Thursday, August 25, 2011

80-Page Thursdays: Superman, "I, Witness"

During the Comic Book Shop's 23rd anniversary sale, I picked up a nice pile of 80-pagers on the cheap, so we'll take this next month or so to look one every Thursday. Today, Superman 80-Page Giant #3 from 2000: "I, Witness." Written by Jay Faerber, with art by Yvel Guichet and Walden Wong, Ron Lim and Joe Rubinstein, Paul Ryan and Joe Rubinstein, Justiniano and Chris Ivy, Sunny Lee and Walden Wong, Mark Bagley and Scott Hanna, and Carlos Barberi and Keith Champagne. (A couple inkers did more than one chapter.) With a nice Kevin Nowlan cover.

Like the recent Question Quarterly issue we looked at, this is a Rashomon Style story--or so it seems. Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lex Luthor are among the attendees of a museum gala that is crashed by something. After a security guard discovers the thing is bulletproof, Superman arrives to fight the monster and try to protect the bystanders. At one point, Superman is knocked outside and lands on Luthor's car, then the thing escapes while Supes keeps a wall from collapsing.

However, none of the accounts they give the police agree on much else: the monster is noticeably different in each version. Superman and Perry both see lizard-like giants, but their descriptions don't match. Jimmy sees a Gundam-style robot, and Lois sees "an Amazon or something. You know the type--all musclebound and ugly." Do you suppose that says something about how Lois sees Wonder Woman?

After Lex's account, where the thing is basically a big alien bunny rabbit innocently trying to escape from the big bully Superman, even taking into account everyone's personal bias, it's obvious they all saw something different. Interestingly, while both Clark and Lois tell their versions like Clark was with the bystanders (when he was Superman at the time) Jimmy and Lex both have Clark in the background in their stories, where they would assume he would be. (Being a more astute observer, Perry at least noticed Clark saying he was going for help early on.)

Lois and Jimmy do a little detective work, and find the villain of the piece; which I don't want to spoil, even if this issue's GCD entry does! Look, he was on Thursday's Who's Who at Mighty God King's, so click away if you wanna know. The reveal almost works...but not quite. For one, just based on that Who's Who entry, the character doesn't have the juice for this (he's described as only being able to affect eight people at once, for example) and it's not like it's anyone you would've guessed, either. (It's kinda like the Mysterio reveal in Kevin Smith's Daredevil: it makes sense on all the 'how' points, but not the 'why.')

Still, the villain reveal notwithstanding, this is mostly an excuse for different artists to do some Superman, and it works on that front.

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