Absolute Superman: For Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello

details
Title: Absolute Superman: For Tomorrow.
Writer(s): Brian Azzarello.
Penciller(s): Jim Lee.
Inker(s): Scott Williams.
Additional Inker(s): Richard Friend, Sandra Hope, Matt Banning, Eric Basaldua, Jim Lee, Danny Miki, Trevor Scott, Tim Townsend & Joe Weems.
Colourist(s): Alex Sinclair.
Letterer(s): Rob Leigh & Nick J. Napolitano.
PublisherDC Comics.

Format
: Hardcover – Absolute Edition.
Release Date: May 5th 2009.
Pages: 328.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401221980.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

thoughts

It’s only once you lose something precious that you realize how important it was to you. Taking these things for granted simply leaves us in a vulnerable position once it becomes threatened or until it’s too late. For Superman, when the unexpected, the unlikely, and the impossible happened, his life changed beyond anything he could ever imagine. From that moment onward, his ability to trust himself in doing the right thing would never be the same again. He would need to find a way to do change things for the better, to do better, and to work towards a future he can make better. Collecting Superman issues #204-215 written by Brian Azzarello, penciled by Jim Lee. and inked by Scott Williams, this story arc is a tale of introspection and moral reevaluation for one of Earth’s greatest heroes.

What is Absolute Superman: For Tomorrow about? Set a year after The Vanishing, where a million people on Earth mysteriously disappeared, including Lois Lane, Superman desperately clings onto the remaining sanity he withholds within himself to not drown in his guilt over his inability to prevent this cataclysmic event. As his search for answers continues, he visits an ill-stricken priest to confess and reflect upon his purpose, their respective faith and hope in humanity, and in what Superman represents for the world. Inching closer to answers, the path upon which he walks will have him inevitably confront an evil entity and push him to embrace desperate measures for the sake of obtaining a much-desired peace of mind. But how far would he go for a tomorrow?
 

“Then let me tell you, to be in the presence of evil is to be both utterly offended and absolutely afraid. It’s an assault one never fully recovers from. And peaking abstractly? To see evil is to lose. Because to see evil is to know it exists. I’ve seen evil. I battle against it. Because often, evil is in the eye of the beholder.”

— Brian Azzarello

This turned out to be a brutal reading experience and there isn’t much to read either. Writer Brian Azzarello offers up some of the oddest dialogues I’ve ever seen Superman have with anyone, especially through his interaction with his trusty priest friend. Apparently, they liked finishing off each other’s sentences as if they could read each other’s minds. But not really. With terrible writing, also comes one of the most bizarre stories that sends Kal-El (yes, he insists that you call him that nowadays) down on a guilt trip, making him wonder if he can ever do the right thing again, thinking about the greater good rather than the individual life. It’s not that it’s a bad story, the idea of having some sort of forgotten utopia, exploring its most atypical corners with androids, giants, and whatnot, but writer Brian Azzarello does an awful job at coherently establishing his ideas and making much sense of it all. As you reach the second half, you’ll quickly notice that a lot of things simply happen for the sake of moving things forward but there is little direction was actually given to the narrative to justify Superman’s journey here.

Fortunately, there was a good reason for this story arc to receive the luxurious Absolute Edition treatment, and it all hinges on legendary artist Jim Lee’s penciling. In fact, his artwork is impeccable, doing beautiful justice to Superman’s character, not only majestically capturing his godly yet alien nature but also infusing him with a gentle and caring touch that reminds us of the paradoxical humanity that he embodies. Since a lot of this story arc also keeps at a minimum all dialogue between characters, there is enormous room allocated to the artwork and it is quite impressive to sift through his artistic vision and watch him brilliantly handle both static and dynamic narrative sequences. Credit should also be given to Scott Williams’ inking that breathes a lot of life into this work through vivid colours that impeccably highlight the best of Jim Lee’s pencils. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those cases where the artwork allows you to pardon the story-telling flaws.

Absolute Superman: For Tomorrow is an unintelligible and jumbled mess exploring Kal-El’s self-awareness and journey of guilt.


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