Last week “The Final Days of Superman” began in Superman #51, an eight issue series written by Peter J. Tomasi and in it we discovered Superman isn’t feeling so well. He’s worried though and saving more lives than ever to prepare for the worst. This issue is part two and as a wizened master once pondered, we also ponder: is it good?
Batman/Superman (2013-) #31 (DC Comics)
In this issue things get complicated! As DC Comics’ solicit reads:
In part two of “Super League,” Superman enlists Batman’s aid in seeking out people that can help form his new super-league. A shocking discovery is made about a new super-being no one knew existed, and something is beginning to stalk Superman…
Why does this book matter?
Call me crazy but it’s nice to have a multi-part story carry over different books all written by the same writer. This is basically a mini event within the DCU and it’s written by one man and not affecting other books. In other words it’s a way to tell a self contained story, but not completely derail other books. Tomasi has made me fall in love with Superman all over again in the first part due to the incredible heart on display. This issue is penciled by Doug Mahnke and inked by Jaime Mendoza which means we’re in for a darker tone. Fitting considering Superman’s life is coming to an end!
Boss double page spread.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue brings in Batman in an interesting way as Superman enlists his help to use those famous detective skills of his. This allows Superman to lament the fact that he’s dying (and thankfully Bats brings up it’s not so hard to come back from it i.e. Damien’s recent rebirth) and even offers a moment between Clark and Alfred. Tomasi captures a heartfelt moment between the two to remind us Batman might be crabby with Superman for the most part, but darn it he cares about him too.
One of the more interesting achievements of this issue is how Tomasi sheds more light on the mysterious character introduced last month who’s calling himself Superman. We get to see how he looks – drawn with a cool electro-Superman feel – but also an understanding of the conflict between hero version versus non-hero version. I’ll leave it at that, but it appears Tomasi is creating quite a anti-hero here.
Finally the issue is capped off with a five page brawl drawn quite well by Mahnke and Mendoza. There’s a nice double page spread, divided up between 3 diagonal panels, that shows the struggle our heroes go through fighting off some magical looking creatures. There’s a similar double page spread earlier in the issue showing off Batman’s fighting ability that’s fun as heck given the circus freaks Batman beats down. The art team nails down the sullen nature of Superman too which is important given his current emotional state.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are however, a few awkward faces here and there. Superman looks fantastic in one, but then clown like in another with a big grin on his face. It’s really only the faces that are inconsistent, but it’s relatively minor.
This issue is driven by a McGuffin Superman is after – I won’t spoil it – and it leads to a cliffhanger that’s somewhat expected, but the whole thing seems mostly out of left field. What we’re looking at and why it’s happening has no relevance because we have nothing to go on. Speaking of which the attack near the end was cool and all, but what the heck were those things? Again, it’s hard to get a bead on what’s going on, possibly on purpose mind you, but that makes the mystery more bewildering than captivating.
Now that’s just rude!
Is It Good?
Actions scenes are fun and exciting, a new mysterious character is revealed, and the plot thickens with tantalizing developments. Sounds like a nice second chapter in a miniseries if I do say so myself!