Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen are back for more this month, wrapping up their first quickie story in Superman this month and sending Helspont packing–at least for the moment. The pair also set up some changes for Clark’s status quo (Jimmy as a potential new roommate) and personal life (Lucy Lane hates him).
All of this set against a deeply distressing fantasy embedded in the Man of Steel’s head by Helspont, who had come to Earth looking for Superman’s help in punishing the Daemonites, who have overthrown Helspont and exiled him. The depot has a fundamental misunderstanding of who Superman is, though, and Giffen and Jurgens have no problem rectifying that misunderstanding with an inspirational Superman speech and some truly impressive visuals.
I loved the Perez run on Superman, as many readers here know, but where he and finishing artist Jesus Merino were less than stellar was in the fighting and action sequences; Superman seemed to be just kind of throwing himself at the villains (who were, admittedly, elemental in nature and may have needed that sort of approach), and it was visually unspectacular. Jurgens and Merino seem to be bent on setting that right as quickly as they can. Improving on George Perez pencils? That’s a tall order.
Ultimately it will be interesting to see how the events of this issue play out, whether that’s in this summer’s Superman family crossover or somewhere else. whether Helspont’s story is to be believed or not is anyone’s guess, although there was nothing on the page to make the reader doubt it yet. Either way, the increasing importance of WildStorm’s Daemonites will make this an issue that fans are likely to look back on sooner than later and try to see if there was any hidden meaning lodged inside. Let’s see if co-writer and penciller Dan Jurgens can shed some light on it.
Just after the last time we’ve talked, the Man of Steel logo was revealed. It’s very…metallic. How do you like it?
Kind of appropriate for the Man of Steel!
I haven’t seen the reviews, but suspect another, outside matter might be fueling some of that.
Ivan drew the cover, knowing we were going to have Helspont playing some mind tricks with Superman, before the script was even written. That was the first Keith or I saw Helspont’s “bug” in Superman’s mouth. Once it was on the cover, I felt it was necessary to work it into the story, for all of three panels.
This story was about Superman turning down Helspont’s offer and the conflict between them– not a wonderful, personal life he was giving up. Think of Helspont as the devil, trying to tempt Superman with things he’d have absolutely no interest in.
DC’s five-page preview at CBR this week consisted mostly of pages from a fantasy sequence. Do you think about that kind of thing when pacing out a story, in terms of having it start that way with no real explanation?
Do we think in terms of it for preview purposes?
Did we want to start the story “cold” to throw the reader and Superman both into unknown circumstances?
Yes. Makes for a fun set-up and start to a story.
What does the line “don’t let that cape come into play” mean? Is that tied into the solicited story in #11 that will tell us more about the costume?
No. This only means that someone was calling Superman “the cape”, which makes some sense in the circumstances.
Seeing a lot of flying and leaping Superman action here, I feel like he’s very thin and lithe. Was that part of the move to make him a bit younger?
Yes. I’ve made a conscious effort to draw Superman a bit lighter and less muscle-bound than I did in the past, all part of an effort to make him seem younger.
Well-played hearkening Superman’s realization about what was going on back to last issue–so much action and confusion was going on in those first few pages that by the time Superman said “bed bugs,” I had completely forgotten that story beat!
How could anyone forget bed bugs? Yuck!
Can you use heat vision more in the future? That reveal shot of Superman after blasting out of the rock wall is awesome.
Of course! Love the heat vision. It’s always been a cool effect.
Between that, and the final big splash page, you get a lot of artistic breathing room with some big “powers” moments. Did you think that following on the heels of Grant’s “Golden Age”-style Superman and George’s mind-controlled Supes, it was important to make a statement about what Big Blue is capable of, and to do it visually instead of through the dialog?
I’ve always thought that, with Superman, it’s important to have big, wide scale action and impressive visuals.
Given the scope of Superman’s powers, how could it be otherwise?
So is this story setting up for anything specific in Superman? Obviously the Daemonites have been a consistent theme running through a lot of the DCU, but from the solicitations it looks as though you and Keith are getting into the “introducing new characters and concepts” part of the run starting next month.
We’re doing several things with long term goals in mind. That will be seen as these issues play out.