Sunday, October 21, 2012

Battle of the Super-Origins: The Art

Well, I’m finally toward the end of this battle and it’s looking close. Will something come out on top or will a tiebreaker be needed? Personally, I have no freaking clue, but it looks like I’ll be finding out soon. Today’s post is going to look the art and I’m going to try to choose the best one. It’s hard because the artwork in all four origins is more than decent. So, I’m going to do this in a straightforward format: Art team, pros, cons, and the decision.

Man of Steel – John Byrne (penciller), Dick Giordano (inker), Tom Ziuko (colors), and John Constanza (letters)
Pros – Well, it’s John Byrne and Dick Giordano! Byrne is definitely one of my favorite old-school artists because of his work on Superman and Uncanny X-Men. I don’t know much about Giordano, but I see that it’s good.  The art as a whole is pretty good. Everyone looks how they should look. My best parts from the book are the shuttle rescue scene, the last page of the book, and Superman’s fight with the robbers in issue two. The artwork is also pretty consistent from front to back. I have no complaints about the inking or colors.

Cons – Hmm…I have to admit that the action does feel a little stale when compared to the action from other books. Also, the art is the only thing that makes the book feels real dated. For example, there’s  Lois’s fashion style to look at. Another example is definitely MAGPIE. What was up with her design? As I said before, she really looks like a reject from the Rocky Horror Picture Show…and that may be the point. 
EGAH! I know 80's fashion was bad, but Dang!

Overall, while the art is good, it really doesn’t wow me like the others do.  Even art that Byrne has done for other things is a little better.   

Superman Birthright: Leinel Yu (pencils), Gerry Alangulian (inks)
Pros – First, the action is good…really good. It flies off the page and smacks you with its awesomeness. The designs for the characters are also good. They are what you would expect from these characters and they work well. The look of everything is modern and up to date.  This book probably has the best “epic panels” of the whole thing. All of the actions scenes are good, but my favorite page is this one below. It wasn’t until later that I realized it kind of has a Messianic feel…with less emphasis on the Messy. A lot of the quiet moments where there was no action were good too.

So this is where Bryan Singer got all of those Jesus/Superman comparisons!

Cons – I guess the first thing I can say is that I don’t know if Yu’s style really fits with the character as a whole. It’s edgy and gritty. Look at his work on things like New Avengers and see which characters he looks right with. Also, the art does get a little inconsistent. For example, you’ll have a couple of mistakes (Lois turns into Halle Berry for a couple of pages) and then there are the faces and the teeth. They look weird at some points in the book.

Now I see why people would be afraid of Superman.

Overall, while Yu may not the first artist I would go to penciling Superman book, he and the art team kick some major butt on this book.

Superman Secret Origin: Gary Frank (pencils), John Sibal (inks), Brad Anderson (coloring)
Pros – Christopher Reeve!!! Okay, I’m kidding a little. Reeve’s likeness is not going to be the deciding point of this battle, but it is a pretty good rendition. The action in the book is good and it also leaps off the pages and hits you with its awesomeness. The character designs are good. The art as a whole has a classic, timeless feel to it. While it does have that Silver Age feel to it, it still feels modern. There are also some “epic pages” that are shown here. Of course, there are the two shirt rips, the pic Jimmy takes, and two old-school remakes of a certain classic cover.

Cons – First off, Young Clark looks off at times. It’s like Gary Frank is trying to draw an anorexic version of Chris Reeve. He also looked a little too young in the Superboy uniform at times. Another thing is the faces of other characters. Sometimes they look a little off. One thing I’ve noticed about the art is that Lex always has an evil or scowling look on his face. He even looks like that in his young days. It’s actually kinda funny when you think about it. I counted 48 scowl/evil faces. It’s not bad, but it would be cool to see Lex show another face than the “I’m EVIL” face.

I don’t know about you, but I think Lex may grow up to become "EVILLL!!!", ya know?

Overall, Gary Frank was a good choice for this book and I have enjoyed his time on Superman in general.

Action Comics #1-#8 (New 52): Rag Morales, Brent Anderson, Gene Ha, Brad Walker, Andy Kubert, and ChrisCross on pencils and various people on inks and pencils (yeah, it varies per issue)
Pros – Like with the other books, this action in these eight issues is pretty good. Just about all of the pencillers here draw this stuff times. The overall designs look good and fit with this new universe. I like the suits…both of them. The first did take some getting used to at first. The armor is a little better. The fact that there a lot of artists is a little jarring at first, but considering that this is an ongoing book, it ‘s fine by me.  My favorite artists from this origin are Andy Kubert, Gene Ha, Rags Morales, and Brad Walker. Brent Anderson and ChrisCross (Jump, Jump!!) are okay though.


Cons – While the many artists don’t bother me, the artists themselves are pretty inconsistent. Let’s start with Morales. The first two issues are good. Then the art lessens in quality especially in the third issue. It does pick up in the latter two parts though. Chrisscross is the next one on the list. It’s the faces for some reason. They just look way off with this guy.

Wow, Pa's looking mighty old for someone in his 50's. 

 Brad Walker is another one on the list. His backups are pretty good. On the other hand, his eight pages in Action #8 are not that good. Most of the faces, especially Superman’s, look off. That page of the high-looking Superman is from this artist and that page still makes me laugh not in a good way. Then there’s Brent Anderson’s Lois.  All I can say is this: lay off the surgery! His stuff was a little off-putting as well.

Overall, while I think the art has good spots, it also has a lot of bad spots as well.


So in saying all of that, which art do I like the best? This too is tough because all of it is at least decent. All of them have good action and fights. They also have those soft, quieter moments that happen between the action and the art complements them greatly.  A big example from Secret Origin is when Clark finds out that he is an alien and Pa goes to console him. Another one I like is a Lex’s and Clark’s conversation from Birthright. With MoS, it’s when Clark comes back to the farm after the shuttle incident. The Nu52 version best quiet moment is probably the stuff from the backups involving the Kents.  As I said, it’s a tough choice.

It looks like Secret Origin gets this round…and no, it’s not because of Christopher Reeve makes a cameo. There’s a lot here to chew on when it comes to the art. I like the art for all of the reasons I listed earlier. The art is also detailed pretty well. While I did harp on the facial expressions earlier, the rest of the expressions work. For example, there is one I ‘m going to show below. As I said before, the art also complements the story greatly here.

Clark: Wow! Two hot alien girls from the future! I can't wait to tell Lana...Oh, never mind.

Score tally:
Man of Steel (MoS): 2
Superman Birthright : 3
Superman Secret Origin : 4
Superman and the Men of Steel (...Nu52): 2

Well, it’s here. Next time, I'm ending this thing!


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