When the Helspont/Daemonite story wrapped up in ‘Superman’ #8, I thought we were done with this tripe. Apparently we weren’t.
This (sadly) oversized annual issue opens on the Dremo homeworld. Prince Artus’ wife has just died in childbirth. Since they were Daemonites, this should not have occurred. Artus goes before his mother, the Queen, to tell her that the Daemonite bloodline has weakened. The Queen will not listen to his warnings and casts him out… but not before he vows to return the Daemonites to their rightful place as conquerors of the universe.
Cut to Clark Kent prepping for work. Clark’s not dealing very well with living with his new roommate, the extremely messy and lazy Jimmy Olsen. Almost as soon as Clark arrives at work, a dark shadow falls over the Daily Planet. It’s a massive spaceship! And on board the ship? Helspont… I. Really. Hate. This. Character.
The rest of the issue involves recapping the Wildstorm setup. Helspont has Daemonites hiding among humanity in disguise. The story tries to toss in a boring conspiracy and involves Stormwatch (another team that I don’t like), Starfire, Grifter, and Hawkman… but it all just falls flat. The story ends with Helspont revealing that he might know something about Superman’s birth father.
In the end, this whole issue reeks of a setup of stories to come in the New 52 universe and that makes it even worse. I really hate most of these Wildstorm characters and hope that DC finds a way to get them back out of the main DC Universe. I’ve loved the heck out of most of the changes that have been made in the New 52. That said, rolling the Wildstorm characters into the same world as my beloved DC heroes and villains was an awful idea and every story I read with them only proves that theory over and over again.
On top of the lackluster story, we’re also given some art that just doesn’t fit. It’s not bad art. It’s just gritty and harsh. It would fit well in a horror title like ‘Swamp Thing’ or maybe a Vertigo title, but it just doesn’t click at all when it’s laid over the Man of Steel. The only redeeming them about this issue that kept it from getting a total stinker score was the decent cover from Kenneth Rocafort. That highly stylized almost anime look goes well with Superman. The rest of what happened this issue… doesn’t.
SUPERMAN ANNUAL #1
Story by Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza
Art by Pascal Alixe and Tom Raney
Cover by Kenneth Rocafort