Shut Up, Jeph Loeb (#1)

For the record, I don't hate Jeph Loeb. He's written things that I've enjoyed quite a bit. Things that many comic readers did not enjoy. Say what you want about Hush, but it is hands-down the best superhero comic book to lend to someone who doesn't read superhero comic books. This is because of three key Loeb traits that are more than present in Hush, and pretty much everything else the guy writes:

1. Heavy-handed, repetitive, soul-searching in the form of interior monologues, usually serving as narration.
2. A veritable all-star game of every hero and villain he can think of, each with a clear introduction, regardless of how well the characters actually fit into the story.
3. Cuteness.

Loeb's stories often go nowhere, but at least there are lots of clear roadsigns along the way. And the artwork is always nice because he gets superstar artists. What I'm saying is, his comics are easy to read, and this might explain his popularity among the casual comic fan (read: people who read comics to feel closer to Brandon Routh).

Like I said, I don't hate the man's writing, and I can see that he has enormous love for the characters and so forth. But pretty much every time I read one of his stories I hit a moment where all I can think is...

I guess I should give an example. many to choose from...

Alright, here's a good one. From Superman/Batman #4. These are probably the only two pages of these books that don't explicitly indicate that Superman and Batman are totally in love with each other. Because that's another Loeb trait: all superheroes love each other as much as Loeb loves them.

Anyway, in these panels we have S & B fighting it up against a grab bag of DC superheroes. Here's a chunk of what they're thinking:

Did I mention that Loeb likes to have his characters over-explain things? He does.

"S. Castling."?! Why don't you just say "switch"? It's not like that's code for anything. Any idiot would know what you're planning. But just in case the readers are morons, Superman explains it to us. And adds something cute about Bruce loving chess. And then Batman makes a cute remark about it. No, wait...Batman thinks a cute remark about it.

So within these two pages we see examples of all three signs that you're reading a Loeb story: overly spelled-out narration in the form of interior monologues, loads of random characters, and unbearable cuteness.

Frankly I'd be ok with all of that if the story would just go somewhere satisfying for once. Always with the convoluted craziness! Like this story, for example, started by being about Metallo and the possibility that he murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne back when he was merely John Corben. But it ended by being about...Captain Atom zapping Superman with a Kryptonite ring so that he could be the one to pilot a giant composite Superman/Batman-shaped spacecraft and destroy a Kryptonite meteor headed for Earth while Batman and a recovered Superman battle Lex Luthor. And even to get into the larger story of Superman being framed by Luthor for wanting to destroy the Earth, we have to accept the fact that the entire world and all Justice League and Justice Soceity superheroes would agree that a Kryptonite meteor is evidence enough that Superman is out to destroy them all. *sigh*