By: Kryptonian Detective
Written by James Robinson and Jack Kirby;
Art by Renado Guedes, Jack Kirby, Jose Wilson Magalhaes and D. Bruce Berry;
Cover by Alex Ross
“Featuring SUPERMAN #677-680, this is the battle to end all others as Superman faces off with Atlas, lost god of myth. And when Atlas stakes a claim on Metropolis, it’s up to Superman and Krypto to take Atlas down.” (DC Comics)
This story marks James Robinson’s first effort writing the ongoing Superman title. It is not the edge of your seat page turner that is Geoff Johns’ Braniac storyline in Action Comics. Robinson’s story reads like a trepidatious child taking his first stab at swimming. That is by no means an insult. In fact, Robinson’s first effort, in my opinion, can be deemed a success. I think the battle of two titans, two myths – one ancient, and one modern – makes the story captivating. Especially when it’s a foe that Superman has never fought before. The irony of this battle is not lost on me. The image of Superman saving the Daily Planet globe supporting it on his shoulders is a parallel/homage to the image of Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. The way the story plays out, it seems as though Robinson suggests that if Superman was not raised with values and morals, got drunk on his own power, and viewed himself above all others then he would essentially be the Atlas character featured in this story. This set up really highlights the true greatness of Superman for me. This story works for me because Robinson gives us all the facets of Superman. This tale highlights his physical strength, determination, selflessness, compassion, and caring. Whether it is telling Lois he loves her, playing catch with Krypto, or throwing down with Atlas, Robinson gets it all in. I am 50/50 regarding Krypto’s role in this story. I like the fact that he comes to the aid of Superman, but I am bothered that a super-dog can essential take down a mythic god when Superman struggles. I found having to read Krypto’s thoughts extremely annoying. Also, I thought the end when Superman introduced Krypto to Metropolis and credited him as the hero was touching, yet corny. The WOW moment of this tale comes from the realization that a General from the U.S. Army with close ties to Superman wants to bring him down. This makes you wonder if the government truly trusts Superman. Furthermore, this individual’s presence may cause problems for Metropolis’ favourite super-couple.
Renado Guedes’ artistic talents are well suited for this book. His Superman is strong and confident; someone who demands attention when he flies onto the scene. Anyone who can make a mismatched fight between a dog and a god look eye catching should get a nomination for an artist-of-the-month award. Guedes’ strength was his rendition of the fight between Superman and Atlas. It looked destructive, painful, brutal, and powerful; all qualities you’d imagine from two super-powered beings. The bottom line is this… Filling the pages between an Alex Ross cover is a daunting task and Renado Guedes does so exceptionally well. The splash page at the end of issue #678 featuring Superman flying at full speed towards Atlas with fists clenched and ready to deliver a knock-out blow had me hollering with excitement. That my friends, is a job well done!