SUPERMAN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW? THE DELUXE EDITION (DC, 2009; Hardcover)
Collects Action Comics No. 583, Superman No. 423, DC Comics Presents No. 85, and Superman Annual No. 11 (cover dates September, 1985- September, 1986)
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Curt Swan, Dave Gibbons, Rick Veitch, George Perez, Kurt Schaffenberger, and Al Williamson
D to the O to the H spells D'OH! I bought this because I thought Wow, all of Alan Moore's Superman stories in one convenient package! What a great idea! Turns out that all of these stories seemed a might bit familiar, so I went and looked in ye olde collection file, and wouldn't you know it...I have not only read these stories before but already own them in the DC Universe: The Stories Of Alan Moore trade paperback from 2006. Oh well, I guess that I doubled my reading enjoyment by buying them all again. This has served as an object lesson as to why I need to better organize my collection file. My wife is going to convert my ancient Word file into a database so that this never happens again.
I could certainly have done worse in terms of making a purchasing blunder. Having a cream of the crop writer like Alan Moore coupled with top artistic talent across four outstanding stories in a deluxe oversized hardcover doesn't exactly suck. Often times my love of Moore's work becomes outshined by his endless business shenanigans and criticisms of the industry. At the core of it, beneath the bile and perceived and real backstabbings, are some great comic books by a great writer. I don't think that anyone can read the touching two-part farewell story Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? from Action Comics #583 and Superman #423 and not be moved on some level. Just think how many trade paperback arcs today's star writers could milk out of those two issues. Moore never gives you a chance to catch your breath here and I love it.
|This panel, ALONE, is why Man of Steel (the 2013 film) stinks. Moore gets it that Superman shouldn't kill people.|
A quick recap for those who don't know: DC was rebooting it's universe in 1986, the first major reboot that they had ever attempted in an effort to streamline their continuity and make their books more new reader friendly. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Anyhow, DC decided to try and tie up all of the loose ends by doing a “last” Superman story one month prior to the reboot, and Moore got to write it.
The Superman and Swamp Thing team-up from DC Comics Presents No. 85 is another winner. As in so many Moore superhero stories, he seems to have the seeds of what he wants to do with the story and the superheroes are props or bit characters no more or less important to the outcome than anyone else. This is fascinating to me. Moore's run on Swamp Thing (widely available in both trade paperbacks and hardcovers) is fantastic as well, for those of you who may not have read it.
Finally, we get the battle with Mongul in Superman Annual No. 11, this time with Wonder Woman, Batman, and Robin (2- Jason Todd) saving the day. Dave Gibbons provides some stellar artwork there, and I look forward to reading the Green Lantern: Sector 2814 trade paperbacks for more of his 1980s goodness. I guess he did the artwork in some other book that Alan Moore wrote called Watchmen. Never heard of it. Must have stunk.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is one of the DC Deluxe Edition hardcovers, their answer to the Marvel oversized hardcover and the Marvel Premiere Classic line.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Paul Kupperburg introduction from the original 1997 Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? trade paperback.
Linework and Color restoration rating: 4 out of 5. The integrity of the original linework is excellent. While the original color palette is maintained, it has many liberal interpretations and “improvements” including but not limited to gradient shading and select recoloring of things such as people in the background, etc. It's not bad but at all; in fact, it looks pretty darn good. I am a purist, though, and rate these things as a purist would. Your mileage may vary.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Beautiful, thick uncoated stock paper with zero glare. Why DC couldn't use paper of this quality in all of their hardcovers is beyond me. The high gloss stock that they use these days makes classic material look garish, like the crappy paper Marvel used on classic collections a decade ago. The thin mando paper that they were using on books wasn't good either. This paper stock feels like something of quality.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding. This is a relatively thin book, so it's not a big deal.
Hardback cover coating rating: 1 out of 5. This has a weird, odd, gross rubbery feel to the cover. Given the choice between this and the non-existent coating found on their modern day hardcovers, I would sadly take the uncoated boards.