Last week, it was discovered that Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. would be taking over one of the Superman title(s?), an announcement I found a bit synchonous considering my recent posts on the Superman titles and the resulting discussion in the comments section of this blog.
This news raised an eyebrow from me on several levels:
1) John Romita doesn't really strike me as a good fit for Superman. His art style is a bit grittier than one typically associates with Superman. He would be better for a Batman book, wouldn't he?
2) The bit about this being a soft reset sounds like Johns is saying Morrison/Perez botched the DC 52 relaunch of Superman, so he's coming in to save it.
3) Is Johns the right guy for Superman? His previous turns on the title didn't really ignite the internet into a buying frenzy.
4) The comments on ComicsBeat.com suggest this won't be the slam dunk DC thinks it is going to be.
I emailed my concerns to documented Superman fan and FBU columnist MattComix and he managed to talk me off the ledge a bit. This is what he said:
I don't think any artist can save that costume.
1. I agree that JR Jr. is miscast here. Then again, having the art team from 90's Punisher War Zone comics on Superman looks pretty much in line with DC's current modus operandi. Not to say that Superman should always be drawn from the Byrne or Garcia Lopez school of art but I do think he's a character who generally works better with a cleaner look and line. Though I could see someone who had been a fan of Jon Bogdanove being into a JR Jr. Superman.
2) He says "reset" but he may just be talking about setting the stage for whatever it is they're going to do rather than backtracking from stuff that's been established as part of his Nu52 concept and origin. One of the problems New 52 has is that it's the same people doing the same stuff only now with pop collars and visible seams.The same basic philosophy is still driving the line, the reboot just let them apply it to the past as well as the present.
3. If nothing else I think Geoff does have a sincere love of the character. But sadly that is not something that is likely to curb the usual gratuitous aspects of his work. Also, he's had Aquaman leading a z grade super team called The Others hasn't he? Maybe Superman will get his own called Those Guys.
4. I don't think that the reaction on ComicsBeat is a indicator of how the comic will ultimately do. Besides DC's standards for a success don't seem to really extend beyond getting in enough of the direct market fans to make it defensible as one.
I think Matt has a good point in that my reaction to the news was a tad too negative. I still have my doubts about this team, but I'll pick up the first issue.