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Is It Good? Superman Unchained #4 Review

I was a little underwhelmed with Superman Unchained #3, which came out August 21st, because it was unbalanced. Here’s to hoping things even out this week with the latest issue. Is it good?

Superman Unchained #4 (DC Comics)

Missed our review of Superman Unchained #3 and want our thoughts? Check it out here.

This issue is a bit jarring, particularly on the pace and balance side of things, so much so I had to go back and make sure I didn’t miss an issue. Last issue ended with Lex Luthor kidnapping Jimmy Olsen and at the same time Superman teaming up with Wraith to take on some Russian robots in Tokyo. This issue opens with Luthor giving Jimmy a lecture on how the heroes we know and love will die all through origami. Aint that cute. Considering Luthor was doing some paper folding earlier in the series it’s nice to see that wasn’t a throwaway hobby added to the character.

Is it odd Luthor made two different versions of Batman, or is it just me?

This issue does a few things very right, like making Luthor a very good Bond villain as he describes his plan to Olsen, torturing the boy psychologically and physically. Luthor is pretty evil here which is something we haven’t seen in awhile. The other is watching Superman and Wraith team up. Wraith has a lot more experience and knows how to use his powers much more artfully. This allows writer Scott Snyder to play around with the still untested Superman and come up with new ways to challenge him physically. Ascension also makes a splash in this issue, which makes the read that much more valuable.

Just tell him already! There might be time who knows!?

Snyder continues to keep Wraith cast in a bit of a fog in this issue in a slightly frustrating way. Why does he keep saying he’ll kill Superman and when Superman asks him about it, “there’s no time” is always the excuse? Wraith is very much holding his cards close to the vest, but why even bother having Superman ask these questions if he’s not going to answer. That just comes off as belittling to the reader or at the very least a tease. These are questions we already have, you don’t need to keep reminding us we don’t know them.

As is customary with Jim Lee’s art the quality and sharpness dwindles as the issues go on. Once again we get two pages of a full head to toe shot of Superman just cuz and lots of exploding technology. The story flows nicely though and while there’s your customary “this image doesn’t fit but it was stuffed in anyway” it gets the job done. Here’s to hoping Lee can finish this series off and not need extra help as the issues progress.



  • Good challenges for Lois and Superman to overcome
  • Well paced
  • Customarly pointless full page spreads from Lee

Is It Good?

Yep, not bad really. Luthor has some choice scheming going on, Superman is challenged in interesting ways (which is probably the hardest thing to write into a Superman story) and Ascension is on the rise. The backup is good, all two pages of it, as it sets up a very creepy new villain.


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