Superman in World's Finest Archives Vol. 2 Hardcover – Nov 3 2009
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Great news - DC has abandoned, at least for this archive, their cheapo method of reconstructing old comics. See my review of the "Golden Age Starman Archives 2" titled "This is not a Archive book, it is something else" (Note, you will have to go to the list all reviews on that web page to find it). DC experimented with doing a half done (or half "word not printable") reconstruction in the "Golden Age Starman Archives 2". They tried to hide the half done reconstruction by adding a fake digital comic paper background. You ended up with a book that had partially reconstructed ink lines, ink line bleed through, viewing of printer dots, muddy color, and so on. That book is really bad to look at, much less read. This was all for the improved price of $ 59.99 (i.e. in the past the archive books have sold usually for $ 49.99).
With the "Superman in World's Finest Archives Vol. 2" DC has returned to the original Archive format. This IS an Archive where you get a version of the comics that is closer to what was seen after the comic colorist was done and before the comic was printed on the cheap yellow comic paper. The paper in this book is nice and bright, the colors continuous with no printing dots, and lines cleaned up.
The reason I gave this book a "4" star is the stories are simplistic and there were better stories written in other comics at the time. I find the Batman stories of the era better written, likely due to their writers had to plot a problem/mystery to be solved. The Superman stories tended have him help someone where Superman had to showboat his strengths by crash through walls, block bullets, bolts of lighting, fight a couple guys, etc. for a portion of the story. The problem/mystery Superman was solving tended to be simpler. With the "4" star, I am allowing for the writing in comics being different in the 1940's (also they were written for kids). If you are expecting the stories you read in comics today you might then give this Archive a "1" or "2" star for the stories in it.
The book does have some stories that are real gems with fun problems/mysteries to solve and tales with some convulsions to them. One of the better stories is "Music for the Masses!". In this story Jimmy Royce wants to be a songwriter and is sweet on Sue. Sue suggests he go to Metropolis to sell his songs to a publisher. Jimmy thinks this is a great idea and goes. He tells Sue he will come back to her when he is rich and famous. Unknown to Jimmy, Sue suggested he go to Metropolis because she is trying to get rid of him because he is a loser. Right after he leaves, Sue the two-timer, calls a rich boy friend to come over. When Jimmy arrives in Metropolis he almost has his suitcases stolen, but Superman intervenes and beats the thieves up. More adventures follow where Superman helps Jimmy hook up with the music publishers, gets Jimmy's money back from a crooked agent, and so on. Jimmy eventually meets a plain, smart, honest, and nerdy woman (you can tell she is nerdy because she wears glasses) named Doris who works in the music publishing business. Between Doris and Superman's help, a music publisher recognizes Jimmy's talent and he becomes rich and famous selling a song about Superman (of course). Jimmy now wants to go back to two-timing Sue and marry her. It turns out nerdy Doris is sweet on Jimmy. Jimmy does not recognize this so Superman helps Doris out. He has her get a hot dress, has her take off the glasses, and takes her to meet Jimmy at the train station before he leaves. This does not stop Jimmy from going back to Sue, although he notices there is something different about Doris. Superman then makes sure Jimmy overhears Sue tell a friend that she will marry Jimmy and then get alimony from him. Jimmy then realizes Doris is the better woman for him (and is good looking too).
Likely the moral of the story back in the simpler times of the 1940's was if you work hard and follow your dreams you will be rewarded. Also another moral from the story is beauty is more than skin deep. However in the jaded twenty first century I think the morals of the story are; if you are going to marry a hottie, get a prenuptial agreement. Also if you plan to marry a nice, honest, smart, and sensitive woman who will love you - make sure she cleans up good and sees well enough that she will not walk into door frames with her glasses off.
Anyway I think this book is fun and it is good to have DC fully reconstruct these old stories again.