If you want to be lectured and manipulated into feeling bad about the world, grab this book. If you want Superman fighting bad guys and being the center of an intriguing and exciting adventure, filled with great characters and mysterious villains, then don’t.
This review of Superman: Red & Blue #1 contains some minor spoilers.
Superman: Red & Blue is ANOTHER anthology book from DC, this time featuring your favorite Kryptonian in five separate stories from different creative teams, and the hook here? The art is all red and blue, with some black and white.
The first story is from John Ridley with pictures by Clayton Henry. The story has no title, and we see sweaty-palmed Clark returning to Lubania to write a story on the troubled nation’s rise to being a financial worldwide powerhouse. However, we know that he’s really there due to a previous visit to the country that led to a disastrous confrontation as the regime’s scientists had discovered a low-grade Kryptonite variation that they use to catch Supes and throw him in a death camp. Apparently, he was trapped there for eight months, yes eight, and used as “a propaganda tool” against the West. It seems Batman eventually rescued him and now he’s back to exercise his demons, or something. Clark meets with the despot behind his torture and incarceration and interviews him, fantasizing about executing him on the spot, but he doesn’t, instead just deciding to leave and get on with his life. Yep, that’s the story. What a thrill ride.
The next story is by Brandon Easton and Steve Lieber and at least has a title, “The Measure of Hope”. Superman arrives at a funeral after receiving letters from Melvin Northridge whose mother is being buried. Turns out his mum was a drug addict, and at the funeral, Melvin explains his mum’s wish was to be buried in the stars, so he gives Superman the urn, that he takes into space and buries.
Wes Craig is on art and story for “The Boy Who Saved Superman”. In the early years of his career, Superman is knocked unconscious by an alien robot or something that has attacked Metropolis and is saved by young Abdi El-Kahl who drags him to safety then encourages him to wake up and defeat the villain. Young Abdi is from Mogadishu and lost his home in floods. He is determined to not let that happen again. At least there’s some action here.
An imp from the 5th dimension arrives on Earth to return the colors of our world that he had previously stolen, so the art is in black and white. Superman confronts it and we realize that there is no color in the world and Superman decides to slowly release the colors back. I know there’s an important message in here from writer Dan Waters and artist Dani.
Finally, we get “The School of Hard Knock Knock Jokes” from Marguerite Bennett and Jill Thompson. It’s Clark’s first day of Kindergarten, and Pa Kent tells him to tell knock-knock jokes as a way of making friends. At least the art here is nice but it looks like a children’s storybook.
So this is a card stock square-bound Superman comic book, that costs $5.99 and is pretty much just a kind of Aesop’s fables style of storytelling that reminds us of various life lessons because we are pretty much all horrible and need stories like this to lecture us in the most unsubtle way.
The trouble with books like this is the lecturing tone of the stories, presented to us by the most powerful alien in the Universe, who is used as a plot device to present the narrative. The book is aimed at 13 plus, but the stories should be aimed at a much younger age group. I cannot imagine any Superman fans getting anything from this as Superman is not the focus of this book at all. The lesson is.
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