Superman’s quest to reacquire his full power is in full effect. I for one have enjoyed his power set being reduced to jumping high and heightened strength, but I guess folks want to see the flying/invulnerability make a comeback. The cape certainly has suffered with the new powers! Question is, is the quest worth it? Is it good?
Superman #48 (DC Comics)
Superman has recently come under the impression if he poisons himself with Kryptonite he’ll kill the bad flesh that’s unable to soak up the rays of the sun. Basically, get rid of the bad flesh + regrow good flesh = he’ll be as super as ever. Problem is this plan requires a lot of Kryptonite poisoning. Meanwhile HORDR_Root is very much aware of his plan and wants him dead right now.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Gene Luen Yang has taken a depowered Superman and made him interesting. The recent god fight club storyline for instance could have easily come off as cheesy or silly, but it works largely because you believe in Superman and the characters around him. This is real life and his life is very much at risk. That concept continues on as Superman is willing to poison himself to get what he lost.
Is that Trump!?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Art duty is shared in this issue by Howard Porter and Ardian Syaf and it’s quite good. The latter portion of the book in particular has a detailed and edgy style reminiscent of John Romita Jr.’s work. The style is a bit cleaner than Romita’s but damn does the killer robot in this look fantastic — mech fans need to see this. The earlier pages aren’t quite as detailed – plus they remove the pretty eyelashes from Superman – but they’re dark and moody. When these two art styles do switch I was a bit confused (this may also be due to the ads bordering the change) as we see a character getting shot at in the exact same costume agent Trevor is wearing. It irked me a bit, but if you can roll with that it’s no big deal.
The story by Yang can pretty much be split into two stories in this issue. The first is a terrorist attack at a US Presidential debate, where Superman and Agent Trevor first meet. From there they go back to Trevor’s base and the rest takes place there with some Kryptonite/robot violence. Yang plays with Trevor and Superman’s tension due to their both dating Wonder Woman quite well. It’s obvious both guys are still hurt over Diana dumping them and while they respect each other they aren’t best friends by any means. It may not work much due to it not amounting to much, but it gives the characters an edge when speaking to each other that’s fun to read.
The best scenes – the ones everyone will be talking about – are in the second half of the issue when Superman doses himself with Kryptonite. He puts himself in a compromising position all the while a monster robot crushes the walls around him. It’s an exciting sequence and certainly a rare one considering we never see Superman jumping towards Kryptonite.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The first portion of this story does feel a bit by the numbers though. It’s Superman and Trevor basically taking on an assassin as you’d expect them to. Yang makes the sequence feel important with a good example of Superman using his wits to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
The differences between the two art styles is also a bit jarring. While it’s usually good when a comic book reads like it’s multiple stories in one I’m not so sure here. It’s almost like we’re short changed with two shorter scenes rather than a longer single issue. It’s not just the art though as the story completely switches gears midway through.
Is It Good?
Nothing beats Superman vs. Kryptonite and you get an intense scene of that here. While the book reads like it’s split into two shorter tales it’s still a solid read due to strong art and compelling moments.