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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Member Since: Thu May 07, 2009
Posts: 3,060
Subj: Re: Superman #30
Posted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 at 11:35:33 am EDT (Viewed 183 times)
Reply Subj: Superman #30
Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 at 04:18:31 pm EDT (Viewed 196 times)

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I don't have the time to really give the review the book deserves, but if you're a fan of quintessential Superman tales, or Bronze Age styling, I think you'll be happy with this one.

Whether the readership is knowledgable about the finer points of the Green Lantern mythos that has evolved these last fifteen years has to be put by the wayside when assessing this issue as despite the relative complexity of the Emotional Spectrum and its players Superman #30 actually works extremely well, as both a story about the will of an intergalactic terrorist so formidable he has even broken the living avatar of Fear itself, and on another level in being a character study of sorts looking into the inner doubts and fears of Superman himself. Just what does the Earth's most pre-eminent champion and defender of the weak have to fear...?

It's not that this two-part story has anything original in either content or moral message, but while Keith Champagne's story can be read as merely a collection of well worn and over-familiar plot beats borrowed from the Green Lantern title it is equally fair to say that when the title has crossed paths with Sinestro in the past a similar level of familiarity has to be assumed from the reader, and to his credit Keith Champagne's scripting doesn't weigh down the proceeds too much with the backstory to Parallax and his history with Sinestro. It is enough that the reader comes to understand quickly that Parallax is a parasitic entity that feeds on Fear, and that this entity is now hunted and fearful itself, all thanks to the will and mercilessness that Sinestro projects.
Terror then is the theme that weaves through Superman these last two issues. And on the face of it with Superman himself now the host and ideal hiding place for parallax hope seems a fading prospect for both earth and the wider universe. It's a mark of the clever way in which Keith Champagne positions his players in this issue as while the 'return' of Superman in the lead up to Rebirth has seen the world lift itself from the relative darkness of the 'Flashpoint' restart Parallax itself has withered in its power and influence over those around it. Synchronicity and coincidence probobly yes, but as we open up this issue with a possessed Superman now confronted by the arrived Sinestro the irony that the most dangerous of terrorists in this universe is unwittingly being recast as its defender here fits with the themes of the story's examination of how relative fear and hope are in the world. Parallax we are shown hides in Superman out of its sense of survival and a fear of the exploitation and abuse of the likes of Sinestro, Superman has surrendered himself to Parallax purely to save immediate lives, Sinestro has arrived despite still recovering himself from the same injuries that saw a similarly diminished Parallax manifest in Metropolis as he covets the power and prestige that ownership of the fear entity embodies. Like a master concerned about his runaway prize dog Sinestro sees only his own ambition and needs, and pity is a commodity not present here.

Which, as events progress, is a key point in the entire narrative to Champagne's script. Examining and accepting his own doubts and inner fears Superman's ability to recognise and raise himself above such concerns is part and parcel of what makes him the inspiration that he is. But for an entity like Parallax, an embodiment of fear as an emotion, the ability to grow and evolve as humans do is as alien to itself as Qward is to a human. It may be that Parallax is merely what it is - a parasitic entity existing for no other purpose, and capable of no other purpose. And yet as Superman himself shows to the soldiers of Qward free-choice is a gift that even the most corrupt of souls can aspire to sampling. The ability to make a change, in ones-self as well as others, is perhaps the beginning of wisdom. Of growing up and finding ones place in the world. And as the story reaches its epilogue the tired but protective figure of Superman watching over his Son seems to reinforce the point at work in Keith Champagne's scripting for the issue.

In spite of its visual unevenness, and some very rough scene shifts, Superman #30 does as the previous issue did and pleasantly surprises. It looks on the face of it to be nothing more than a tired and lazy rehash of Green Lantern concepts and overworked plots yes, but like some master chef at work Keith Champagne's deft weaving and scripting makes the best use of existing stock by using it to construct a rather neat character examination of the title character himself and use him to ask others why it is they can't aspire to be just like him... perhaps the end-story to the currently wounded and weary Parallax will be a coda to this example, perhaps even a being as fundamentally corrupt and amoral as Parallax can come to a point where it can examine its own best needs and ability to make self-sacrifice to finally make a choice, and change. Perhaps...

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