Sunday, March 20, 2005

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #638

And another visit from Superman's oracular imp comes and goes. Mxy brings truth, meta discussion, hints about the future, and a whole lot of confusion. And then goes away again because we might get a real clue if he stayed any longer. Or our brains might break.

The pre-Mxyzptlk conversation between Lois and Clark crackles (as well as serving as a subtle reminder of what went on last issue and what's about to get totally interrupted by a certain fifth-dimension fellow), all the more because Lois is talking about a baby like it's a $10,000 flat-screen TV. There's no 'I want to have your children' schmoop -- her sister has one and likes it, so it sounds like a good idea, no matter how impractical. And Clark is all over just how impractical it is.

Mxy's whole song and dance routine is a refocusing -- the baby, and the child that baby grows up to be, will mean more than Lois seems to be considering and less than Clark fears. Clark already knows a child will be a target even more irresistable than Lois, but Mxy seems rather intent on showing him that that's not a justifiable reason to kibosh the notion. Clark has been focusing on a defensive strategy -- especially with Ruin on the loose and promising to kill everyone -- and Mxy wants him to start thinking offense, which is the way Lois works. "We live in hope."

It's impossible to look at this story -- okay, this interruption -- without the heavy shadow of DC's 2005 Events hanging over it. What little we know about Countdown is that the Big Three fall out to some extent and what comes after in a world where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are not on the same page. Mxy has been warning all along that Very Bad Things are happening and he means something more than Pete Ross turning out to be Ruin.

As with the previous Mxy visits, it's a cracktastic mix of fourth-wall breaking, sneaky clues about what's coming up, and a chance for Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark to go crazy with stylistic homages and meta commentary. Rucka is very good about making sure that the seriousness of Mxy's message comes through out of the wackiness so that this doesn't degenerate into a quarterly acid trip that derails the ongoing plotline.

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