in outer space while wearing their costumes is a bit weird. Superman posits that it might be the most mundane thing either of them ever see. They then talk about their love lives… with Superman erring by bringing up Jade. Hey big guy, that was Kyle… not Hal. The epilogue ends with Hal watching Superman play with his dog… and thinking back to his own more innocent days, before Parallax.
We shift to Metropolis where a giant mud-like monster is rampaging through the streets. The Science Police are on the scene… but are not initially effective.
One member, Travis, calls in to Control to ask if anyone’s laid eyes on Superman… and no sooner does a red and blue blur blast onto the scene… and right through the monster, driving it into a bunch of buildings, Power Rangers style. The globe from atop the Daily Planet teeters and falls while the Sci-Cops look on feeling as though Superman has gotten a bit sloppy.
Well, not so fast kemo sabe… this blur lands first and catches the globe as though he were… er, the mythical Titan, Atlas (hmmm…)! We pop back into Travis’s head, where he admits to sort of hating Superman. He hates that the Science Police are basically his janitorial staff… cleaning up after all of his battles.
Just then, the fella who caught the Daily Planet globe hurls it into the sky… calling out for Superman! Uh-oh. Turns out this is our old friend… er, acquaintance, Atlas! He spends the next several pages positively decimating the Science Police Force… and repeating the same challenge!
In Space, Superman picks up on the challenge… and rushes back to Earth. He leaves Krypto with a nervous Hal, but insists his dog is “a good boy now”. He arrives in Metropolis, and we end off with him greeting his pursuer.
Wow that was a quick read! It’s sometimes so jarring to go from stories written in the Bronze-Age and into the 1980/90’s… then to read one from the late 2000’s. I barely had three sips of my coffee writing this one out! What’s more… there ain’t a whole heckuva lot to say about it. It’s just a set-up issue!
Let’s hit some of the bits that stuck with me.
I like how Superman mistakenly thought Hal had been with Jade. It speaks to how he views Hal Jordan as a man… just assuming that “if the girl’s green… Hal’s made that scene”. What I didn’t like about the comment is that it places Superman somewhere above the Green Lantern Corps., like he can’t tell/remember if it was Hal or Kyle who had the green gal on their arm. I mean, he’s worked with both of them for extended periods of time… you’d (or I’d) assume he’d know them both a bit better than that. Not like Superman to goof like this.
I kinda dug getting into Travis’ mind. I can understand and appreciate him feeling a bit like Superman’s janitor… it’s as though he’d hoped this job/career would make him important… but all he does is sweep up after the “real” hero(es) of Metropolis. Gotta figure he’d have at least a twinge of resentment every time he’s sent out to pick up a fallen lamppost or flipped over minivan.
Then there’s Atlas… proclaiming to be the champion that Metropolis needs! Really dug that for a number of reasons. This plays into his character during his only other (to my knowledge) appearance to this point. Plus, it’s always just so cool when a forgotten character gets a reintroduction… much less looking as though he might be portrayed as something of an equal to Superman! We don’t get their fight… that comes next issue… but we do get a face-off… because, ya know… it’s a 2000’s era comic book.
The art here is fantastic! Interiors and cover alike… just some amazing work here. Guedes has a style that is both cartoony and dynamic… the softer colors used really help bring the art to life as well. Just such a well put together package!
Overall… I think this is a good little story… but I’m hard-pressed to recommend picking up this single issue… that is, unless you also pick up the three that follow it. If you are interested, this bugger has been made available digitally and has been collected in Superman: The Coming of Atlas.