We are in week 4 of “The Final Days of Superman” which is an 8 part series written by Peter J. Tomasi and drawn by various artists. The storyline is all about Superman’s last days on earth (supposedly) – which we’ve seen before, but so far “Final Days” still feels fresh.
Two questions: Can it sustain that quality and is it good?
Superman/Wonder Woman #28 (DC Comics)
If you didn’t read the last issue in this story check out our review here.
If you’re a new reader to the story arc, here’s the official DC Comics summary:
In part four of “The Final Days of Superman,” Wonder Woman and Kal-El, along with Steve Trevor, come face to face with the solar man calling himself Superman. But will this creature be Superman’s savior—or destroyer? And what is Ulysses’ role in all of this?
Why does this book matter?
The best part of this story arc has been how Tomasi has slowly built the villains. We’ve checked in with them in each issue, but only bit by bit, which has ramped up the interest and also created a bit of mystery/intrigue along the way. Last issue ended with Wonder Woman being a bit ticked off to learn Superman is dying and he didn’t even tell her. Ex-lover pissed about something? Now that’s drama.
They did a good job with “solar man” here.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Tomasi does a good job reminding us Wonder Woman and Superman were an item in the New 52 with opening scenes that are genuinely romantic and a bit sexy too. We know they’ve broken up, but clearly knowing Superman nearing the end has ramped up their emotions. Wonder Woman further solidifies the fact that Superman is loved and will be missed. Even with a fighter in his corner like Wonder Woman Supes knows this is the end though which further intensifies the sorrow he’s going through.
This issue also finally pits Superman versus the pretender Superman the summary describes as “solar man”. This character once again shows he’s mad, but also very much thinking he’s the real deal. Tomasi doesn’t reveal much about this character’s psychosis or why he believes he’s Superman so much, but that’s okay because at this juncture we’re just soaking in Superman’s reaction.
There’s also a surprise villain reintroduced that kicks matters up a notch; in a way, the reveal further burns Superman, rubbing his impending death in his face, which is another example of Tomasi’s talent for amping up the dramatic tension. Bottom line: Superman is reminded over and over his time is ending and it’s pretty damn sad.
The art in this issue is by Ed Benes with colors by Alex Sinclair and letters by Rob Leigh. Wonder Woman looks crazy young in this issue – with really pouty lips for Superman to kiss – but really she’s here for emotional support and isn’t even in the book that much. This solar man however is in it quite a bit and looks fantastic. The Superman logo on his chest is incredibly bright and pops well as if to tell us maybe he isn’t a pretender. Superman is very forlorn in this issue too – as he should be – and Benes does a good job making him sympathetic. It’s very easy to make a sad character annoying, but you feel for him in this issue. The action works quite well too with a slanting double page layout that makes the action feel chaotic and unwieldy. That’s helpful in reminding us Superman is weakened and not in tip top shape.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While Wonder Woman and the new villain are introduced well the plot progression from the previous issues is stifled in Superman/Wonder Woman #28. Nothing new is really introduced and the cliffhanger doesn’t pack as much punch as it should. The emotional story arc of Superman works – and Wonder Woman certainly enhances it – but this issue feels like one you could easily skip.
It’s also upsetting that Supergirl simply flies off and says so long only because there was a lot built into her involvement last issue and how she was pulled away by Superman. Seems like there should have some mention of that, but instead she waves and leaves conveniently for the plot. Be gone Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Superman are talking!
Uh, so long… I guess?
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet in reviewing this story arc, but why is it so certain there’s no way of saving Superman? Sure we’ve had Supergirl review the information and admit there’s no way, but we all know no superhero can really stay dead and the lack of reasons or explanation feel a bit lazy. Unless there’s a big reveal in store for us – which I doubt – the reasoning is so thin it’s as if Tomasi is keeping it that way so when Superman is eventually resurrected it’ll be easier for whoever writes that story.
Is It Good?
Character development is on point as Superman is reminded of his looming, untimely death and it’s exciting to see him come to blows with the mysterious villain of the story. While this issue doesn’t progress the plot as much as I’d like it’s still a fun read. Why? While Superman has died so many times before this, the writing is so good you’ll still care and worry about the guy. That’s exceptional in itself.