Search This Blog

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Comic Book Review: Superman: 'For The Man Who Has Everything'

 "For The Man Who Has Everything"
Written by Alan Moore
Illustrated by Dave Gibbons
Published by DC Comics

Before Alan Moore alienated himself away from DC Comics, he was on a roll writing the greatest comic book novels we could ever imagine and  literally "owned" every other writer back then. And in 1986, he did some of the best superhero stories, including this one which was published in Superman Annual # 11.

It is Superman's birthday, so Wonder Woman and Batman together with Robin (Jason Todd) decided to go to the Fortress of Solitude to greet the Man of Steel and surprise him with some gifts. Instead, they were the ones surprised with great horror as they see Clark in a state of limbo, with an alien plant on his chest, wrapped around his torso.

Apparently, this is the doing of the evil alien known as Mongul, and as he shows himself to the heroes, he explains what is the thing that has caused Superman to go in to a coma state: the plant is known as "Black Mercy" and it basically creates a very realistic dreamworld for the host based on his/her's deepest desires - and in Superman's case: he is living on Krypton with his father Jor-El and Lara very much alive, and he's also got a loving wife and two kids - a dream he is having trouble to let go.

From there, its up to Wonder Woman, Batman, and Robin to figure out everything and hope that they could save their friend before Mongul kills them all and continues on with his plans of conquering the world.

Just like their 1986 magnum opus Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons gives an extremely detailed story with them showing a lot of Krypton's rich history. Moore delivers a very innovative story that transcends the superhero despite not having a lot of room for more creative angles, mainly because of the restraints the superhero genre puts a writer into. And though this is clearly not his best stories - not as good as his previous novels like the aforementioned Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, and From Hell to name a few - he is still able to put forth a story that has a lot of muscle in it, but at the same time, also intellectually and emotionally entertaining.

Dave Gibbons as usual does his thing here and his work is not something that I'm not really surprised with because he just does the art department so good that you can't complain. He knows how to really pay attention to every detail necessary in order to bring Moore's dialogue and story into life. I would say that Alan Moore is really lucky because he got to work with artists such as Gibbons who are able to think in the same way as him and who is able recreate his vision into something visually compelling.

An example of Moore and Gibbons' genius is shown in this particular panel where Superman battles Mongul with his back against the wall. Superman is not known to hurt anybody using his "heat vision", but in this panel ,he delivers some nice, bad-ass dialogue before blasting Mongul with fiery energy from his eyes:

That's some fucking good badassery right there. Superman doesn't has to be cute all the time, and Moore and Gibbons' understood that. (Now if only Zack Snyder could do this in his upcoming Man of Steel movie).

Another panel I really liked is the very last page of the book. Gibbons' gives us a Where's Waldo kind of  portrait, with him drawing a lot of familiar DC characters and inserting some long-haired and heavy bearded guy somewhere in it: fucking Alan Moore himself. Can you find him and name all the characters in this image? :

"Where is Alan Moore?"

Finally, though this whole thing is really really good and is one of the greatest Superman stories ever told in my opinion, that doesn't mean that there isn't one questionable panel to say the least. Like this one where Wonder Woman finally revealed her gift to Superman:

Fuck this.

Tell me if that doesn't tell anything that deserves to be in "The Greatest Whore/Douchebag Moments In Comic Book History". Just look at Batman and Robin's facial twitches.

Finally, for those who don't know Alan Moore and is interested of reading this works, let me tell you this: if there are two things that you should understand about the guy, that would be (1) he is a  genius;  (2) he has contributed a lot more for the comic book industry THAN ANY OTHER creator or writer alive now or has lived on God's green earth; and finally (3) he's never going to work for the industry again. 

1 comment:

  1. The kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman in that panel doesn't seem to belong ANYWHERE near a "greatest whore/douchebag in comic book history" list, because Wonder Woman, like always, was desiring Superman. She always has, since the old comics, and even admitted it in The Lightning Saga.