Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gods And Monsters: Superman

Gods And Monsters: Superman
Written by J.M. DeMatteis and Bruce Timm
Artwork by Moritat

I never been a fan of Superman. I enjoyed the latest reboot of the Man of Steel but overall, I think his character is shallow and boring. I think John Byrne's retcon of him in the late eighties was awesome but it's because it was Byrne. So picking up this version of Superman was a huge risk for me. Let me say that I enjoyed it thoroughly.

This time, the man of steel is Hernan Guerra. He was raised by Mexican migrant workers. He learns about economic exploitation and racism very early. His worldview is much different than Clark Kent's. I have always felt that even though Kent was raised by farmers, there was too much privilege in his character. Guerra enjoys none of that. At the same time, the Guerra family did not allow Hernan to display his powers but he did anyway. This is much more realistic to me then the Kents. Children are children and they are going to test the waters as much as they can. Hernan does so as much as possible especially when it meant helping his community.

The story is told through the eyes of his big sister, Valentina. They are very close and their bond is evident. An accident that causes Valentina to be confined to a wheelchair has a tremendous impact on young Hernan since he feels he is the cause of it. From that point on, Hernan is troubled. After being harassed by a white mob, Hernan takes matters into his own hands. This was the point of no return. Hernan leaves his family and travels the world helping people as he sees fit.

This reimagining of Superman is a move violent one. I would not say “darker,” because despite how he becomes, it's clear that he loved his family who took great care of him. His mother was a faithful and optimistic woman as is his sister. Hernan just didn't see eye to eye with them. He sees injustice and feels that it should be dealt with swiftly and harshly. There are moments where we see Superman being hugged by children and consistently seeing his sister in the victims he saves.

The artwork by Moritat is dope. I am unfamiliar with Moritat and hope to see more of him in the future. I enjoy the emotion the artwork captures: the angry flashes, the loving eyes, etc. I think the best detail is when we see Superman use his heat vision. It is so precise and clean. Overall, the story is fresh and interesting. I do plan on reading this and the other Gods and Monsters story. I want to see how this Superman interacts with other super beings.

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