DCAU #363: 22 Stories in a Single Bound

IN THIS ONE... 22 stories in 22 pages.

CREDITS: Written by Mark Millar; art by Ty Templeton, Joe Staton, Neil Vokes, Bret Blevins, Min Ku, Cameron Stewart, Mike Manley, Craig Rousseau, Rick Burchett, Darwyn Cooke, Aluir Amancio, Philip Bond, and Terry Austin.

REVIEW: I respect the experiment, but it falls a little flat in execution. Maybe it's that alternating artists doesn't much matter when they're all following the same house style. Maybe it's that three of the stories feature Mxyzptlk, when he's been in two of the last three issues as well. Maybe it's just that few are actually worth telling. Not all set-ups lead to great gags.

I might have been interested in seeing each story really be a Superman story - how do you tell a short short Superman tale - but the easier angle (and one I do like) is to feature Superman's supporting cast and villains, so long as the stories are ABOUT the Man of Steel. Retelling the origin story is strictly padding, for example, and the Lex Luthor story isn't really anything we haven't seen on the show.

And yet, there are some pretty nice, and even outstanding, pages in here. I present my favorite below ("While You Were Sleeping"), but I could name several others, mostly from the first half of the issue, peering into Darkseid's psychology, or making Jimmy believe he beat up a crook all by himself, or Lois not getting rescued for once, or the clever but traditional Superman short on page 2. The cleverness does tend to peter out after page 12, however, with silly jokes about Professor Hamilton making coffee and Bibbo telling tall tales (that one could have worked, but isn't clear). By necessity, a thing of parts, and the parts average out in the middle.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: Superman has had bouts of uncontrollable heat vision a number of times, most notably in Action Comics #558 (pre-Crisis), and #698 (post-Crisis). The Jimmy Olsen story is called "Mr. Action" in honor of his more heroic pre-Crisis persona that went by that name in a few issues of his own book and Superman Family.

REREADABILITY: Medium - I thought the structural experiment would be interesting, but most of the stories are slim vignettes or silly jokes.

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