With all of the goings-on in the recent trades on “the shelf”, it’s nice to take a small step back and be able to enjoy smaller, more self-contained stories. Superman: Strange Attractors focuses less on the aftermath of Blue Beetle and Max Lord’s deaths, and more on Superman himself, as he faces off against a series of villains. There aren’t really any major over-arching storylines here, except for the few references to The Society, of which both Doctor Psycho and Black Adam seem to be a part of.
Their run-in with Superman was merely a pit-stop on their way to a meeting with The Society, with little reference to the larger storyline there.
Not that that’s a bad thing. I enjoyed taking a breather from all of the heavy-handedness and being able to enjoy a few simple Superman stories for a bit. Along with Doctor Psycho and Black Adam, Supes also faces off against Livewire and, in one of my favorite storylines from the trade, the Queen of Fables.
Feeling remarkably reminiscent of Vertigo’s Fables series, which was well underway by the time this issue was published, I enjoyed seeing a fairytale story brought into the world of Superman. Not only is it visually striking and different, it also allows Superman to lament how much he dislikes magic, one of his few vulnerabilities. It was a fun and different sort of Superman story, and the moments it referenced back to fairy tales on Krypton was particularly entertaining.
Given how each story ends, it seems unlikely that this is the last we’ll see of these villains. I’m hoping they make future appearances in a larger context, rather than simply being random appearances with no tie-in to the bigger story going on. Gail Simone’s writing here is great, and I especially love how she writes Doctor Psycho and Lois. Each has a clear, distinct personality, and reading about each of them was more engaging than other stories of theirs I’ve come across.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. The stories are really fun, but they’re also pretty straightforward. I’m not sure if these were meant to be filler until Infinite Crisis finally hits, or if the events here will subversively tie into the larger story in an as-yet unknown way. Whatever the case, these were really fun, solid Superman stories. No earth-shattering status quo shifts, but plenty of action and quippy dialogue to hold my attention.