Superman Annual #1 / Detective Comics #945

edited December 2016 in Catalog Reviews 4 LikesVote Down
These 2 contrasting issues, the latest for their respective titles, represent, for me, one of the worst features of today's comics, along with what I can only hope is a harbinger of future trends.

If there is one word that can be used to describe the state of today's sequential story art, it is "decompression," -- the use of fewer, larger panels of art, along with an increasingly sparse use of written words to fill a comic book. The result is a reading experience that lasts, maybe, all of 2 minutes, barely (if at all) furthers the story arc, and tends to leave one wondering, "What did I just spend 3 or 4 dollars for?" (or, in the case of the Superman Annual, $5).

Superman Annual #1 is (ostensibly) a 40-page story in which we are treated to no less than 6 full-page, and 3 double-page spreads, and most of the other pages are broken up into only a few panels, or are full-page spreads containing an inset or two.


All told, this 40 page story contained 1063 words (not conting all the AAAAARGHs and its various iterations), and it read like an 8-page backup story.

In stark contrast, Detective #945 was a veritable "War and Piece." Only 2 of the 20 pages were given over to splashy art, and the second example shown still provided a fair amount of text to go with it.


Over the course of this issue, JT4 really delivers, in fleshing out characters and developing plot, to the tune of 2075 words, in total. That is virtually double the word count in half the pages of the Superman Annual.


While I am sure there will be those readers who criticize the issue for being too cluttered with text (and I can appreciate the argument), I would much rather read a book like this, rather than one that leaves me asking, "Where's the beef?".

The best part of Detective #945, though, is the feature that immediately caught my eye, when I spotted it on the new-issue rack. Being an old-school kind of guy, I have often lamented to myself the fact that today's covers are all given over to splashy art (many times bearing no relation to the story), and an interminable number of variants bearing no relation to the title, much less the story.

This cover not only recreates a panel from within the story, it bears something, the likes of which I cannot recall seeing since my "good old days" of reading comics: word balloons.


I have been enjoying DC's Rebirth, and while I have my quibbles with some of it (how many Green Lanterns does Earth need?), the core of the line - Action/Superman, Batman/Detective, and Wonder Woman (too bad DC didn't keep Sensation as WW's alternate title, to tell the 2nd story) - has me looking forward to the new issues in a way I haven't in almost 50 years.



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