Fans have been waiting for over three months for a new issue of Superman Unchained, but the wait is finally over. Superman Unchained comes replete with writing by Scott Snyder, art by (DC Comics Co-Publisher) Jim Lee, inks by Scott Williams, and colors by Alex Sinclair. Is it good?
Superman Unchained #7 (DC Comics)
I don’t necessarily mind a prolonged wait between issues if it means that the creators involved are given more time to ensure a quality product without feeling rushed, but delays can severely disrupt proper storytelling flow. Case in point: I completely forgot what the “Earthstone” is, and I don’t feel like ruffling through my long box for Unchained #6 to find out. Granted, I was able to figure out enough from the context to deduce that the Earthstone is a Very Important Object that General Lane and the Wraith want that Superman and Lois Lane can’t let them have, but this is still the kind of problem that could have been avoided if Jim Lee was able to spend more time drawing and less time, you know, running a major publishing company.
I don’t mean to overstate how frustrating that one relatively minor plot element is, because the rest of the issue should be fairly straightforward to anyone that’s been following this series. Superman and Lois Lane are still in the Fortress of Solitude, preparing to be attacked by General Lane and his seemingly Superman-proof weaponry. Meanwhile, Batman and Wonder Woman are in the Batcave, trying to fight off Wraith (think Doomsday but smarter) before he can get to Superman.
There’s some great action, especially in the Batcave as all three characters involved use the environment to their advantage, resulting in at least one frame that is borderline slapstick in how over-the-top it is. This is definitely an action-oriented issue, but it still warms my heart whenever Superman says something along the lines of “I know I might fail, but I have to try.”
It’s a shame that this series is scheduled to end at the ninth issue, because Scott Snyder “gets” Superman as well as he gets Batman in that other series (it’s called Batman). His Superman is smart, polite, and charming, but also a badass when he needs to be. Snyder’s writing style can often be a bit wordier than I would often prefer, but for Superman, it can work.
For many, though, the real reason to pick up this comic is for Jim Lee’s art. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of his heavily-lined, intense style, but I totally get the appeal. It’s big, it’s loud, and especially effective when he gets to draw splash pages like the one in this issue where Wonder Woman smacks Wraith with a… well, I don’t want to spoil it. I’m starting to appreciate him more as a storyteller, too. There’s nothing particularly interesting about his page layouts, but he does have a decent handle on how to make his characters “act” in their facial expressions and body language.
Is It Good?
Superman Unchained #7 isn’t the best that this series has had to offer, but with some deftly handled action, it’s enough to make readers want to come back for more. I know I will.