The Comic Book Club: Iron Man #500, Supergirl and Wolverine/Jubilee

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EVAN: There’s something more “European” about Bernard Chang’s artwork in Supergirl #60. The detailing in the inking, maybe, or the body language of the characters. I’m not sure just how to elaborate on it, but it works with Nick Spencer’s approach to playing inside a superhero world. The plot idea here has the earmarks of that deconstruct-then-reconstruct thing that seems to be so decidely British.

The hero-spotting Flyover app is a clever, clever thing. It might be too of-the-moment but I found myself enjoying the fresh angle it put on things. Same with the kid jumping off the building just so Kara would save him. Spencer seemed all geared up to do a big, from-the-ground-up arc on Supergirl, which makes the reports that this run’s been killed in its crib all the more puzzling. My only complaint about the issue is that ’tweren’t quite enough Supergirl in it for me, but surely he was going to get to that in future issues.

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DOUGLAS: Which now, of course, he isn’t: this is the only issue he’s (co-)writing. Spencer’s got a lot on his plate right now–the aforementioned Iron Man 2.0, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Morning Glories (which also came out this week), whatever other Image miniseries he’s doing, the Jimmy Olsen serial-oops-we-meant-one-shot, etc. And Supergirl really seems to be a hot potato of a book; aside from the Gates/Igle run, it’s mostly been a creative musical-chairs book from the get-go, hasn’t it? I can see why, if Spencer had to drop something, it’d be this: as you note, there’s not a lot of Supergirl herself in it, and there’s not really an indication that he’s got much of an affinity for her: this is a Metropolis/Daily Planet story that just happens to have Supergirl dropped in for a couple of fight scenes.

And yes, Flyover is clever, although I think I’d have enjoyed it more as a bit of background business than as a HERE IS THE PLOT WE ARE DOING SUPERGIRL AS “THE SOCIAL NETWORK” DO YOU SEE thing. Also, if I’m remembering correctly, Lois’s big “newsworthy” revelation was the premise of every story Project Cadmus has appeared in in the past 23 years.

GRAEME: Yeah, the “Social Network” thing is really heavy-handed – Isn’t it actually called out in the dialogue at one point? – but it still works as an idea, in part because Flyover is such a great idea… better, I think than the “Superheroes are holding humanity back” one, which we’ve seen countless times before, especially in relation to Superman.

You’re also right that the Project Cadmus story is pretty much the only Project Cadmus story we ever see, Douglas. Also, someone needs to be an editor over at DC, because Cadmus was shut down and dismantled during the Robinson/Gates/Rucka era of the Superman books, as far as I remember. I wonder if we’ll see Dubbilex, who was killed at the same time, just to reinforce that those stories have been undone?

Overall, it’s a fun enough story, with good art – Chang’s Supergirl double-page splash is lovely, and really following on from the work he was doing with Wonder Woman and the New Krypton stuff for Superman – but it’s not really a SUPERGIRL story just yet, and I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen without Spencer.

EVAN: Man, I really liked Wolverine and Jubilee #1 more than I was expecting to. The vampire nonsense in the recent X-books seemed the height of trendy foolishness, but Kathryn Immonen ties down one little piece of it to really great effect. Much of what makes this book work is the characterizations: an even-tempered Wolverine, a bitchy yet non-evil Emma Frost, and the soap-opera angst of the younger X-Men. It doesn’t feel as histrionic as the X-Men can sometimes feel.

That this comes through a story focused on Jubilee is especially great. Once you got past the giggles of the way her character design riffed on Robin, she was kind of a throwaway character. To me, anyway. Making her a slightly vampiric rageaholic doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, as it gives opportunity to have her characterization become a little bit more mature and self-aware.

But, man, Phil Noto’s interiors are insane! I don’t remember the last time I saw him do sequential art, but his storytelling and draftmanship are amazing. The scenes he renders are by equal turns glamorous, gory and tense, filled with great facial expressions and effective color. Amazing stuff.

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DOUGLAS: Noto’s been doing lots of interior art, just mostly on low-profile projects, which seems weird given his obvious talents–he did that Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom miniseries in 2009, last year’s Batman/Doc Savage one-shot, an issue of the World’s Finest miniseries, and most recently the Avengers: The Origin miniseries with Joe Casey.

I’ve liked just about everything Kathryn Immonen’s been writing at Marvel–her Hellcat miniseries was super-fun, and Heralds was a very interestingly ambitious mess. (And I haven’t gotten to read her Pixie Strikes Back mini, but I like the character so much from her brief scene here that now I want to.) I have a hard time following a lot of the X-titles, but I latched right on to this one: a limited cast, a specific scenario, the kind of story that there’s not room for in one of the big ensemble X-books but that connects directly to them rather than being a sort of “oh man who haven’t we done a mini with lately? Colossus!” kind of scenario.

GRAEME: Add me to the lovefest. I seriously disliked the story that this spins out of, which just seemed like a mess unlike almost any other but, like Douglas, have loved Kathryn Immonen’s other work (including her sadly canceled Runaways run), so had mild hopes for this that she easily surpassed. She has a great take on character, and manages to make everyone here someone that I want to read more of, even Wolverine. Noto’s art is amazing, especially his coloring, which is more understated yet more present than a lot of his other work – this really is a surprise, but it’s the book of the week for me.

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