Well, I’d heard that things turned around when Kenneth Rocafort came on the main Superman title, and I’m definitely seeing a change. Instead of the directionless wandering I’ve seen in every new 52 Superman trade so far, there is an actual story here. I still find the name “H’el” laughably obvious, but I suppose not every comic can be subtle.
Scott Lobdell seems to be channeling the real Superman here, too. Clark stands up for journalistic integrity, pines for Lois Lane (even while he’s with Wonder Woman) and even delivers a good old-fashioned team up! When the Justice League shows up, they aren’t an angry bunch of jerks; they feel like a supportive group of friends giving their buddy a hand.
Don’t get me wrong, this still isn’t “my” DCU, but I would have been a lot easier on the New 52 if Superman had had this feel back in the beginning.
Now, one problem is DC’s totally perplexing trade program. I would have thought this would have a complete story, but instead it seems I read every other part in the “H’el on Earth” crossover. How funny is it that cutting out half the story makes it better? The breakneck pacing kept things interesting; I think having to force myself to read the opposite chapters might have really dragged this book down!
Another interesting about this team-up is the use of Superboy and Supergirl. The earlier issues of Superboy I read starred an unrecognizable jerk. I won’t even read Superboy’s title for free from the library it was so bad! The Superboy appearing here? He seems like a decent enough kid. Not as cool as any of the old Superboys, but frankly, I could handle this.
I like that Lobdell explains how H’el is manipulating Kara/Supergirl. She plays the patsy for most of the story. She seems like a petulant idiot, not really a likable character anchoring her own series. Thankfully there is a sequence that shows how much H’el is manipulating Kara using his mind powers, so we can give her a bit of a pass.
Rocafort’s art is not too bad. First of all, it doesn’t look like every single other New 52 title on the racks. That alone is an accomplishment these days! Every single character has a beautiful aspect to them; I don’t think Rocafort can help himself. But his Lex Luthor is fun, Lois Lane seems at least somewhat professional, and Superman looks much better in his jeans and t-shirt than that moronic armor.
Don’t misunderstand me, I would never recommend this FAIR book over any old-52 Superman titles. But I can at least tolerate the character in this one!