Last month, we got the finale of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and company’s epic “Death of the Family” story over in Batman #17. It was a beautifully thought-out issue that, truth be told, was so perfect as a closing chapter that you could have stripped away all of the other chapters, began the story with Batman strapped to that chair, and still had one of the great Joker stories of all time just in that one issue.
Superman, meanwhile, has been working his way through H’El on Earth, a similarly widescreen story that took place through Superman, Superboy and Supergirl over the course of the last few months.
His story, in spite of being fewer parts taking place over fewer titles, hasn’t been nearly as tight as Batman’s has, and the finale is no exception.
The comic is a bit all over the place, with Rocafort’s beautiful art being put to disservice by trying to cram so much information onto the page that you end up getting very little that makes sense. Granted, it’s taking place during the heat of battle–but we’ve seen any number of truly epic combat/war zone scenes over the years in comics, and it’s rare that you just kind of stare blankly at a page and go, “I think I see what they’re trying to do here. I think…”.
There’s also a point where the waifish nature of Rocafort’s figure work leaves something to be desired. When you get what looks to be a smack from out of a Three Stooges film, followed by Superboy saying “I’ve never seen anything hit that hard in my life,” it doesn’t quite work visually.
That ties in with something that was a problem all throughout the issue: there was a lot of telling rather than showing. It’s easy to blame the artist for failing to get the visuals across, but considering some of the really purple prose in the narration boxes and some of the really unnecessarily expository dialogue, it seems likely that’s a Lobdell problem.
That’s all craft stuff. There were also a few story points that really seemed odd, to varying degrees. I’ll just run down the bullet points, rather than trying to actually analyze any of them much.