Tangent: Superman’s Reign #1

by Timothy Callahan, Columnist/Reviewer |

Story by
Dan Jurgens
Art by
Matthew Clark, Jesse Delperdang
Colors by
Dom Regan
Letters by
Steve Wands
Cover by
Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino
Publisher
DC Comics
Cover Price
$2.99 (USD)
Release Date
Mar 19th, 2008

Thu, March 20th, 2008 at 8:40PM (PDT)


I liked this comic far more than I expected.

I didn’t read a single issue of the "Tangent" event from a decade ago, and I didn’t read the "Ion" issues that brought those characters back. I did read the "Justice League of America" Issue that led into this series, but that certainly didn’t give me any confidence that this was going to be anything special.

And I’ve never been a fan of Dan Jurgens. Well, that’s not exactly true. I was a big fan of his work on "Booster Gold" when I was a selfish, petulant teenager and I liked reading about a selfish, petulant superhero who wore white suit jackets with pastel shirts. But I associate his "Superman" run with the worst excesses of ‘90s comics, and I haven’t recovered from that bias.

But "Tangent: Superman’s Reign" #1 might help to snap me out of it, and if the rest of the series is as good as this first issue, I think I’ll be once again riding the train to Dan Jurgens-is-pretty-awesomeville.

It helps that he’s got Matthew Clark penciling this comic. Clark’s the only reason I bothered to read the issue in the first place, honestly. I loved the expressive linework he brought to Sean McKeever’s "Inhumans" series a few years back, and his issues of "The Outsiders" were the only ones worth reading. He’s capable of raising the level of the most mediocre story, and one flip through this comic will tell you why. He can do superhero bombast with dynamic intensity and then switch to moody, ominous sadness within the space of a page flip. It’s rare to see an artist so able to go so big and so subtle and keep a consistent look, but he does it well.

In "Tangent: Superman’s Reign" #1, we see the twisted, dying vestiges of an alternate reality where heroes like the Atom, Green Lantern, Batman, and Flash exist, but not in any familiar form. These aren’t parallel versions of the familiar DC characters, they are completely reimagined creations, similar in name only. Maybe I’m a sucker for superhero deconstruction, but seeing these alternate reality heroes in disarray�"broken or dead�"makes me want to keep reading. Jurgens doesn’t seem to be writing any sort of commentary on the superhero genre, but the story of these sad, fallen heroes intrigues me.

I’m curious to find out more about this Tangent universe, and I never thought I’d say that.