I've not kept my appreciation of James Robinson's work in comics (especially Starman and The Golden Age) a secret - I've always enjoyed his deft touch with characters, his literate scripting, and his ability to create a rich, touching atmosphere. I have to admit that I was a little less than enthused about Justice League: Cry for Justice , and his Superman work seemed....well, it felt (to me, at least) like he was finding his feet.
This week, two books show that Robinson is starting to regain his strength....or more accurately, they're beginning to feel like Robinson's writing.
First, believe it or not, I have to give major props to Robinson's work on Blackest Night: Superman. Granted, I am enjoying Blackest Night, which is zombies who will mess with your head (unlike Marvel's more cliche, er, I mean, "traditional" approach). It's structured much like a traditional horror/slasher movie, and in this context, it works. In fact, Eddy Burrows' art really helps sell it, and there's one little touch with color that I thought was nice.
(But Mr. Robinson...didja have to do that to Krypto? I mean, come on, it's ok to do rude things to Beppo the Super Monkey, but Krypto? OK, I get it, things are serious, but still, Mr. Robinson, you're breaking my heart)
But Robinson comes into full form in Superman Annual # 14, which talks about the background of Lar Gand, aka Mon-El, whose history (much like fellow hero Power Girl) has been rebooted, revamped, revised, and reestablished multiple times. I'm surprised that, in the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes, there aren't a multitude of urban legends about Mon-El....
...but I digress.
This comic demonstrates Robinson's greatest talent - finding the hidden nuances behind a character, or even creating unique aspects to a character. This issue is no different, but it adds so many layers - how Kryptonians and Daxamites are similar. Some of the mythology of both Krypton and Daxam. Some of the players involved, and the circumstances around how Mon-El left Daxam.
But the last page? If it doesn't break your heart (in a good way), you lack one.
Good to have you back, Mr. Robinson.