This was already a massive week for new comics before I went out for Free Comic Book Day and its related sales and bargains. I can’t believe how much stuff I picked up this week…
Best Comic of the Week:
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Greg Tocchini
The first issue of this series was interesting, but I found that Remender didn’t do as good a job as he could have explaining some aspects of the general concept, especially with regards to the American Peace Initiative. This issue, however, is just about perfect. This is a comic about bad people doing bad things to each other, and it’s pretty much glorious.
Graham is working his last big job, and although he knows he can’t trust his two partners on the heist, he can’t resist getting closer to Shelby. Kevin, her boyfriend, is using his last days before the API signal makes it impossible to commit a crime to settle some old scores, and to visit his family. Actually, there are a lot of people out to settle scores, and Graham is visited by his former partner, who he attempted to burn to death at the beginning of the first issue.
Pretty much everyone loves a good heist movie, and the way in which the scheme is laid out is quite entertaining. Graham works at the bank they are going to be robbing, so he has some access to places most people couldn’t get to. I particularly like the way in which he decides to deal with his superior on the security detail.
This is a nice, meaty book with fantastic art. The $5 dollar format that Radical has gone with is a winner in my eyes, and this is the best book Remender has written since the early days of Fear Agent. If you like his Marvel stuff even just a little bit, you’ll be impressed by what he is doing here.
Other Notable Comics:
Written by Jeff Mariotte
Art by Francesco Francavilla
I picked this up because, while Mariotte can be hit or miss (loved Desperadoes, found Fade to Black was not my thing), I really like Francavilla’s art. He has a style that reminds me of a lot of older comics from the seventies (think Giordano a little), but still feels very fresh and new. His work on books like Sorrow and Zorro has always caught my attention (disclaimer: I did drop Zorro, but had wanted to keep with it for the art).
This new series is about a guy who has been going on a murder spree for about nine weeks. It’s set slightly in the future, and agents of the National Bureau of Surveillance have no idea who he is. The NBS calls in support from the Homeland Intelligence Agency, and while the two agents in charge head out for dinner, the mystery man shows up and kills the HIA man, and identifies himself as Garrison, before taking off, leaving the female NBS agent with a ton of questions.
It would seem that our man has some kind of intuitive ability, but Mariotte is playing everything close to the chest in this issue. I’m definitely intrigued, and will be picking up next month’s issue.
by Duncan Rouleau
I’m really happy to see that this book is back, as I thought the first two issues were terrific, but it has been close to a year since we last saw the book.
Zach Feld, our hero, is a man with a great deal of creativity, but all of his ideas have been stolen from him and marketed on the imind website, an Ebay for intellectual property. He’s now hooked up with a trio of imind victims, and they are working to bring the organization down. They even have t-shirts that profess their dedication to the memory of Ayn Rand’s John Galt.
These Galt-anistas, for lack of a better term, are on a recruitment drive, and have Zach along for the ride. Also, the reality TV crew continues to poke into the Felb family’s life, while Zach’s old girlfriend thinks she’s figured out what’s going on. It’s the middle issue of the story, so the plot is really just chugging along.
As with the previous issues, it is Rouleau’s amazing art that really binds the book together. He’s doing a lot of cool things with layout here, and has expanded the colour palette beyond the monochrome look of the first issues. Good stuff.
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Leandro Fernandez
This is a pretty brutal issue of Northlanders, as Hilda must struggle to regain her daughter from the grips of Jens, the man from Gunborg’s group that is in love with Hilda. Meanwhile, Boris faces Gunborg in a challenge, and the two fight for most of the issue. And, this being Northlanders, the fighting is pretty rough.
This arc has been an interesting exploration into the psychology of a town under siege (from plague, not enemies), and the lengths to which people will go to survive, or to protect what matters to them. What has always made Northlanders work for me is that Wood uses the historical setting as a way of telling stories that could almost fit into modern times.
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Davide Fuornò
This issue concludes the two-issue look into Shunka, Chief Red Crow’s right-hand man and enforcer. Last issue, Shunka was sent to Michigan to deliver a message from Red Crow, and ended up getting mixed up in some dirty tribal business for the casino owner he met with. It was also revealed that Shunka was gay and very very closeted.
When the former chief, and man he had an ‘encounter’ with turns up dead, Shunka acts out of character, and goes about avenging his death in this issue. It’s a very unexpected side of Shunka – not his homosexuality, but his lack of self-control and sudden flux of emotion. This is a very careful, organized man who has usually been able to keep his darker impulses in check. To see him run wild is impressive and a little frightening.
As usual, Aaron gives us very complicated characters, and I love the ending of this book. I wonder if Shunka is going to start taking more risks now, or if he’ll be content to return to being Red Crow’s man.
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Adam Green
Where the first issue of Shuddertown drew me in right away, this issue keeps me squarely interested in Detective Hernandez and his difficult case. Actually, nothing happens on the case of the murders that appear to have been committed by other dead people at all in this issue. Instead, Hernandez spends the issue recovering from the beat down he received last time around, and talking to a local priest about urban decay and the history of the Shuddertown neighbourhood.
Hernandez is one messed up guy, taking drugs and getting involved with strippers. It’s clear that he’s losing his grip, and seems to be stuck on a squirrel-hunting incident from his childhood.
I have no idea where this comic is going. We keep being told on the back of the book and in interviews with the writer that ‘nothing is as it seems’, and I’m very interested in finding out what is going on in this story.
Green’s art is growing on me even more, and I love his David Mack-esque cover.
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Matthew Southworth
This is a pretty good week for over-due Oni books. The third issue of Stumptown is decent, although I’m not sure if I found it as good as the first two. Dex, our hard-luck PI has found Charlotte, the girl she’s been looking for, but she’s with Isabel. Immediately after this, they also run into the two thugs that attacked her back in the first issue. Things don’t go well for Dex…
With this issue, we do finally learn the real story of what’s going on between Charlotte, Isabel, and her brother Oscar. No one believes that Dex is working for Charlotte’s family, hence the reason why she has been met with so much distrust.
The writing is this book is really good, although this issue didn’t feel as dense as the first two. As well, Southworth’s art looked a little rushed in comparison to the previous installments. There are some stunning pages though, such as the double-page spread set at Mount Tabor. This book continues to be very interesting and worthy of a lot of attention.
Written by Joshua Dysart
Art by Alberto Ponticelli
This issue marks the beginning of a new story arc, ‘A Battle of Little Note’. It begins where the last issue left off, with Moses involved in a guns for medicine deal between the army and a group of local tribesmen, the Karamojong. Moses’s voice has every intention of taking the guns and killing everyone else, but Moses decides to take control and destroy everything, including the guns. It’s an interesting fight being carried out inside his head as he struggles to determine his own destiny.
One aspect of this issue that was particularly interesting is that much of the narrative is made up of a report filed in some level of the American military about the events in Gulu, but they refer to Moses as Subject 9 throughout the document, confirming that he is the project of some sort of Black Budget operation. This isn’t really a shock to a long time reader, but it does foreshadow a meeting between Moses and someone from the US soon.
Ponticelli’s art is as great as ever, there is an interesting text piece by Dysart on witchcraft in Uganda, and Dave Johnson’s cover, modeled after Eric Skillman’s cover for the Criterion release of Berlin Alexanderplatz is one of the coolest covers I’ve seen in ages.
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard
After having spent months on the run, in constant danger, Rick and crew have now found a safe haven, a small community that is, for the most part, accepting them with open arms. Kirkman uses this issue to examine how they are all reacting to the change. Some people, like Maggie, are embracing normalcy – she’s even happy to be washing dishes again.
Others, like Carl and Andrea, can’t feel safe, and are wary of becoming weak when surrounded by so many comforts. It’s this level of realism in these characters that makes this such a great book. Kirkman really knows these people inside and out, and as they have the chance to take on new roles or duties in this community, their different personalities are really coming to the fore.
Having read their stories for so long, I want this stuff to work out for them. They deserve some peace and quiet, and the chance to be safe. At the same time, that’s not too dramatic, and as we learned when they were living in the prison, it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong. Of course, as we learn on the last page, Rick is prepared for that…
Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Christopher Mitten
Currently, Wasteland is doing a Rashoman kind of thing, where each issue follows one character over a period of about six months, giving the reader little snippets and glances into what that character is up to. Recent (which is an increasingly relative term with this book – more on that soon) issues have featured Yan, the former aide to Marcus, and Jakob, the new High Disciple of Newbegin.
This issue shines its light on Skot, the town’s Primate and Marcus’s right-hand man. Skot is secretly a Sunner, a member of the persecuted religious class in the city, and he’s been working against Marcus and his people for some time. This issue shows his partnership with Golden Voice, the rebel singer, and helps to explain the thinking behind the attack on Disciples.
As a story-telling technique, this is a very interesting one. I believe it would be working a lot better if the books were coming out of a more regular schedule. This is only the third issue of Wasteland to be released in the last eight months. This erratic schedule is making it hard to follow the story. I’m sure, when read in trade, this arc is going to stand out as one of the best of the series, which is high praise indeed. For now though, it’s kind of hard to follow…
Action Comics #889 – I somehow missed the last issue of this title, but couldn’t care less. When Nightwing and Flamebird took over the book, their story was very interesting, and completely caught my attention. Then it all fell horribly off the rails, and now I’m just glad it’s done.
Amazing Spider-Man #629 – This Juggernaut story was enjoyable enough in an old-school way. I’m looking forward to seeing Bachalo’s Lizard story next week.
Captain America #605 – This ‘Two Americas’ arc has been pretty good, although now that it’s over, it feels like Brubaker has cleaned up most of his long-running plotlines, and has cleared the deck for Bucky to seriously take on the mantle of Captain America. Decent Ross artwork, but I found the sequence with Falcon on the train to be a bit confusing – the two men with him looked too similar. I still hate the Nomad back-up, and am resenting the fact that it’s costing an extra dollar each month. It doesn’t fit with this book at all.
Detective Comics #864 – So now that Rucka’s off the book, is Hine the new regular writer? This story follows up on some Arkham mini-series he did which I never read. It’s a good enough Batman story, with some very nice art by Haun, who is not as stiff as he used to be. The thing is, this could be either Bruce or Dick as Batman – it doesn’t differentiate between their personalities at all. Also, I’m not sure I like the Biblical turn that the Question backup has taken.
Fantastic Four #578 – I’ve been liking Hickman’s run on this title, but this issue felt a little off, both in terms of pacing and characterization. Johnny has always struck me as the toughest cast member to get a handle on, because there has only rarely been any depth to the character, but I don’t think he’d act as impulsively as he does here.
Green Lantern Corps #47 – With this issue, Peter Tomasi wraps up what has been a long and impressive run on this title. Although much of what was going on with these characters was dictated by what Geoff Johns was doing in the GL main title, Tomasi worked hard to develop a lot of these characters and make them into people you could care about. This issue closes off some long-running storylines, and demonstrates that large ensemble cast books can really work well. I don’t know how interested I am in ‘Emerald Warrior’, as Guy is one of my least favourite Lanterns, but I will be following Tomasi’s career from here out. Great Gleason artwork too.
Invincible Iron Man #25 – It’s the first post-Siege issue, and the Heroic Age has begun by borrowing story ideas from Joe Casey’s classic Wildcats Version 3.0. Basically, slightly amnesiac Tony Stark is resurrecting his company, and is going to use repulsor tech to provide cheap, non-fossil fuel based energy to the world. Of course, the government and industry aren’t too happy about this, so stuff’s going to happen. Great writing and art throughout – this book is going to be one to watch.
Invincible #71 – Attention Superman crew: this is how you set up an epic space adventure story. The Viltrumite War kicks off with Mark saying his goodbyes and stopping one last invasion from another dimension, while Nolan and Allen track down an earlier Kirkman creation, Tech Jacket, before Nolan decides to check in on the wife. There’s a ton of action, nicely written emotional scenes, a Star Trek parody, and a great last page surprise (for Mark at least). I hope this whole arc is this good.
Mighty Avengers #36 – Okay, so aside from sorta spoiling a plot point in Siege, this issue also manages to finish off the Ultron story, maybe redeem Hank Pym again, and make it really hard for Marvel to ever bring back the Wasp (the Janet version). I’m feeling pretty ambivalent towards the way this run ended…
New Avengers #64 – I like the Hood. I hope he’s still around somehow when all the dust from Siege ends. This is a decent issue, but it’s all happening between the scenes of a comic that hasn’t come out yet, which is annoying. Is this the last issue of this title? It’s kind of going out with a whimper, but then, it’s coming right back…
Punisher #16 – I can’t make up my mind on this comic. I was going to drop it, but then decided to grab one more issue. I like it fine, I just don’t know if I like it enough to continue with it. I think the fact that there is an upcoming crossover with Dark Wolverine means it’s time to say goodbye. (Remember when comic companies did these cross-overs to raise sales? This is the second book in the last few months I’ve dropped because of this ploy).
Secret Warriors #15 – This is an all character-development issue, as Fury confronts the Countessa, Daisy confronts Fury, and the Viper gets a new hat. Wasn’t there supposed to be some kind of big mission a couple issues back? If Hickman wasn’t such a good writer, I’d get annoyed with this book.
Siege: Secret Warriors #1 – This is a pretty cool comic, as Alex learns of his father’s death and decides that Obama is responsible for it, and goes to the White House to discuss it with him. Meanwhile, Fury and Captain America fight in Asgard, and Nick treats the whole thing quite lightly. Much more fun than Secret Warriors usually is.
Superman #699 – I’ve said before that this storyline has been a bit of a trainwreck, and now it feels like they are quickly trying to shoehorn in a conclusion so the book can reset to something new for issue 700. Mon-El has some flashbacks to his time of captivity, where he shows the gorilla scientist guy that he figured him out, but the revelation never happens, but neither is it built up into anything. It’s more like filler. Also – can anyone follow Superman’s relationship with Zod anymore? It’s like the author flips a coin with one side marked respectful rivals, and the other marked enemies, and then writes the book based on that. I do like Chang’s art here – some very nice stuff in places.
Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #3 – Yawn. At least Pete Woods art looks better than it has for a while, and the cover is decent. This book was totally devoid of any surprises though (you mean Superman and Luthor aren’t dead?), and just felt like a place holder for the next event (which I think I regret pre-ordering).
Thunderbolts #143 – Another Marvel title, another wrapping up of a long storyline. It’s the end of the road for Osborn’s Thunderbolts, and some of them come out of it nobly, while others go down hard. I love the scene with Quicksilver and Mr. X. I’m not sure about the new direction coming up, but with Parker writing, I’ll be sticking around. Sepulveda’s art has never looked as good as it does here – I love the way he draws the Vision (a long-standing favourite character of mine).
X-Force #26 – Well, even though there were a lot of predictions as to which long-standing X-Men would die in this crossover, I had hoped it wouldn’t be this one. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this is a character I’ve been fond of for many, many years, and I am glad to see that they at least gave him or her a noble death. I’m also glad to see Choi doing the art on this issue, as I’d had enough of Crain lately.
Free Comic Book Day
Over the last couple of years, I’ve become increasingly undecided about Free Comic Book Day. Does it draw in new customers or readers to stores? Does the stuff on offer make people want to buy more books by those publishers? Is this really working? Here are my thoughts on this year’s giveaways.
The Best of the Bunch:
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Brian Hurtt
I have to say that it’s pretty classy of Oni to use Free Comic Book Day as a way of starting off a new series. As a small publisher, the cost of producing a colour comic for free must be immense, and I hope it pays off for them in terms of garnering sales for this new book. I think it’s smart that the second issue was only solicited in the most recent issue of Previews, making it more likely committed comics readers will pre-order it (I know I probably will). On the other hand, new readers unfamiliar with the workings of the industry who liked this book today will probably not be around come June for the next issue, so it’s a gamble.
This is a pretty decent comic book. I wasn’t all that fond of Bunn and Hurtt’s Damned series, but the world they’ve created here is much more intriguing to me. The comic is set in a Reconstruction-era United States where magic and hauntings are common. The movie treatment for this could be Jonah Hex meets Madame Xanadu I suppose.
There is a rich widow who has hired a group of Pinkertons (man these guys are everywhere in comics these days) to track down a number of enchanted objects, chief among them being ‘The General’s’ gun. There is another guy looking for this same gun. They find it (and almost each other) on a small farm where its owner is able to protect himself for a while, before the gun ‘bonds’ with his daughter, and she is abducted.
I am curious to see where this title is going, and appreciated the opportunity to sample it free of charge.
Atomic Robo – I really really want to like Atomic Robo and it’s quirkiness, but I always feel like it falls a little flat. Maybe because I ‘ve already read this story when it was in Proof… Neozoic doesn’t work for me at all, but I think I might have to buy the Box 13 graphic novel when it comes out.
Bongo Comics Free-For-All! – Chuck Dixon writes the Simpsons? Weird… These stories are fun, although they seem to be rehashing similar plots from the show. Sergio Aragones was a nice surprise.
Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom/Magnus Robot Fighter – It makes a lot of sense to use FCBD to promo new titles, especially ones that may have some nostalgic resonance with the non-comics buying public, and Shooter gives us two generic stories featuring these two characters. The problem is, these two series are being promoted with the tag line ‘So you think you know (insert character name here)’, and then they give us stuff that is barely different from Shooter’s 90s Valiant run at these characters. I do like Denis Calero’s art on the Solar story, but let’s be honest, he won’t stick with the book long. I’m thankful to get the chance to preview these books for free, because now I know I’m not that interested in buying them…
Fractured Fables – This is cute, but I’m not going to be buying the main book. I love Ted McKeever’s story, but the rest feel a little too obvious. I want to see more Christian Ward art somewhere soon.
Iron Man/Nova – Why is Nova in this book? He contributes nothing, and could just as easily have been another character that flies (and maybe has more brand recognition). Or is this Marvel’s misguided way of drawing attention from the younger crowd to a character whose book they just canceled? Why not Iron Man/Brother Voodoo then? Bizarre choice…
Iron Man/Thor #1 – This is a decent enough little story, although there are a few things that I don’t really understand. If Stark is broke, why does he still have an orbiting satellite? If his new armor is supposed to be sleek and just cover his body, why does Romita draw it so boxy?
Kenk Promotional Sample Chapter – This was probably not available outside the Toronto area, but it’s probably the most interesting free item I picked up. Igor Kenk is a notorious Toronto figure – he has been running a ring of bicycle thieves for years, and at the time of his arrest, had thousands in storage around the city. He’s a mad prophet type, and this book is based on film footage that was shot over about a year. The creators turned the footage into a comic, using the actual images in a punk form of fumetti. I really need to go pick up this book.
Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock – I‘ve always wondered if I’d like Mouse Guard. Petersen’s art is fantastic, but the story here does nothing for me. Maybe I was just tired when I read it, but I found it hard to follow. Fraggle Rock? Actually, this stuff wasn’t too bad…
War of the Supermen #0 – If the goal is to draw in new readers, I don’t see this doing it. While it’s almost all exposition delivered through stilted dialogue for half the book, then a fake news report for the other half, it’s not likely to excite someone who doesn’t usually read comics.
Yow – I admire Drawn & Quarterly for putting together these types of collections of old kids’ comics by John Stanley, but it’s not for me. I do like the way they yellowed the pages though.
Comics I Would Have Bought if They Weren’t $4:
Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #1
Written by Jean-Phillipe Pécau
Art by Leo Pilipovic
I’m enjoying this book still, but I find myself liking it more for its potential than for what I’m actually reading. The idea of four immortal beings meddling with the totality of human (okay, European) affairs for centuries is not exactly a new concept, but it is a sound one. That it is being handled with such meticulous research and care should make it much better than it is.
This issue has two immortals fighting against zombie creatures in the basement of the Hellfire Club, with the help of Isaac Newton, who has phosphorus guns. How can that not be straight up incredible comics? But it’s a little dull. There is a little too much emphasis on showing how well researched everything is, and the author has kind of forgotten to let the characters drive the story. Each of the Archons, with the exception of the vampiric Dyo, are ciphers, and it’s too late in the story for them to not be developed beyond simple labels like ‘the angry one’. (Maybe they should just wear coloured rings?).
Anyway, it’s still an impressive comic because of the scope of what Pécau is trying to achieve. The art is not as good as it was under Kordey or Sudzuku, but it’s manageable.
The Week in Graphic Novels:
by many people
I mentioned when I reviewed the first book in this series how much I enjoyed the original Dark Horse Presents, and I was very pleased to hear that it is set to return soon. It was a reliable source of new ideas and creators, as well as short stories from established series or properties. I didn’t always love what was in it, but I usually found something positive in each issue.
This volume of the Myspace on-line revamp didn’t work for me as well as the books I remember. I found that most of the stories in this book were facile and shallow, and they did little to encourage me to pick up related titles, or seek out some of the creators.
There was still a fair amount to like in this book, such as Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s brilliant ‘Wonder Twins Activate’. I know I’m a huge Moon and Bá fan, so it’s no surprise that I would single this story out for praise, but it’s a very cool story designed to help explain their collaboration process. In contrast, Bá’s ‘Umbrella Academy’ story (with Gerald Way) did nothing for me.
I also liked John Arcudi and Steven Young’s ‘A Going Concern’ which is basically Jonah Hex played by a cockroach, but I couldn’t figure out what the hell his horse was supposed to be, and it made me hate the story by the end of it. Gilbert Hernandez’s ‘Manga’ was cute, but short.
Lately I’ve been working my way through the Mignola-verse, so I was pleased to see a BPRD story by Arcudi and Davis, and while it was good, it was fairly inconsequential.
By far the prettiest and most impressive art in the book belongs to Francisco Ruiz Velasco, with ‘Legion of Blood’, a flying-alien version of the first world war. I hope this is something that is going to be developed into a longer project, as it was quite good and visually stunning.
The final piece that impressed me was a Conan story (normally I hate Conan) written by Tim and Ben Truman. What made this special is that it had artwork by Marian Churchland (read Beast), with lettering by Brandon Graham! It’s a very cool-looking story.
One story that seemed to have a lot of potential but then quickly lost me was the Hobo Fet story by the Matkinson Brothers and Jon Adams. There was a lot that could have been done with this story, but it fell flat. Another disappointment was the two-page Rex Mundi story. Nothing happened, and it just served to remind me that I miss this title.
Anything else in this book doesn’t really feel like it’s worth mentioning. There are some things that I know people like – Milk & Cheese, Steve Niles – but it left me cold. I have Volume 3 on my reading pile – I hope it’s more consistently good.
by Mike Mignola
My little ‘Hellboy Project, where I read a story or chapter of a large story every day, in the order in which they were originally published, is coming along quite well. I find myself looking forward to reading the next piece of the larger story Mignola has been weaving for the last fifteen years.
This book is a collection of short pieces, with one longer piece (Box Full of Evil). The stories are divided between Hellboy’s early and middle years, before coming up to the present-day.
Many of the stories come from Mignola reworking old traditional stories, including both Japanese and Norwegian folklore. These are always of more interest to me than the stories that seem to revolve around Hellboy’s demonic origins or his ‘true purpose’ on Earth. While those are good too, I find I prefer the stories where he is just who he is, and we don’t have to worry too much about backstory. I get the feeling Hellboy prefers those stories too.
It’s interesting to watch as Mignola developed into a more self-assured author, and I like how many of the stories in this book paid careful attention to architecture and statuary. I have also noticed how often Hellboy or other characters fall through floors in these stories. I think I would be very cautious walking anywhere, had I had half the experiences Hellboy has had.
by Mike Mignola
As much as I’ve enjoyed the short-story collections, I was very happy to read an extended narrative with Conqueror Worm. This volume has Hellboy and Roger trekking through some Austrian mountains to get to Hunte Castle, the original home of the Nazi space program. It would seem that the entire goal of the Nazis was to send a dead body into space so it could be inhabited by ethereal aliens which will then turn into a worm and destroy the world.
Mignola has always worn his Lovecraftian influences on his sleeve, yet with this story, he dives into space aliens and some of the other things that live in space unknown to mankind. This volume also features the (sorta) return of Lobster Johnson, and a cyborg ape. Truly, I’m loving this stuff.
The ending of this book sets up the BPRD series, and explains Hellboy’s absence from their adventures. I’ve been having a good time working my way through these comics, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Hellboy is like without his entourage and support network.
Album of the Week:
The Souljazz Orchestra – Rising Sun
Tags: Batman, Captain America, DCU, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Image, Iron Man, Oni Press, Superman, Unknown Soldier, Vertigo