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Cape & Cowl On Full Display In PUBLIC ENEMIES

  • Nov 19, 2010
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Don't you just love it when two great athletes team up?

Batman and Superman have been around for decades. Two of the main reasons people still read comics today, these two icons have appeared in -- literally -- thousands of stories ... facing threats to themselves ... challenging threats to world peace ... and making the world safe for the rest of us at the risk to their own personal safety.

However, PUBLIC ENEMIES -- under the guidance of Jeph Loeb -- takes the old and makes it new, bringing a remarkable freshness to characters who have seen some great days and, undoubtedly, have greater ones to come.

A huge meteor is hurtling across space, taunting the destruction of the planet Earth. No big deal, you say? Just send Superman into space to knock the rock off its trajectory? While it sounds like a good idea, you have to remember that the author of this work is Jeph Loeb, arguably one of the best minds working in comics today (and, for those of you in the know, he's also a consultant for the WB's hit SMALLVILLE): this meteor is a hunk from the planet Krypton ... making it Kryptonite ... and meaning that Superman is absolutely powerless against it! Its radiation threatens the survival of the entire planet, and only these two superminds and supertalents combined can find a way to save the day and put right all that has been thrown into chaos since Lex Luther was elected President of the United States.

What? Lex Luthor? President?

Clearly, PUBLIC ENEMIES is not necessarily a great 'jumping on' point for new readers. There may be some resulting confusion due to storylines hinted at that occured before this tome (Lex Luthor's election as President of the United States, Luthor's attempt to wrest control of Gotham City from billionaire Bruce Wayne, Commissioner James Gordon's retirement from the police force, etc.), but these hints serve moreso as nods to other great Batman and Superman stories for the newcomer to go and explore. Also, ENEMIES is replete -- one may argue too much so -- with guest appearances (Captain Atom, Major Force, Solomon Grundy, **drool** the lovely Power Girl, etc.) from the whole pantheon of DC villains and superheroes ... so many that that the final showdown between Luthor and Superman does feel a bit rushed to get this entire story told in what was originally six issues of the new Batman/Superman comic book, but that's a minor critique easily dismissed thanks to the strength of Loeb's work. The real magic of PUBLIC ENEMIES is that it should be considered on its own and of its own merits ... of which there are (thankfully) plenty.

Also, Ed McGuinness deserves a nod for delivering some stunning artwork to back up Loeb's epic storyline. The drawings are crisp and fluid, the coloring is dynamite and eye-popping, and the layout is exceptional.

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More Superman/Batman Vol. 1: Public... reviews
review by . March 05, 2007
In this volume Superman and Batman team up to fight Superman's arch nemesis, Lex Luthor. In the chronology of this particular storyline, Luthor was elected President of the United States. Unbeknownst to the public, he has also continued his various secret schemes and projects to rid the world of Superman and control the world. When a huge kryptonian asteroid threatens to hit Earth, Luthor blames it on Superman and orders a federal warrant for his arrest and sends a team of superheroes to bring Superman …
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In Public Enemies, a huge remnant of Superman's home planet, Krypton, menaces Earth. Lex Luthor, U.S. president in current Superman stories, accuses the Man of Steel of complicity in the threat and commissions a squadron of superheroes to bring him in. Writer Loeb, known for thoughtful takes on the early days of superhero icons, crafts a generally typical, if uncommonly elaborate, story, replete with the high-powered brawling characteristic of the genre.

The most distinctive touch is Loeb's use of captions conveying the thoughts of the heroes as they battle, contrasting Batman's dark vengefulness and Superman's straight-arrow decency. Ed McGuinness' artwork--vaguelymanga-inspired but much more detailed--is well-suited to the tale's kinetics but doesn't do much for quiet moments, which are few and far between, anyway.

Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.
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ISBN-10: 1401202209
ISBN-13: 978-1401202200
Author: Jeph Loeb
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: DC Comics
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