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Superman vs. Muhammad Ali Review

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LOLtron

Rain Partier

Postby LOLtron » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:44 pm

Thirty-two years after it's original publication, DC Comics has released two new editions of Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. How does this classic work hold up today?



Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:


Two legendary figures meet for the first time in this spectacular adventure, as an alien race called the Scrubb demand that Earth's greatest champion battle their world's own greatest fighter. Both Superman and Muhammad Ali step forward -- and to determine who is truly Earth's greatest fighter, Superman temporarily loses his powers and faces Ali in the ring. Ultimately, the duo must work together to defeat the Scrubb, with Ali taking on their champion while Superman battles their space-armada. Features previously unpublished developmental artwork and other bonus features, at DC's Deluxe Edition trim size.

Buy the Deluxe Edition on Amazon Today!



Review:


In the fall of 1978, DC Comics published a comic book featuring arguably the most iconic superhero of all time teaming up with arguably the most iconic sports figure of all time, Muhammad Ali. Written by Dennis O'Neil and co-written and drawn by Neal Adams, this 72 page one-shot comic was a product of its times, illustrated both by the plethora of 70s celebrities adorning the cover, as well as the distinct storytelling style that was a staple of the Silver and Bronze Ages. Surprisingly, this book ages very well.

For those impressed by the cooperation that led to the Marvel and DC crossovers of this same era, the work that went into producing this book surpasses even that. According to the foreword, the creators of the book needed the approval of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, and Wikipedia tells us that Ali himself would only agree to appear if his character could discover Superman's secret identity. In fact, the process of producing the comic took so long that Ali was no longer World Heavyweight Champion by the time it was released.

Regardless, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali is fondly remembered by fans who owned the original release. And it's no surprise, as this is a Bronze Age comic at its finest. An evil alien race threatens to destroy the Earth unless Earth's greatest champion fights theirs in a boxing match. Of course, there is some dispute over whether that champion is Superman or Ali, so the two decide to settle it in a match of their own. While Ali bests Superman in a powerless match, Superman's refusal to give up wins over the hearts of the alien spectators, and the two eventually team up to defeat both the alien champion and the unscrupulous alien warlord, who attempts to destroy the Earth regardless of the winner of the fight.

Okay, so it sounds pretty ridiculous written out like that, and in truth, it is. Storytelling in comic books in the seventies was not known for it's literary complexity. In fact, simplicity was preferred, and in many cases, the reader was beaten mercilessly over the head with wordy exposition. To some extent, that flaw is present here, and as a result this might not be for readers who can't appreciate older comics with a historical perspective, and might be more inclined to incorrectly view this as kitsch. On the other hand, older fans and those with a proper appreciation for the days of comics past will find a treasure in Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.

And with good reason! The art here is a pleasure to behold, which is to be expected from a true master like Neal Adams. Not only does Adam's current work hold up well in modern times, but even this thirty year old artwork shines today, aided of course by what I'm guessing is a brand new coloring. In fact, many consider it to be some of Adams' finest work. The format itself is oversized like the original, and comes in both a regular hardcover and deluxe version packed with extra features.

Superman vs. Muhamad Ali will make a fine addition to anyone's bookshelf or coffee table, and in particular would be an excellent choice of holiday gift for the classic comic book lover in your family. Literary complexity may not be a factor here, but it doesn't need to be. This story has all the elements that make a classic superhero story packed together into one "heavy-hitting" package.





Review by: Jude Terror


http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/reviews/comics-reviews/11504-superman-vs-muhammad-ali-review.html/
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thefourthman

Outhouse Editor

Postby thefourthman » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:14 pm

Nice review.

This was awesome. The comments about modern readers is a little weird though... I think this will be loved by anyone who loves fun comics... if you dig Chew, if you dig Atomic Robo, if you can look past the problems of Time Lincoln and revel in the team presented, this is a book I would recommend to you.

One correction though, this is not available in a regular and a deluxe version. It is availble in a Deluxe version which is similar in format to say the Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel book or the Red Son or RIP. It is oversized compared to the modern comic, but is not the same size as the original Treasury Edition comic that was the original format of the work. This edition is $19.99 and feature sketches and stuff. The other version is a Facsimile Edition which is printed in the same dimensions of the original release, but hardback. I don't think it has any special features. It retails for $39.99.

The Deluxe Edition is a bargain.
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S.F. Jude Terror

OMCTO

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:17 pm

thefourthman wrote:Nice review.

This was awesome. The comments about modern readers is a little weird though... I think this will be loved by anyone who loves fun comics... if you dig Chew, if you dig Atomic Robo, if you can look past the problems of Time Lincoln and revel in the team presented, this is a book I would recommend to you.

One correction though, this is not available in a regular and a deluxe version. It is availble in a Deluxe version which is similar in format to say the Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel book or the Red Son or RIP. It is oversized compared to the modern comic, but is not the same size as the original Treasury Edition comic that was the original format of the work. This edition is $19.99 and feature sketches and stuff. The other version is a Facsimile Edition which is printed in the same dimensions of the original release, but hardback. I don't think it has any special features. It retails for $39.99.

The Deluxe Edition is a bargain.



You and your facts. :x

I had to get the description info from Amazon because DC's site wasn't loading when I wrote this, and I was impatient.
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thefourthman

Outhouse Editor

Postby thefourthman » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:19 pm

was just saying. It's a good review otherwise (even if I do disagree with your take on how modern readers will react - this was the best bronze age book I have ever read)
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S.F. Jude Terror

OMCTO

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:24 pm

thefourthman wrote:was just saying. It's a good review otherwise (even if I do disagree with your take on how modern readers will react - this was the best bronze age book I have ever read)


I said it might not be for them, and I think that's accurate. I loved it myself.
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thefourthman

Outhouse Editor

Postby thefourthman » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:27 pm

Jude Terror wrote:
I said it might not be for them, and I think that's accurate. I loved it myself.

I don't think Punchy, Twigg or Amlah should be taken into account. :lol:

PDH

penile prisoner

Postby PDH » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:37 pm

According to the forward, the creators of the book needed the approval of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, and Wikipedia tells us that Ali himself would only agree to appear if his character could discover Superman's secret identity.


What an odd request from Muhammad Ali, if that is his real name. Oh wait, it's not. I hope Superman was allowed to discover his secret identity for the sake of symmetry.

Good review, Jude. I want to read this comic.

PDH

penile prisoner

Postby PDH » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:37 pm

I've just noticed that you've put 'forward' instead of 'foreword,' in the quote above.
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thefourthman

Outhouse Editor

Postby thefourthman » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:44 pm

:smt005
He is the eic.
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Eli Katz

OMCTO

Postby Eli Katz » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:07 pm

This is my favorite Superman story, and it is easily Adams' best work. Early in the book, if I remember correctly, there is a street scene with Clark and Lois buying apples (or something) at a fruit stand. It is magnificently detailed. So glad this is being reissued.

Spidey-Man

Postby Spidey-Man » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:25 pm

Even back in the day, the story was considered pretty silly and weak. it was the novelty and the artwork.

Royal Nonesuch

Staff Writer

Postby Royal Nonesuch » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:39 pm

PDH wrote:
What an odd request from Muhammad Ali, if that is his real name. Oh wait, it's not. I hope Superman was allowed to discover his secret identity for the sake of symmetry.


It's not the same thing. Cassius Clay isn't a "secret identity," it wasn't even another persona. It was just another name. Then he legally changed his name to Muhammad Ali, so that is his "real name." Cassius Clay isn't some big secret like Clark Kent is.

PDH

penile prisoner

Postby PDH » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:30 pm

Royal Nonesuch wrote:
It's not the same thing. Cassius Clay isn't a "secret identity," it wasn't even another persona. It was just another name. Then he legally changed his name to Muhammad Ali, so that is his "real name." Cassius Clay isn't some big secret like Clark Kent is.


You mean, he's not a real superhero? :?

Spidey-Man

Postby Spidey-Man » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:44 pm

Nah. Just a draft dodger

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