• The events of the Darkseid War has caused some major changes after the demise of Apokolips’ dark lord. The death of one God has led to the birth of several new ones. Among those newly created gods is the Kryptonian, Superman. Transformed into the God of strength, Kal-El returns to earth fully charged from the fiery pits of Apokolips. The solar energy had a negative effect on the Man of Steel, increasing his ego and diminishing his compassion. The fire from the hellish planet had consumed him.
That's totally a Batman line
That’s totally a Batman line

I was really excited about reading this issue because of how great the Justice League arc has been and how well written the first one shot with Batman was. This issue doesn’t hit as hard for me, but it is still an entertaining story. As soon as Superman is shown, he’s already demolishing a massive enemy looking to take down Earth’s champion. I thought that opening was nice because 1) the enemy is really large compared to Superman and 2) I liked the boastful attitude that he was showing. He displayed a very Herculean type behavior. That feeling of admiration and astonishment quickly faded as I realized that Negative Superman is a complete tool.

Although, like Superman, I too hate to be bothered while eating
Although, like Superman, I too hate to be bothered while eating

The opening fight sequence is meant to give Superman something to go against. Frankly he doesn’t care nor is his enemy strong or skilled enough to go toe to toe against the God of strength. The focus here is on the aftermath of the fight. First, his attitude is examined. He resembles more closely what his persona would’ve been if he shared that same Kryptonian pride as General Zod. The apparent effect that Apokolips’ solar energy had on Superman is a cool concept, and it was really interesting seeing how he treated Alex Luthor in the Justice League issue, but here I feel like it felt a bit one dimensional. Maybe that was the point. Just something to show that he wasn’t the same Superman everyone loved. I felt like the execution could’ve been pulled off a bit better, especially the diner scene when Supes is being rude to everyone. The scene just felt flat to me. What I did take from it is how the people feel about Superman. The citizens of the city like having him around (at least in the Justice League titles). They’re ecstatic to see him and they love his new costume. Initially, it’s as if they’re oblivious to the change in Superman’s personality. He gets off a few rude comments before anyone reacts in any certain way. When the city is under attack, Jimmy gives a riveting speech as to why Superman does what he does. It really is the best part of the issue. The emotionally charged scene really displays Jimmy and Clark’s relationship well. Although Jimmy understands Superman’s motivation, I felt like the issue highlighted the spirit of the people more. Superman still does his “save the day” thing, but I was more impressed with the people in this one. However, my connection to either party faded at the end with that somewhat weak ending. Superman solved the problem in such an easy overpowered manner, I had to go back over the pages to see exactly what happened. Also, Jimmy’s conversation with Perry back at the Daily Planet had me thinking, man…people are stupid. Oh well, carry on.

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I actually thought that Francis Manapul was doing the pencils for this when I originally viewed the solicitation. It was nice to see his name on the writing credits though. Great to see DC fully utilizing their staff and allowing them to follow their dreams and expand their craft. I wasn’t too familiar with artist Bong Dazo, but I dig the name. The pages looked pretty good, even if I felt like all of his characters (minus Superman) appear pudgy in the face. Everyone looks like they’re hiding food in their cheeks. Jimmy in particular looked like a chubby kid who sells malt shakes at a local diner. Maybe that’s why it was important for a diner to be in the story. Anyway, the panels still look great. Colorist Hi-Fi helps make each page stand out with arrays of color. One story aspect that was told visually is when the city is being taken over by the icky black stuff from the alien. Jimmy gives the last part of his plea to Superman just as he’s being consumed; his eyes holding out hope until the last moment. A few panels later, Superman’s eyes quickly revert back to normal to show that their is still a small ounce of hope left within him. I really enjoy moments that convey a message without too much exposition.

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Recommended if:

  • A cocky and rude Superman sparks your interest
  • You want to see Jimmy fight until the end for his friend
  • You’re following Darkseid War

Overall:

I had some higher hopes for Superman’s story. I loved his interaction with Lex Luthor and how the tables were kind of turned. Here, he doesn’t have an antagonist or someone to go against with that much weight in terms of character development. The clash with the alien served as a backdrop to lead to a more emotional conflict for Superman to deal with. Thanks to Jimmy’s water works and way with words, this issue gets a passing grade, but it was nothing too memorable. Supes comes up short compared to Batman once again. I’ll still be looking forward to Justice League #46. Let’s keep the great storytelling rolling.

 

SCORE: 7 / 10