Thursday, 18 March 2010

DC Infinite Hallowe'en Special #1

Small Evil

Writer: Steve Seagle
Art: John Paul Leon
Color: Trish Mulville
Letterer: John J. Hill
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover: Gene Ha
Cover Date: December 2007
Release Date: 31/10/2007

This story was published as pages 45-49 of 2007's Infinite Hallowe'en Special.

Hallowe'en in Smallville, and Clark, Lana and Pete have been asked by Pa Kent to take local boy Tyler, whose truck-driving father is out of town, trick or treating with them. Entering Tyler's house, the trio find Tyler prone on the ground, with blood all around him. As Clark deduces that the blood is mouse blood, Tyler gets up, having played a Hallowe'en prank on them.

As they walk through the fields into town, Tyler winds up the friends by teasing them about a mythical beast, the Manticore. They find what appears to be a blood-stained human corpse, and again, Tyler cries out about the Manticore. Clark shoots him down, pointing out that the Manticore is a Persian myth, and that the bones have been stolen from the Biology lab at school. Tyler admits to another prank. Fed up with the lack of sense of humour, Tyler leaves to find his own fun. As Clark and his friends walk away, they hear Tyler cry out that the Manticore has him, but they ignore him, which is a shame, as Tyler has been caught and killed by the real Manticore.

Before we get into this, I would like to point out that I make no apologies for treating a 5-page mini story with the same critical eye as I would treat a full issue. Besides, it's kinda fun having a go at this story...

What we have here is a Superman-flavoured telling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, with Tyler as The Boy, the Manticore as The Wolf, and Clark, Lana and Pete as the uncaring villagers. Does anyone see the problem with this? Yeah, that's right. Clark Kent, the future Superman, doesn't care when an acquaintence of his is ripped to pieces by a monster. We're talking Clark Kent, who at this point has some of his powers, who walks away from the strange new kid who has been playing a series of bad-taste Hallowe'en pranks, without casting a glance back with his telescopic vision or super-hearing to check that the guy is actually alright. Or who we are expected to believe will notice the absence of Tyler later that night or the next day, and do nothing about it.

If you're going to retell a common folk tale/fable with characters from Superman, either have the characters match their counterparts in the fable, or twist, subvert or change the fable to match the existing characters. Don't paint Superman as the kind of person who would abandon someone he doesn't really like to a vicious and horrible death without so much as caring. It's disrespectful to the character and insulting to the reader.

The Geeky Bits:

No sales information available. The lowest entry on the Diamond 300 for October 2007 was Glister #1, from Image, with pre-orders of  2,501. This comic sold less than that.

Next on World of Superman: The secret origin of Perry White!

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