Superman & Top Cat. Yep, you heard that right, and YES this issue is as bizarre as it sounds.
To start, the covers… I love them, they are extremely animated and for a story as insane as this one, it works perfectly. First the standard cover, by Shane Davis is terrific – although Top Cat sure looks different here from how I remember the cartoons, or is that just me? The colouring is fantastic too, and that is what really animates the cover, and also the issue. The variant cover (left comic in the image) is by Emanuela Lupacchino and it is incredible. I feel that it perfectly captures the tone of the story and also the characters personalities and roles within the issue.
The story focuses around a superfood kale monster, otherwise known as the KALIEN! The monster comes to earth to declare war on the owner of healthy food store ‘Wholesome Foods’ – Alexander Mikos. Mikos is a billionaire who makes money by selling the latest superfood no matter the cost, and in doing so, he has wiped out an entire race of Kaliens, except one.
The overall concept of the issue seems like a little dig at the ‘health freak’ types – all those who ate the latest superfood were essentially contributing to the extinction of the Kalians. Not to mention the issue comes just as “World Vegan Week” begins, seems like perfect timing. I like the idea of turning it around, it seems sometimes that the fact that you eat meat – a living animal – is sometimes frowned upon, but this story just turns that completely and brings that notion to plants too.
I love the dynamic between Superman and Top Cat, it adds the perfect amount of humour to the issue to a really light-hearted issue, which is sometimes nice, especially between the gritter issues like Heroes In Crisis. Some of my favourite parts of the issue is the moment Top Cat meets Clark Kent and instantly figures out who he really is. The two are strangely comical together, as Clark frantically tries to move him away from his co-workers before they catch wind.
Another favourite part is Mikos referring to TC as Streaky, which is a perfect nod to the other feline friend in Superman’s life.
The story and origin of the monster seems almost familiar too… the last of his kind and his planet gone to extinction, any ideas? That’s right just like our Last Son of Krypton, the monster has just gone on a different path because of it. During their original battle Superman spills his heart and feelings to the monster in order to try and reason with him. To me, this is really what makes the monster and Superman understand each other as they, along with TC turn against the real villain of the story.
The artwork throughout the book, just like the cover is very animated, and again it works. There are some great action shots which seem like a homage to other iconic Superman scenes. An example below, seems like a great acknowledgement to the classic pose and artwork by Neal Adams.
Personally, I think the pair should team up more often, I really enjoyed this issue and it’s tone. We need more stupidly crazy stories like this, somehow it just works.