I am a huge Azzarello fan, but this was very disappointing. He is known for noir and grit, so think was too tentative with Superman. Frankly, it is an overly-pensive, boring story, and not his style. Meanwhile 100 Bullets and his work on Batman were spot-on.
Not a bad Superman story. This is the combination of the vol 1 and 2 published in 2005.
One thing that many people don't get about Superman is that he can't solve all his problems by punching them. The most powerful man on earth sometimes is powerless to solve the planet's true problems. Early in this story, we see this as Superman tries to stop a warlord from taking over an African nation, only to find that from the people's point of view, the usurper is a hero. This story shows the flawed side of Superman, that even a man has powerful as he can make mistakes. The book's main issue is in the art department making characters look too similar (notably a priest looking almost exactly like the Man of Steel) and strange pacing in dialog where characters seems jarring, creating a more intimidating tone than what was intended. Still, an interesting Superman story shines through and shows why he can be such a fascinating character.
Great Artwork & Storyline.
Jim Lee outdoes himself with the art for this unexpectedly sombre and grim story. Unfortunately, Azzarello puts things off-balance by having Superman act out of character: confessing to a priest (who, strangely, closely resembles him, for no obvious reason), intervening in a war, even slapping Wonder Woman! Worse, Azzarello's writing tics grow tiresome. For example, the dialogue is so truncated it seems to have been written for the stage -- characters are constantly finishing each other's sentences or asking ironic questions. There's something good in the sci-fi premise that underlies the plot, but the thread gets lost in the telling.
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