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Adventures of Superman #41 & #40

February 5, 2014

Okay, so I went and read Adventures of Superman #41, which is Part 2 of “The Sound of One Hand Clapping”, a Superman/Joker crossover. I then to backtrack to issue #40. Here’s what I think of it and why the rest of the internet are wrong! (because I’m right!).

Spoilers after the jump.

I’ll start with issue #41, ’cause that’s where I started. It opens with Joker on top of the Daily Planet, and Superman showing up with a bunch of bombs that Joker planted all around Metropolis. Superman explains how he managed to gather up all the bombs, and then proceeds to tear Joker into absolute pieces. Not physically, but mentally, through a verbal barrage. He totally shuts Joker down. By the end of it, Joker’s pretty much broken.

Basically, Superman saves the day by being a humungous dick.

And you know what? It worked. As a Superman story, it worked. If you’re familiar with Superman beyond the “boy scout” image, this is actually keeping in character. It’s not like Man of Steel Superman, who totally ignores collateral damage (that’s innocent bystanders), pointlessly ruin the lives of truckers and destroy multi-million dollar equipment for shits & giggles.

Regular ol’ Superman is simply not above a little deception, and that’s what the issue plays like; a great big deception put on the Joker by Superman, to make sure Joker never returns. And it works without Superman being breaking character. In fact, it ends with a re-affirmation of his character.

I liked #41 enough to go read #40. Which is pretty much the same as #41 in that it opens with the Joker on the top of the Daily Planet, threatening to set off a bunch of bombs all over Metropolis. Therein lies the proof in the pudding that whoever wrote this seems to know what he’s doing. Because really, we don’t NEED tonnes (that’s 1000 kilos per metric tonne) of background setting up why Joker decides to go to Metropolis. We all know that it’s going to end up on the top of the Daily Planet with the Joker threatening to set off a bunch of bombs all over Metropolis, anyway. That’s pretty much the only way this was going to go down. So kudos for skipping to the meat of the story. No context required because the context speaks for itself. In that sense, #41 works better as a standalone than a continuation of #40.

But where #41 put the focus on Superman, #40 explores how Superman and Batman would react differently to the Joker.

#40 is okay in that regard, but really, Adventures of Superman #41… it’s better and you can read it as a standalone. I’d recommend it.

Now, for some reason, comic reviews tend to talk about the art. I dunno why, they just do. Well, here’s my take on the art in these issues. They’re okay. They’re kinda neat and they generally work. There’s a few panels/expressions/angles where the art style isn’t my cup of tea, but overall, it’s pretty for what it is. The general consensus on the internet seems to be that the art is horrible for these issues, but that opinion is objectively wrong. That’s just the internet’s “I like it so everyone has to love it and that say it’s a brilliant work of art” / “I dislike it so everyone has to hate it and say it’s an ugly piece of crap” bi-polarity.

The truth is, the art is more thumbs up than down, but there are some parts where it doesn’t convey the full impact of the panel.

As for the writing, again, the internet’s wrong and I’m right. Whether these issues are your cups or tea or not, they aren’t bad. Perhaps a tad dull if you’re expecting action, since it’s all talking, but as a fan of Superman, I think these issues are pretty fun, though I’d only recommend #41 as far as “must read” is concerned.

In short, I’m right, the internet is wrong, and you should at least read Adventures of Superman #41, if only to see Superman being a massive dick.

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