Comic Book Review

Mania Grade: C

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  • Issue: N/A
  • Authors: Judd Winick, Alé Garza, Trevor Scott
  • Publishers: DC/Wildstorm
  • Price: $5.95


Superman! Thundercats! Er...ho?

By Tony Whitt     November 25, 2003

A mysterious woman named Lantana Lin apparates into Mumm-Ra's private chambers offering a means to get the twin to the Eye of Thundera. She helps him to create a gateway between Thundera and the world where the gemstone resides: a planet called Earth, in (seemingly) another dimension. To keep Mumm-Ra from getting the gem, the Thundercats travel there, too - but to stop him, they must first confront Earth's greatest champion...

I've been known to write such praise of Judd Winick in the past that I might have led to the impression I felt he could do no wrong. Hell, I probably said those exact words a time or two and meant every syllable. But while SUPERMAN/THUNDERCATS isn't enough to make me totally recant that opinion, it is enough to remind me that even the great ones have...well, not so great moments. It isn't Winick's writing that's at fault - at least, not all the time. It isn't even the concept's faulty - the idea that a twin to the Eye of Thundera exists on Earth, an Earth which seemingly watches the Thundercats on TV the same as we do (if their kids' toys are anything to go by), isn't that far a stretch. But there are flaws that mar the experience.

We have to endure some pretty awful humor along the journey, for one thing. (Example: "We got them with their pants down," WilyKit says of the Mutants, to which WilyKat replies, "Not that they wear pants or anything." Haven't laughed that hard since reading the banter between Batman and Robin in those 50s reprints...) Sadly, Winick's also got Superman doing this sort of thing from time to time, which is both good, as it loosens up the character a bit, and bad, as it means Supes can't crack better jokes than the Thundercats can. (And would Supes really say that the Mutants can't take the gem because there's "no loansies"? Ouch.) There's also some odd choices made here, such as having the Mutants' invisibility amulets powered by, of all things, Kryptonite - how'd they get the damn stuff, anyway? And there's also the niggling problem of Superman being vulnerable to magic - which, of course, means he's not quite as powerful here as he should be against a foe like Mumm-Ra. Do we really want to see Supes getting his ass kicked, even briefly, by Mumm-Ra? Not quite as embarrassing as, say, having the yellow Birthday Bear of the Care Bears kicking Green Lantern's behind, but...

It may simply be that, as "grown-up" as the Thundercats update professes to be, they're still simply not in the same league (no pun intended) with Superman. It's an odd mixture, and one which doesn't always feel as well-jelled as it should be. Winick usually does better work than this, but this doesn't work in the same way as his other, more original, takes on established characters. It somehow demeans Superman without elevating the Thundercats a bit, and neither side is truly shown at their best. And then there's the unexpected revelation of Lantana Lin's true identity - unexpected not so much in the "Oh, my God, I can't believe it's him/her!" mode as the "Oh, my God, you've got to be effin' kidding me!" mode. It's not a total loss, mind you - the artwork by Alé Garza and Trevor Scott makes the Cats look pretty good, and Winick does make the inevitable fight between Superman and the Cats work to a degree. But we're almost disappointed when that fight ends and they join forces against Mumm-Ra - and even the best artists can't rehabilitate that horrible reveal. Imagine a better team-up for the Cats yourself, and save yourself the six bucks.

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