A new arc starts in this issue, and it’s a good jumping-on point for new readers looking to get into this series. There’s a whole new adventure that introduces a whole new character, and you can easily pick this up and read it without having read the first arc. But is it actually worth your time and money? Let’s have a look.
Some of you may remember that I was somewhat critical of the first arc at times, but this first chapter of the new arc is pretty damn solid! At first glance the premise seems a bit too simple, given that this arc introduces a new character—David—who becomes Superman’s sidekick. David’s origin story borrows heavily from Superman’s own origin and David’s body is affected by Earth’s yellow sun, similar to how Superman’s body is affected by it, although David’s powers are slightly different. Because these elements are so similar, I worried if this premise was going to be interesting enough to hold my attention, but Waid uses this simple, familiar premise as a foundation for a heartfelt story with excellent character work and an intriguing plot.
This title has had a very optimistic tone since its first issue, and that has consistently been something that I have been praising in my reviews. This new arc seems to be darker in tone because David, still a teenager, has to deal with the fact that he has lost his parents as well as the world that he comes from. The comic looks into how he tries to cope with this. David doesn’t seem to be very interested in being a hero and he’s not psyched about the fact that he suddenly has super-powers or a special costume or that he gets to travel with Superman to various exotic locations. Instead, he just wants his mom and dad back and that inner struggle makes him instantly relatable and sympathetic.
While this stuff is indeed much darker than what we’ve seen before in this book, there is still a sense of hope and optimism underneath it all, as Batman, Superman and Robin genuinely care about David and want to help him, no matter what. There’s also some welcome humor here and there, but it’s subtle and never gets in the way of the more serious and dire tone of the main narrative. In short, this comic does what it needs to do: it establishes David as a character and his ordeal, and in doing so it makes David a character that I want to continue to follow, and that’s indicative of precise, effective and strong writing!
Dan Mora, who was absent from last month’s issue, returns to art duties! My favorite pages in this issue are the opening pages. There are barely any words there, so almost the entire storytelling during the opening sequence is told through Mora’s amazing visuals. At a glance we know what each of his panels is supposed to say, and the layout is easy to read, and the high drama and the details make this a powerful hook for the comic.
I also love all the details that Mora draws throughout the issue; he almost never takes any shortcuts. While there are a few panels where he chooses not to draw backgrounds because those panels need to focus completely on a character’s facial expression, he keeps on tirelessly crafting fantastic cityscapes, forests and various interiors. To boot, his action scenes are always so well thought-out and rendered. The sheer level of consistency that Mora brings to his craft is second to none. Even if you’re not really into Waid’s writing, this series continues to be worth it just for Mora’s art alone!
- Dan Mora returning to the book means you’re returning to the book!
- The idea of a new sidekick for Superman intrigues you.
- You’ve been waiting for a jumping-on point; now’s your chance!
Overall: This is a strong start to the new arc. David, Superman’s new sidekick, is a relatable and sympathetic character, and even though the tone is much more grim than what we’re used to seeing in this series, there’s still that spark of hope as Batman and Superman try to help David out and take care of him. It’s a clean script, and since there’s minimal exposition, the art can breathe and shine. It’s a great jumping-on point as well. Recommended!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.