A Tarnish on Adams' Legacy
No comic book reader with even a cursory knowledge of the history of the medium could deny the importance of Neal Adams’ contributions in the past. Alongside his most notable co-creator, Dennis O’Neil, Adams was instrumental in reestablishing a more serious tone for Batman, a necessary tonic after the high camp of the Adam West television series still fresh in readers’ memories. More significantly still, their collaboration produced some of the defining issues of the Bronze Age during their run onGreen Lantern/Green Arrow, tackling societal issues from racism to drug abuse. But much like many of the products which bear the “Stan Lee” branding today, Adams’ Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #1 serves only to tarnish that legacy.
The biggest selling point on the book ought to be Adams’ pencils, but at seventy-four years of age, the hands which once rendered the definitive version of the Emerald Archer here produce shaky and unsteady linework. Not only so, but on many pages, the faces on different individuals, male and female alike, are nearly indistinguishable from one another, particularly on page ten in which Lois is looks more like Clark Kent secretly disguised as his newscaster colleague, replete with his signature split-curl. Worst of all, the panel composition results in a jarring pace throughout the issue with some actions seeming utterly abrupt. A veneered veteran of the industry ought to understand conventions such as gutter space better, but there’s no indication of such in this issue. On page twenty, as an example, immediately after posing a question to Luthor, the next panel is once again Superman stating, “Fine. Don’t speak,” with no indication of any passage of time between the two indicating Luthor’s silence.
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