Tom Russo
May 14, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Ever wonder how Superman ties into Nietzsche’s concept of ”der Ubermensch?” Never fear, Seagle’s deep-thinking, semiautobiographical tale does it for you, and then some. ”Steve” is a hipster geek balking at a dream offer to write ”Superman,” unable to separate the character from a tangle of painful thoughts and memories of his family’s struggles with Huntington’s disease, an incapacitating genetic muscle disorder that afflicts several of his relatives. How can he reconcile a hero so perfectly, absurdly invulnerable with a world in which he himself could be so hopelessly the opposite? Steve’s searching deconstructions of the icon serve as the cutaways from his increasingly moody (but often terrifically wry) interactions with his editor, his family, and his girlfriend. Kristiansen’s slender, angular not-quite-caricatures, meanwhile, are well matched to the pervading air of restlessness. At a time when ”Superman” comics tend to oversell minor story departures as major ones, this is something truly different.

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