Thursday, 30 May 2019

The Pitch: Blue Fury and the Temple of Balance (Riskmen Universe)

You all thought I forgot, didn't you!?

Today we give you the first female character of the Riskmen Universe and the first POC character. I give you Blue Fury and the Temple of Balance.

Before I start explaining this game, I want to talk a little about diversifying the Riskmen. I always wanted to make a more diverse team. Yeah, I know the first two characters I introduced were white guys, but that's it for the moment. That said, just about every character I made, I first had envisioned as white dudes. When I started to think more carefully about diversifying the line, I often asked myself "would this change make the character/story better, or am I just changing the race/gender for the sake of it?"

That said, for three out of the five initially conceived Riskmen, the answer to the question was "Yes, changing the characters in that way will actually make things better. I can explore new avenues in the character if I make these changes.

That said, let's get straight into it.


Storywise, a LOT went into figuring Blue Fury and her game. There's a little bit of Green Arrow, a little bit of Hulk, a little bit of Indiana Jones and a little bit of Hindu legend. There's elements of Star Wars, and a bit of Chinese Philosophy.

In terms of Gameplay, I'm using a LOT of Metroidvania for inspiration. Like all of my games, the SNES Zelda games are a big influence for me. The Secret of Mana and the Wolverine Origins have also given me plenty of ideas.


Years ago, an emerging religious sect known as the Henkashi traveled southwest Asia preaching balance in all things. They had vanished from history for years until an old Henkashi temple was discovered on an island off the coast of India.

Enter Ashna Harolds, Indian Austrlian professor, and the archaeological team from Newchurch University. Keen scholars in Henkashi history, Ashna and her team are studying the ruins when the terrorist group Al Doraq attacks, seeking to exploit the power of the temple. Trying desperately to escape, Ashna finds herself in the centre of the temple, where a mystical bow bestows on Ashna the spirit of the Blue Fury. Now, to restore balance and save her team, Ashna must team up with the Blue Fury to defeat Al Doraq and rescue her colleagues.


Blue Fury's game is essentially what would happen if you took the 2D Zeldas and applied Super Metroid's structure to it. The entire game takes place in one temple. Well, I say one. The whole place is built on the concept of duality and balance. As such, the temple is made up of two structures, each one requiring tasks done in the other to progress. The temple is full of traps, creatures and puzzles designed to test Ashna and the Blue Fury to her limits.

As the Blue Fury, Ashna can fire off enchanted arrows quickly with deadly accuracy. As Ashna, she needs some time to draw the string and her arrows are unenchanted and less effective. She can, however look for clues, solve puzzles and climb up vines.

While playing as Ashna, Blue Fury can recover from damage. However, if the Fury runs out of health, Ashna will be on her own until the fury fully recovers.

The game works mostly on "shooter" mechanics, but is more like what would happen if Link only had the bow in Zelda games.

So that's it for Blue Fury. Let me know what you think. Next pitch will come sooner.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

New Rules: An Open Letter to Bill Maher

Dear Bill,

I saw your recent editorial on what you think about comic book fans, where you lambasted comic book fans for liking things that are "for kids". Now, I could go on and on in multiple paragraphs about why your wrong in the most academic manner I could manage. But in this case, I'll say in a way you understand.

New Rule: If you're going to comment on Kevin Smith's appearance, make sure you don't style your hair so that you look like you're caught in a wind tunnel. If you're wondering what a wind tunnel is, it's what happens when you and your audience stand ear to ear.

New Rule: If disagreeing with a statement proves it is true, then you have to admit you have proven the following; that the Bible is true, that the politically correct crowd is right, that Republicans are supremely intelligent and that comic book fans are the peak of maturity.

New Rule: If you've found comic books in supermarkets next to Pokemon cards, please tell me where shop. My kids are nuts about Pokemon cards and I like comics- it's a win-win. More to the point, comics haven't been sold in supermarkets since the mid-90s. This store you've seen them in? It's like Atlantis or an episode of Real Talk where you make a new joke.

New Rule: You need to look up the history of theater and novels before saying that nobody looked down on writers from either medium. Shakespeare wrote what people at the time considered populist trash. The theater was a place you went because you thought watching someone harass a bear was too fancy for your tastes. Novels were thought to be fanciful wastes of time when the truly mature were busy reading poetry. It's not a stretch to think that that there was a time when cavemen were complaining that "UG WASTE TIME ON CAVE PAINTING! SHOULD LISTEN TO ORAL TRADITION WITH NO PICTURES LIKE ADULT!"

And finally, New Rule: If you judge people's intelligence or maturity based on their hobbies, stop. Comic readers are teachers, professors, scientists and lawyers. They're not the uneducated buffoons you imagine them to be.  They read widely- yes, even "real literature"; Shakespeare, Austin, Orwell. They raise families. They contribute to their community. And you want to rate them as childish because they read stuff you don't like?

There's a bigger problem here. I'm a teacher of high school English. Getting young people to read anything is a chore. I'd earn twice my paycheck if I had a dollar for every "I'm reading facebook posts, sir. That counts!" You know what appeals to these kids? Trash books. Comics, YA, stupid stories about the day their bum went psycho. I'll let you in on a little secret, Bill: you tell these kids not to read their favourite trash and their response isn't "Oh, well. Hemmingway it is, then." It's "If I can't read what I like, then I won't read." Reading comics is still reading. ANY reading builds literacy if it takes longer than three seconds. Don't blame a newborn for not being ready to walk out of the womb and don't be mad when non-readers pick up a comic instead of War and Peace- if you do, they'll likely never reach that point.

I started reading comics at age 25. It was an age when I realised that I was already mature enough. I realised it because I realised that maturity was about personal responsibility and I was raising a daughter and working to support her and my wife. It was about owning my mistakes and working to do better. It was about treating serious moments with the seriousness they deserve, and I found myself dealing with students who had been abuse victims in serious need of support in their schooling. And when I realised these things I realised something else: I don't need to PROVE my maturity to anyone. I know I'm mature and and people who want to say otherwise based on what I do with my downtime can find a very large cliff, look for the part with the most jagged rocks, strip naked and jump head-first. Adults do not need to pass your inspection, Bill. And I'm not going to take seriously the opinion of anyone who makes masturbation jokes on national television when it comes to which one of us needs to grow up.


Friday, 5 October 2018

The Pitch: Daybreaker- Refugee (Riskmen Universe)

Last time I wrote here, I introduced you guys to Ghostman. Now, it's time for another character. This one, I call Daybreaker. This is part of the Riskmen Universe.


If you look at Daybreker's design, there's no denying that I'm heavily influenced by Superman Action Comics and Peter J Tomasi's Superman. I'm also drawing heavily on Geoff  John's Green Lantern. There's not a lot of influence from Marvel, I was somewhat influenced, though, by what I read in Jonathon Hickman's Avengers run.
comics, so there's no point in even pretending that I never thought of them. Particularly, I'm influenced by Grant Morrison's run on

Gameplay-wise, I'm borrowing a lot from older side-scrolling beat-em-ups. River City Ransom, Double Dragon, SNES titles like Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time all influenced the level structure. I learned a lot about how I want to pace each level in the game from the classic Sonic games and even the more recent Sonic Mania. As I'm working with a top-down perspective, I can't deny the influence of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Does it sound like I'm dipping my finger in enough proverbial pies yet? Yes? Too Many? Also Yes?

Whoo boy...


So let's get into what the game's about...

All Marcus ever knew was life on earth. He's only ever known his job as a firefighter and his home life looking after his genius daughter, Erin. One day, however, a strange creature attacks Marcus while he is putting out a fire in an old block of flats. In the middle of that attack, Marcus' body lights up and he rams the creature, killing it. Not long after, Erin reveals who Marcus really is.

Marcus's real name is Marvus Al-Turr, a member of the Daybreakers. The Daybreakers were a corps dedicated to monitoring the activities of universal rulers. When the galactic Prince Zazrael turned his attention to eliminating the Daybreakers, Marvus took Erin, who in reality is a living supercomputer named Enfinity, and retreated to earth. When Marvus attempted to leave Enfinity on earth and go back to fight Zazreal, Enfinity reprogrammed his mind to make him think he was an earth native.

Now, though, Zazrael has learned where Marvus, has been hiding with Enfinity. He's sent his best men to retrieve Enfinity and learn the secrets of what Daybreakers remain. Marcus needs to regain his memories and skills to defeat Zazrael's minions and protect the planet he now calls home.

Yeah, it sounds more complicated than hopefully it is.


Daybreaker- Refugee will follow a linear structure- one level after the other with maybe some branches allowing for "sidequest-style" missions. Gameplay will be mostly similar to a common beat-'em-up. You'll have a button to do a basic, physical attack, a button to use one of your combat powers and a button to switch between flight and ground-based combat.

Daybreaker uses solar energy to perform some of his more devastating moves. Right off the bat,
you'll get the ability to light your body up with energy and ram an enemy, but you'll also get the ability to create a light construct clone, plant a "solar bomb" and, yes, launch energy blasts Goku-style. The ability to do this will depend on whether or not your character is in full daylight (they won't always be), as sunlight will fill Daybreaker's "Special meter", which allows him to perform these attacks. As Daybreaker unlocks more of his past memories, he will gain the ability to use these abilities.

Emphasis will be on trying to move and fight quickly, getting through a level quickly and with less damage will award you will be awarded with more EXP to spend on upgrades for your abilities. These will come in handy most during boss fights, which will be mostly against Zazrael's different generals. These bosses will be multi-stage affairs and will take a fair bit of time to really take down.

I'm considering a new-game plus mode. Perhaps where each level takes place at night, so you need to be careful about how you use your solar power, or where your health is slowly chipping away, forcing you to get through levels quickly.

That's currently all for now, next up is Blue Fury and the Temple of Ishdun.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Pitch: The Great Ghostman (Riskmen Universe)

Okay, so last week I introduced the Riskmen universe. I gave an overview of the entire city of Newchurch and a basic rundown of the characters. You can check on that here. Today, I give you the pitch for the first game in the universe; the one that's currently in production: The Great Ghostman. As with every game pitch, the plan is to make this using the RPG Maker 2003 engine (though I'm considering other things).


So first, time to talk about the main influences in this game.

Let's start with story: I was heavily influenced by Christopher Yost's Scarlet Spider, featuring KaineNightwing trade ever written and Scott Snyder's Batman, which encouraged me to add a slight horror element to the plot. For gameplay, my main influences are Double Dragon and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I'd be lying if I said that the Arkham games had NO influence on me (I'm making a superhero game- it's going to have an influence), but the only one I've played is Arkham Origins- Blackgate, so take that as it is. There are a range of RPG Maker 2003 games that have taught me a lot about using the system.
Parker. In fact, I came up with the character not long after reading the first trade in that run. Other books that have influenced me are pretty much every


When Luke Scarce was young, his mother died of cancer. His father, after years of trying to cure her, took his life. Without the guidance of mother or father, Luke lived only for himself. Training himself as a magician, his fame eventually earned him enough money to buy the old Grey's End Theatre in Newchurch City, Australia.

That's when things fell apart.

On Luke's first show, a gunman working for the crimelord Graeme Green opened fire on Luke and twenty other guests. Where his guests died, however, Luke lived, walking the line between life and death. Now, he takes the fight to Green's gang on behalf of the departed as Ghostman.


The Great Ghostman takes place in Grey's End; a derelict suburb in western part of Newchurch city.
The Green Gang practically own the area. Wherever you go, you find their graffiti. Schools set up there are abandoned and in disrepair. Building projects started, but never finished. There's more rubbish on the street than there is concrete. The people there, though, are a strong bunch. They look out for each other as much as they can, balancing their business and family demands with the fights for their own lives under the Green Gang. All they need is for someone like Luke to show them what is possible.


The Great Ghostman is an action-adventure game in a similar vein to the early Zelda titles. You wander Grey's End undertaking missions on behalf of the ghosts that populate the area. Some of those missions operate very much the same way as "dungeons" that Zelda players know quite well.

Combat will operate mostly in a similar way to the Double Dragon games. When in a combat situation, waves of enemies will approach, which you'll defeat with a range of attacks. Some of these enemies will be armed, however, and when you defeat them, you may be able to pick up their weapons and use them yourself.

Ghostman's abilities are based around two powers: his ability to walk through walls and his command of telekinesis. his phase shifting ability acts as a sort of dodge button when in combat, allowing him to walk through enemies before they can land an attack. Telekinesis can be used to pull enemies and certain object towards Ghostman or push them away.

For traversal, your most important ability is ghostsight. This allows Ghostman to see and speak to ghosts all over Grey's End. It also allows Ghostman to find phasing points, which allow him to walk through walls.

In a game where you have ghost powers, its natural that some stealth becomes an important part. Ghostman has some pretty low defence stats, so stealth will usually be your first port of call. You can use telekinesis to bring down enemies and take them out before they see you.

Structure-wise, the game will feature 5 main levels and about 15 side quests. These side quests give you the opportunity to increase your stats.

So far, that's all I have to say about the game. Next I'll be talking about Daybreaker: Rebel, where the universe goes into space.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Pitch: The Riskmen Universe

If you've been looking long enough at my blog, you will see that I'm a bit of a superhero fan. I was a 90s kid and grew up in the golden age of superhero Saturday cartoons. Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles and a range of also-rans made up a large part of my mourning routine.

Something I did that a lot more of, though, was make up my own superhero characters. My reasons were pretty personal. I was born with sight and hearing problems- some of which weren't fixed until I was twelve. What this meant was that I couldn't entirely trust the world around me. My imagination was a world I could trust. As such, considering the shows I was watching and the stories I was consuming, it was only natural that I invent my own super-teams with their own abilities and aesthetics.

I'm 31 now, but seeing what I can pull out of my imagination is still my main pastime. It's the reason I work with game-creation tools as a hobby. With that in mind, let's introduce my concept for a superhero game universe.

Rules for the universe:

Firstly, I'm not making this universe too big. Five heroes get their own games, one is reserved for the teamup. Six games in all, with the possibility for sequels later on.

Secondly, each game will be structured differently. Not every game will be an open-world, Zelda-like adventure, nor do I think it needs to be. Some will be linear, some won't.

Third, and this is a personal gripe. I'm not make my female characters "adorkable". Leave that rubbish to the CW. If my male characters are allowed to have personalities not lifted from Frozen, so are the women.

Fourth, each game will be set in or around one city. Let's set the scene in the next sub-heading.


For location I'm taking what I think are the best parts of Marvel and DC.

From Marvel, I'm taking the notion that all heroes live in the same city. It makes the teamup that much more believable, and allows for some more street-level action throughout each game. Each game will take part in a different section of the city. From DC, I'm using the idea of the fictional city. This should allow for enough freedom for me to design the whole city to accommodate gameplay, rather than trying to warp the gameplay to suit whatever city I base this in. Aside from that, this city is going to be based in Australia. This is for no other reason than I'm Australian and I prefer to write what I know. 

So let me introduce you to Newchurch City:

Newchurch is located in between the cities of Townsville (yes, it's a real place) and Cairns the north-eastern part of the Australian state of Queensland. In this part of the country, it's hot, humid and crocodiles are a constant reality. Demographics-wise, the region is home to a significant immigrant population from various parts of Asia as well as a large indigenous population of Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

The Characters:

Alright, let's get to the important part. Who are our heroes, what are their origins what can they do and which ones get their own games?


Years ago, the Daybreaker's were peacekeepers throughout the universe, keeping an eye on corrupt rules. When prince Davarous declared war on the Daybreakers, all but three were destroyed. One, Marvus Randor, escaped to earth, took on the name Marcus Ray, and now uses his powers to protect his newfound family on earth. As a Daybreaker, Marvus utilises solar energy into blunt-force attacks. His attack of choice tends to be to cover himself in solar energy and ram opponents. He also possesses enhanced strength and the power of flight. Look out for him in Daybreaker: Refugee.


A world-renowned magician, Luke Scarce dies when his Newchurch show ends with a gunman shooting him and fifteen others. Where the others died, however, Luke found himself stuck walking the line between life and death. Half-man, half ghost, Ghostman now works on behalf of the dead to protect the living. Being part ghost, Ghostman is able to walk through walls. He fights mainly with the power of telekinesis and has the ability to see and speak to departed spirits. His game, The Great Ghostman is currently being developed.
Blue Fury

Indian-Australian Ashna Harolds has worked for Newchurch University for years. When she gets the opportunity to visit a small island off the coast of India to visit the temple of a long-dead cult, she discovers the Bow of Balance. Upon picking up the bow, the spirit of the Fury takes over and Ashna finds herself fighting to restore the balance between order and chaos. In her Blue Fury form, Ashna can enchant the arrows of a limitless quiver. She also has a healing factor, which makes her the perfect divine weapon. You'll learn more about her in Blue Fury and the Temple of Balance.
The Outrider

A modern day Bushranger, Elsie Hammer's father fought police corruption and bike gangs as the Outrider. When he died in the line of duty, however, it became Elsie's turn to take her father's arsenal and motorcycle to become the new Outrider. She's an accomplished stunt rider, and carries an array of weaponry to finish her father's work and beat the corrupt rural police west of Newchurch. She rides into battle in Legacy of the Outrider.
Silver Shark

Aaron Miller's life is hard- an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boy straight out of high school, he jumps to take the job of a courier. While transporting a strange device between Matthews Island and Newchurch Docklands, a storm knocks him into the water causing the device to explode. When Aaron washes up on the shore, he finds his DNA combined with that of a shark, Aaron now has a shark's agility, speed and magnetic sense (it's a thing; check it out). He'll stuggle between his indigenous and superhero identities in Silver Shark. 
Dr. Patchwork

All Dr. Patchwork has ever known is life in the sewers. A creature created by man Patchwork only knows as the Witchdoctor, Patchwork escaped the villain's torment and reach the city above. A man made of parts of other men, Patchwork is regarded as a monster by the people of Newchurch. The fact that he is super strong and endurable doesn't help matters. He'll bring the team together in Riskmen Vol. 1: Riskmen Rising.

And for the moment, that's all there is to it. Look out for next week, when I introduce the first game in the universe, The Great Ghostman.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Inhumans Vs X-Men (ANAD Marvel)

C'mon X-Men, why can't you die off
like a good little non-MCU property?
Writers: Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire

Artist: Javier Garron

Collects: Inhumans Vs X-Men #0-6

Background Information:

Y’know, I get the feeling that years ago, someone told Tom Brevoort that if you kick the X-Men down the stairs, they make funny noises. Since the beginning of Marvel NOW! in 2013, the X-Men have been getting the absolute snot kicked out of them by the Avengers, other humans, other mutants, and the hand of fate. And by the time Inhumans Vs X-Men came around, everyone at Marvel editorial staff were yelling “WHAT THE HELL! Why isn’t anyone laughing yet?”

It’s almost as if the X-Men were owned by a movie studio that had no connection to Marvel and Marvel are bitter that the children they sold into slavery aren’t coming home to dinner!

Oh, wait. They were. And Marvel are.


Seriously, how does this NOT look like a villain to you?
Or at least, they have been up until last week when Disney bought Fox and all of the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters that came with it. I can’t wait for people to find out that the Fantastic Four are a team that comic fans like only on principle and that the X-Men were already done nearly perfectly in X-Men (2000), X-2, First Class, Days of Future Past, The Wolverine, Logan, Deadpool and Deadpool 2. That’s right, folks, Fox made more movies that X-3, Origins and Apocalypse!

But I digress. My point is, the acquisition of Fox by Disney is something I’m sceptical of. But there is one silver lining: now that Disney can exploit the X-Men like Chinese children in a shoe factory, we might be rid of events like Inhumans Vs X-Men; a book designed to kick the X-Men down as far as they can go so that Marvel can promote an MCU property.

A lot of the plot of this book began in Death of X and you know what? I quite liked Death of X. It was a solid mystery book with a final twist that was well set-up. In that one, the world became convinced that the X-Men are baddies because they destroyed a cloud of poison that affects only them and gives Inhumans their unremarkable powers. Yep, the Mutants became the bad guys because they’d rather not be poisoned. 

I can answer that question, Ms Marvel, but you won't like
And on that note, in Inhumans Vs X-Men, the X-people have decided that in order to have enough time to deal a second poison cloud, the Inhumans have to be put out of commission for a while. So they lock the Inhumans in hell. And I’m pretty sure that this is what Marvel thought was all that was necessary to convince us that the X-Men were the baddies here. “Hell?” they seem to say “You know who lives in Hell? Satan does and do you know what Satan is? A BADDIE!” to which the rest of the world, who have just watched Lucifer says “Are you sure? He seems rather charming and that’s without the ‘trying-not-to-die’ angle.” And Marvel then sticks their fingers in their ears singing “LALALALALA”.

Oh, wow it's... you know what? I don't
Now I’m someone who believes that event book should contain all essential elements to the story in the event itself instead of in numerous tie-ins. I believe this because I have limited funds like the rest of humanity and my brain is still functioning. Marvel however, seem to think that most of its audience have made it big on bitcoin. As a result, some key parts of the story- parts that are essential to understanding what the hell is going on- are relegated to tie-ins. As a result, the majority of this book left me wondering things along the lines are “How did they know this?” “Where did these characters come from?” “How many more pages before I take a bath with a toaster oven?”

The art here is just good. It shows everything happening, it’s just a pity that the things happening just aren’t very interesting. It represents a missed opportunity for artists because the potential for awesome panels in a book where the Inhumans and X-Men really go all out in combat, but most of the book is either the Inhumans trying to get out of hell, or the X-Men trying to figure out how not to die. I know people blame Civil War for being action-light, but it’s a roller-coaster compared to this one.

Overall, this book is exactly what it sounded like when the event was announced; a marketing ploy to direct us from one product to another. It’s a shameless MCU advertisement designed to make us like the Inhumans more than the X-Men. The problem? At the end of the day, you’re likely to hate the Inhumans more that you ever did. It’s like every time Miley Cyrus is allowed in a recording studio. It gets one out of five toaster-oven baths.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Superman Volume 1: Son of Superman (Rebirth) Review

Supes, you gotta turn of the flash
on your camera, dude.
Writer: Peter J Tomasi
Artist: Jimmy Palmiotti
Collects: Superman: Rebirth #1, Superman #1-6

Background Information

Superman's past few years in the New 52 was... rocky. I maintain that Grant Morrison's Action Comics was a great Superman story, but it's hard to pretend that it caught on with general readers. The following issues were an absolute train wreck. Lois and Clark were broken up, Clark was de-aged so that he looked ultimately naïve and the stories themselves were great in concept, but poor in execution. The way they fixed this was very long winded, but long story short, DC brought back the old Superman with the old Lois Lane and got rid of the New 52 versions of each. I do something similar with my children all the time!


By this stage, I think we can safely say that DC Rebirth is good. It's sold well enough and rarely do we hear a word against it. Most of that, I'm convinced, is due to books like Son of Superman.

So the old Superman is in the main universe again with a wife and now a ten year old son. A "Son of Superman", if you will. This son, Jonathan Kent, is developing big boy powers of his own, so the old Clark Kent now has to teach his son not to kill people by accident. You know how it is; your child hits puberty and suddenly there's a lot of awkward conversations about girls.

I hope every Spider-Man writer sees this.
I get the feeling that the Rebirth initiative as a whole was designed to troll All-New-All-Different-All-Weather-All-The-Time Marvel. This is probably most relevant in Rebirth's Superman. Peter J Tomasi's Superman seems to point at Dan Slott's Spider-Man and say "See? Having a superhero married with a kid is a GOOD thing because it allows characters to grow and mature  and maybe one day you can get a movie where Peter isn't defined by high school!"

He then turns  Tom King's Batman and says "Hey, kid's develop best with two parents at home, too!"

To which, Tom King responds "Okay" (with his fingers crossed behind his back).

This book really sells itself on the positive family dynamic. There's a weird habit that a lot of shows have of portraying married characters as being on the brink of divorce. Son of Superman bucks that trend by giving us a Lois and Clark that are happily married. The drama, instead, comes from the Superhero action which is accentuated by Clark's efforts as a father. It helps that Jon's character is probably just as well-written as everyone else's. Many comic writers try to portray children as snottier adults, but Tomasi's gives us a son of Superman who is more wide-eyed and in awe of those around him. As a result, we actually like this character as opposed to, say, Damien Wayne, which needed a pretty long adjustment period and even then people cheered when he died because they thought Tim was going to be Robin again.

The actual events of the story, the "what exactly happens here?" are a bit of a letdown, though. Superman takes Jonathan back to the fortress of solitude, where a Kryptonian robot that's hell-bent on ethnic cleansing gets activated and decides that  Jonathan must be killed for not being a purebred. Was this thing programmed in Auschwitz? I thought Krypton was meant to be more progressive than this! The whole thing completely fails to be engaging. The whole is fixed by... wait for it...

...getting Batman involved.

The bad guy is the one with the S on his chest.
Hang on, DC, are you trying to tell me that a man capable of moving the earth out of its orbit needs the help of a grown man who depends on his butler? Why is Batman even here? I know he's had the more popular movies but it's not like you need to introduce him to anyone! You could live your entire life in a cave and I bet you know who drives the Batmobile! Why not include Blue Beetle? Booster Gold? John Constantine? You could build your universe this way, but no; you need to lend credibility to the claim that Batman is all DC has!

This is an unashamedly pretty book, as well. Every character is designed to be highly expressive, which adds to their relatability. The way Johnathon is drawn hits home how (literally) wide-eyed and optimistic the lad is. Superman looks his age without looking past his prime. The book is big, colourful and bombastic in the way it communicates its action, like a gang war during Mardi Gras.

There are some who are going to claim that Son of Superman is a return to hope and optimism that "SOUPAMAHN WAS ALWAYZ MENT 2 B!" I don't know if I would say that, but it's certainly Superman starting on an era that he was always meant to reach eventually. Time will tell if Bendis has an inch of respect for what happened in this run... Dammit.

Four out of five Mardi Gras gangsters.