I had my suspicions.
Mark Waid's Birthright narrative is something I've never seen before in comics, and it's beginning to make me wonder why he's not DC's Editor in Chief. I haven't finished the comic yet, but what I find so compelling about it is it's refined simplicity in the mythology of Superman.
I enjoy the addition that he can see the life energy of living things. Not only does it fit into the mythology of Superman's advanced perception but it substantiates his motivation for not taking human life. Also I think there is really something to Superman's motivation to be Superman. A reviewer, Ben Kuchera from Penny Arcade pointed this out a few weeks ago, and I wish I had noticed it myself. Superman's chief motivation to coming out of the shadows is fearful submission to Zod's forces. He doesn't reveal himself in the act of saving people, he does so out of fear. Birthright's conceptualization of Superman has him making a difference as a journalist, and while he isn't directly intervening in the conflicts at hand, he still is attempting to make a difference for those that can't help themselves. This is what the Man of Steel should have been, and it wasn't to it's shame.
Reading Birthright though is refreshing in an unexpected way. It's not that I find myself going, "Yes! This Superman lives to my altruistic expectations." That's hardly the case. What I'm discovering is that a good writer has always the capacity to add something, or tweak an origin to make a story better. I read through the first 8 issues of the New 52 Flash series last weekend and it's all garbage, which is hard for me to say. I love the Flash, and he's my favorite of the second string DC heroes, but for the love of gawd that writing is awful! DC can't expect Grant Morrison to keep taking their money and get gold in return forever. One day he's not going to be here. One day Neil Gaiman won't be here.
Hell, the day Alan Moore dies, DC will have to release a one shot issue called, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" where Alan's contributions are eulogized into the cannon. He redefined comics, changing them indefinitely. No sane individual can stand tall behind that. He is the Man of Tomorrow.
I'm just disappointed though. It seems that DC is losing themselves to the biggest rookie mistake in the comic biz. They are placing an emphasis on art work and stylized action sequences rather than the stories underneath. Sandman has never been known for it's incredible artwork, but the story is one of the best (if not the best) narratives in comic-bookdom.
It's true that my dream job is writing for DC, but I get worried sometimes. I fear that very soon they won't be around anymore. The golden days have past and the future looks grim for the mega-stars of the comics industry. I want to write for DC, but they are on their way out, and I'm watching them die like a relative with cancer. Sometimes it's unfair, but I have to remind myself that these things are inevitable.
I'm going to change things with my story for the graphic novel though. Just you guys wait. It'll change everything.