by Rick Blackwell
Tangent (tan'jent): to break off suddenly from a line of thought and pursue another course - Webster's
That is indeed the case in this 90's take on the Superman. Here in a story owing more to books like Astro City and Milestone and art with roots closer to Kabuki and Kingdom Come thanks to the subtle palette of Lovern Kindzierski and the best work from Jackson Guice in some time.
Here we meet African-American New York City cop Harvey Dent all of 24. Harvey is trying to stop someone from leaping from a building and ends up plummeting to what should be his death and not only miraculously survives, but finds he has increase mental abilities. Telekinesis, pyrokinesis, telepathy etc. All of this is explained to us by his longtime girl friend Lola Barnett who reveals Harvey's blessed miracle began 24 years earlier, thanks to scientist Joe Chill tied in with the Nightwing organization in a plan to advance human evolution gone wrong. It is through Lola's narration that writer Mark Miller gives depth and understanding to Harvey. Lola tells of their relationship, how the name Superman came to be. We learn of Harvey's association with other members of the Tangent universe like The Atom and new threats like The Ultra-Humanite.
In this tale the emphasis is on the man, but we learn a lot about the woman in his life as well. If there is a weakness here I can only find 2 one it is text heavy for a comic and the characters look older than what we are told.
All in all a lot of re-hashed ideas I found interesting. Unfortunately I found the script especially the dialogue a bit stiff.
The storytelling is pretty good, but the actual drawing little too sketchy and simplified here. It is really saved by colorist Gregory Wright who works over time here.
So in closing really like the idea and would love to see more with a different creative team.
All characters are DC Comics
This column is © 1998 by Rick Blackwell.
The scanned covers are © 1998 DC Comics.