Jonathan Glapion

New Super-Man Vol. 2: Coming to America (2017)

New Super-Man Vol. 2: Coming to AmericaComing to America collects six issues of New Super-Man. Three different two-parters. Coming to America is the middle one. No idea why they’d have picked it other than Eddie Murphy movie. It’s not the best of the two-parters. Might be the worst. Certainly does have the worst faces. Billy Tan pencils most of the issues, first and third arcs. Regular artist Viktor Bogdanovic does America and it’s lazy faces. No one has any personality in those issues. The expressions aren’t as bad as the lack of detail, but they’re not good. They made me–shudder–miss Tan (thinking he was Bogdanovic because I didn’t want New Super-Man to have art problems).

The middle story is also heavy on DC Rebirth continuity, which is a terribly mean thing to do. I want to avoid that nonsense like the plague. So having Lex and Superman Rebirth guest star doesn’t really do much for the comic. It’s kind of filler, just because writer Gene Luen Yang true desire seems to be introducing the New, Chinese Flash. And also because the relationship between Superman Rebirth and New Super-Man? There’s nothing special about it. It has no personality coming from either of them. Superman Rebirth is patient as Christ, New Super-Man is awestruck. Yawn.

But that brand crossover aside, everything else in Coming to America is a success for Yang. He doesn’t just build New Super-Man–Kenan–he also builds the other members of the JL China. Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman. They get this great arc together involving Bat-Man’s little sister and a nemesis. Excellent stuff. Yang seems to do better in pairs–Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman, then New Super-Man and New Flash.

The finale, which ends–quite frustratingly for a collection–on a big cliffhanger, has New Super-Man Zero returning. He’s the first attempt at a Chinese Super-Man and he’s far more powerful than Kenan. The real overarching story of this collection isn’t the Lex Luthor-funded trip to Metropolis, but Kenan’s relationship with his new mentor as he tries to unlock his superpowers. He’s got all the Superman powers, he just has a blocked qi. Once he’s able to unblock and properly channel his qi, Kenan gets some of the regular powers.

It seems like way too much of a plot device–which the artists integrate into the panels too, showing actual qi meters–but it always works out. Despite his obtuse arrogance, Kenan’s a great protagonist. His heart’s never too far away from the right place and the supporting cast ably brings him around.

Hopefully the art issues get resolved. Someone needs to tell Bogdanovic to slow down and take his time. Because, as distinct as Bogdanovic can be, the mood can be easily duplicated. Tan easily takes over the visuals on the comic. He’s more balanced than Bogdanovic, even if he’s bland. He’s consistent. Consistency is important.

Yang’s got a good pace throughout, he’s got a fantastic attention to character detail, he writes good action scenes. New Super-Man has it all.

CREDITS

Writer, Gene Luen Yang; pencillers, Billy Tan and Viktor Bogdanovic; inkers, Yanqiu Li, Haining, Jonathan Glapion, and Bogdanovic, and Tako Zhang; colorists, Yangfen Guo, Gadson, Michael Spicer, and Ying Zhan; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editors, Paul Kaminski and Eddie Berganza; publisher, DC Comics.

Reborn 1 (October 2016)

Reborn #1Highly derivative fantasy sci-fi afterlife tripe. An older woman dies and discovers she’s Amethyst, Reborn in a Terminator/LOTR knock-off fantasy world. Capullo’s dragon and dropship art is stronger than his people. Millar’s writing isn’t strong on anything. He even rips off some Watchmen here.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Greg Capullo; inker, Jonathan Glapion; colorist, FCO Plascencia; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Rachael Fulton; publisher, Image Comics.

Batman 3 (January 2012)

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Oh, Scott Snyder, you had me going–even through Bruce and his male love interest flirting while discussing the mystery–until you tried a hard cliffhanger with Batman dying.

Batman is not going to die this issue of Batman, Scott Snyder, and your readers know it.

Immediately preceding the cliffhanger is a series of nice pages–Batman finding these hidden “Owlman” lairs around the city, something the World’s Greatest Detective has missed his endire career–and the visuals work. It’s cool to see where the lairs are, how they look the same, how they look different. Up until the cliffhanger, this issue is an exercise in how to keep exposition lively.

Capullo still draws his fit gentleman exactly the same, except facial hair, and without much life. But Snyder’s multiple long dialogue sequences still work–the dialogue is strong (if long).

It’s neat, though the cliffhanger doesn’t reward the reader.

CREDITS

The Thirteenth Hour; writer, Scott Snyder; penciller, Greg Capullo; inker, Jonathan Glapion; colorist, FCO Plascencia; letterers, Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt; editors, Harvey Richards, Katie Kubert and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman and Robin 6 (January 2010)

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I do love this issue for Robin calling the flamboyantly gay South American toreador gay.
Or whatever Morrison named his second original villain for the series.

The rest?

Not wild about it.

Batman and Robin get their butts kicked, again. Morrison gets in some meta-textual references to Jason Todd’s resurrection (nothing about Bucky though) as it compares to the soon-to-be resurrected Bruce Wayne. It’s not particularly useful and is painfully obvious.

I’m also a little confused about Robin heading back to a Lazarus pit for his medical treatment (he got shot five times in the back). If he can just get resurrected over and over, what’s the point in putting him in dangerous situations?

And if Tan’s art was bad before, it’s really awful this time. It was so ugly I had to check the credits, because it’s beyond the banal mainstream he’d done the last issues.

CREDITS

Revenge of the Red Hood, Part Three: Flamingo is Here; writer, Grant Morrison; penciller, Philip Tan; inker, Jonathan Glapion; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Janelle Siegel and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman and Robin 5 (December 2009)

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Ok, what? I’m a little groggy or whatever, but why can Jason Todd’s untrained sidekick beat up Damian? Wasn’t he trained by the League of Assassins? It just seems silly.

This issue is the first one in the series where it doesn’t feel like Morrison’s got a hold of what he’s doing–Batman and Robin is supposed to be a quality mainstream book. With the Tan art, it feels mainstream all right, but there’s not so much in the way of quality. The writing’s fine, but it’s all soulless.

Take, for example, the Jason Todd and sidekick breather scene. What does Jason Todd look like out of costume? Some broken down bad guy. Morrison portrays him as completely nuts, the sidekick too, which makes them really boring when it becomes to the dramatics. The Penguin’s far more interesting….

Having the Red Hood be internet-savvy doesn’t make everything all right.

Having the Red Hood be internet-savvy doesn’t make everything all right.

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Revenge of the Red Hood, Part Two: Scarlet; writer, Grant Morrison; penciller, Philip Tan; inker, Jonathan Glapion; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Janelle Siegel and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman and Robin 4 (November 2009)

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Philip Tan’s an interesting choice for Batman and Robin. He’s absent any personality, which actually doesn’t hurt the book during the Red Hood’s scenes. Morrison’s characterization of Jason Todd is as a complete nutjob lamer, which works pretty well. He also seems like he’s ready to get creepy with his underage sidekick.

There are two excellent things in this issue. First is Dick Grayson trying to play Bruce Wayne at a charity function. It’s endearing and entertaining (though I wish Morrison had let Damian a little more lose amongst the society types). The second thing is Batman and Robin on stakeout together. Again, endearing and entertaining, without losing the edge Morrison’s established for the series.

The rest of the issue is either action, crime boss talk (which offers some hints at the first arc’s secret villain) and the Red Hood. Those scenes don’t matter too much. They’re epical, not sublime.

CREDITS

Revenge of the Red Hood, Part One: Red Right Hand; writer, Grant Morrison; penciller, Philip Tan; inker, Jonathan Glapion; colorist, Pete Pantazis; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Janelle Siegel and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.

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