Superman’s life has been completely turned around and we’re not even talking the New 52 changes. He’s been severely depowered — reduced to Hulk hops instead of flight and only a modicum of his former strength and invulnerability. His secret identity has been revealed too and he’s practically on the run. Life is different. This new direction is compelling, but is it good?
Superman #45 (DC Comics)
This issue opens with Superman packing a bag for a trip to go kick HORDR’s ass. HORDR are some kind of computer based villains who figured out Superman’s identity. They tried to blackmail him but before they could Lois revealed his identity to the world to free him of that burden. Now Clark wants payback.
Superman is enjoying this eh?
Why does this comic book matter?
How long has it been now that people have said, “Superman is cool but he’s too powerful. Where’s his weakness besides that green glowing stuff?” To those folk I say: Superman hasn’t been this weak since Superman II! On top of that there’s an interesting story being weaved here about almost forgotten gods; even though Superman isn’t as powerful as he was is he still a god?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Writer Gene Luen Yang introduces some gods from the Philippines who are now fighting for their lives in more ways than one over in California. That’s where Superman heads to to kick HORDR’s ass. He infiltrates their base, has a brief fight sequence with a god and that leads him down a road to a god fight club. Cool right? It works because, similar to the story in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, if gods aren’t prayed to/or pervasive in our thoughts… they die. What better way to get the attention of people than to fight in the arena? This leads to a new story thread you weren’t expecting and should get people adequately pumped for the next issue.
Meanwhile Clark’s detective skills get him one step closer to HORDR, who is a pretty interesting villain and one that’s perfect for our technological age. The leader of this group is creepy as hell and Howard Porter does a great job on art duty. When Clark finds a secret passage Porter has a quarter of the page to show us the evil secret area and he does a great job establishing size and detail here.
Mixing in the well paced art and story you have yourself a breakneck issue that’s fun to read. Unpacking what Clark discovers keeps you on your toes too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
One might say it’s a bit action heavy in the last third of the book. This is made more obvious when the strong detective work and HORDR reveals are going on. I certainly wanted more reveals in the HORDR department!
Is It Good?
This is a strong issue that has plenty of action to satiate fans. The god element is intriguing and it’ll be fun to see Superman go up against HORDR just as soon as he can pool some cash.