Superman: The Odyssey
Graham Nolan &
Chuck Dixon, writers,
Graham Nolan, artist
(DC, 1999)

Superman wasn't always the carefree, cocksure superhero he is in contemporary comics. In The Odyssey, Graham Nolan and Chuck Dixon tell a tale of Clark Kent's younger days, when he traveled the world trying to come to grips with his new, still growing powers.

A spur-of-the-moment rescue in Paris saves a small girl's life and lands Clark in the company of Terri Chung, a free-spirited traveler of a different sort. What begins as a semi-romantic outing ends abruptly when a team of assassins appears. Terri soon confesses her identity -- she's the daughter of a religious leader in Bhutran, a small nation at odds with the Chinese government. Of course, Clark returns with her to her father's palatial home and tries to set things right, but even Superman can't fix international politics and religious hatred.

The story is strong, with plenty of intrigue and global tension to mix with the action. But it's fun, too, particularly in some of its characterizations -- a young man's discovery of new, otherworldly powers while still retaining a fresh, naive innocence; a young lady's zest for adventure; a spiritual leader's devotion to duty and affection for cigars. There's even a brief cameo appearance by another young, grim, soon-to-be hero.

Nolan provides great art to accompany the story. All combined, The Odyssey is a winning tale.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 26 January 2002