Call me crazy, but I’m really starting to like this new direction Superman is going in. Essentially Supes has joined a god Fight Club which gives him not only the new direction of fighting for something outside of saving lives, but a way in on figuring out Hordr’s plans. That’s the guy who blackmailed him with his secret identity and screwed up his Clark life royally. The premise is sound, but is it good?
Superman #46 (DC Comics)
Everyone has a problem with Superman being too strong, but they really can’t complain now. That’s because Supes is basically Luke Cage these days. He’s nearly invulnerable, very strong and can’t fly. That means of course that he’s been brought down to the street level heroes which is good for readers as there’s a whole wealth of new stories you can tell.
Why does this book matter?
Well, the above for starters. And aside from that, this new storyline has him going toe to toe with heroes who are gods. Their powers are such that they get stronger as people believe in them more. This is a story element Neil Gaiman used in his Sandman series years ago and it’s a solid direction. That of course means Superman is a god and not just an alien, but the mythical nature of the story is quite an interesting angle.
Friends stick together.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
New readers can jump right in as it feels almost tailor made for them. I read the last issue and I wasn’t bored though, as Gene Luen Yang delivers each of the new story elements well. The script is laid out so simply it’s easy to digest the new direction of Superman. Plus Yang introduces Jimmy Olsen and Blue who are tracking down Superman. This adds a bit of a human character element that’s much needed now that Superman is fighting literal gods in an arena.
That’s what makes this issue read so well in fact, as we meet a bunch of new characters in this new fight club inner circle. Yang introduces two female characters, we learn more about the first guy Superman fought in the ring and these relationships will assuredly pay off as the series goes on.
I’m really digging Howard Porter’s pencils too, which have a John Romita Jr. vibe. They’re sketchy and have a weight to them that give the characters some believability. There is one major fight sequence and Porter does a good job with the choreography of the scene. It’s quick, but it’s also fun to watch Superman fight like a brawler. There’s also a choice flashback Jimmy has that delivers a touching moment as Jimmy realizes Clark was always Superman. It must be tough to learn your friend was duping you for so long and that they had to to protect you and it’s touching largely due to the expressions and blocking by Porter.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The conclusion to the issue feels a bit forced in that Superman finds the bad guy and then starts fighting. It reads like so many superhero comics before it, which is a shame because most of the issue doesn’t feel conventional at all.
I like this new direction.
Is It Good?
A strong issue if you’re digging this new direction for Superman as you’ve never seen him like this before.