ART: Kenneth Rocafort
"What started out as mild scientific curiosity has become a matter of life and death!"
Oh my god, Scott Lobdell.
Scott Lobdell, oh my god.
The above quote might possibly be one of the absolute worst lines of dialogue I've ever read in a comic book. That's saying something with the sheer amount of content out there. Then again, Scott Lobdell is not one for subtlety. In fact, he seems stubbornly against the idea that he should write as if a normal person were speaking, instead content to pen words that feel like an old man - obviously out of his comfort zone - trying to be witty, retro, and modern all at the same time, only to come up short in every department...oh, wait.
Honestly, I don't know what Scott Lobdell should be writing. His penchant for writing inexplicably blunt and wooden doesn't seem to have a place in modern comic books outside throwback stories meant to resemble books from the 1950s and 60s. He certainly shouldn't be writing Teen Titans, Superboy, or Superman, the first two of which he helmed for the past year, and the latter of which he's just been given.
Superman #0 is painful. So painful, in fact, that I found it hard to actually read the entire issue. Lobdell had a chance with this prequel issue to start things off right with his run on Superman, and he squanders it just as badly as he did with Superboy and the Teen Titans (but, strangely enough, not like Red Hood and The Outlaws, which has been uncharacteristically good under Lobdell's watch). Superman's parents are part of the Kryptonian elite, a class that resembles our own humanly aristocracy from the Victorian era through the early 20th century. I get what Lobdell is trying to do, but in trying to write the citizens of Krypton like upper class snobs, he's made them all read like morons who just learned the finer points of diction and syntax and decided to have a field day. "So pensive you are tonight, Jor,", "...everyone within a three-arc radius of the CRC are, simply put, no more," and, "I would like to think that our days spent discussing continuum particle theory and our sweat-soaked nights spent on the magma cliffs of Corga had a...lasting impression," are just some of the outlandishly terrible lines littering these pages.
One of the biggest draws to Superman #0 was the supposed reintroduction of Oracle, the moniker taken by Barbara Gordon when she was paralyzed by the Joker and confined to a wheelchair. But of course, Lobdell makes readers froth at the mouth for nothing, and gives us some alien behemoth capable of blowing the weird extraterrestrial horn first seen in Superman #1. Sure, it gives a bit more credence to the horn's significance in the greater DC context, but as a 'cool twist' at the end of this terrible, terrible issue, it's so much more of a letdown than anything else. The only saving grace for this issue - and I'm assuming subsequent issues - is Kenneth Rocafort's art, which has always been good in Red Hood and The Outlaws, and continues to be quality work here in Superman.
I don't even want to keep writing about this issue. Such a fail.