Part five of the eight part “The Final Days of Superman” story arc is out this week and Supes has some backup. He’s on a mission to find out where a Superman lookalike has come from and it brings him to China! Is it good?
Batman/Superman #32 (DC Comics)
This issue opens with Superman and Wonder Woman flying ahead of Batman on their way to China. Clues seem to suggest the solar flare Superman encountered originated from China, but The Great Ten stand in their way! Cue dramatic music.
Why does this book matter?
Peter J. Tomasi has got an epic eight week, eight part story on his hands largely because he’s managed to make us feel sad for Superman. He’s dying–he’s done it before sure, but this time there are some mysterious villains afoot. Plus the pseudo-Superman flying around is kinda sorta evil. Superman needs to wrap all this up before he dies dammit!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This is a classic superhero comic through and through, complete with heroes fighting heroes and reconciling rather quickly. The Great Ten face off against our heroes early on and while we all know how fights like this usually play out it’s fun to see the Chinese heroes. They have varying powers and abilities that appear rather unique (okay, one does look a bit close to Hawkeye as he’s carrying a bow and is in purple) and it’s neat to see how they fight. Here’s to hoping we see more of these characters in the future!
A whole new WORLDDDDDDD!
The second half of the book brings us closer to the creator of these Superman lookalikes and it’s the most we’ve learned or seen of her so far. Not a lot is revealed, but it does lead to a cliffhanger that should be interesting.
The art by Doug Mahnke is detailed and and strong, especially in the Great Ten fight sequence. I particularly like what he’s done with the pseudo-Superman as he’s cast in an ominous shadow and then later blazes with fire. The character is a real question mark and the art goes a long way in making him compelling. Inkers Jaime Mendoza, Christian Alamy, Livesay and Tom Nguyen (jeez why are there so many inkers?) cast everything in dark shadow, giving the entire book an ominous tone overall. It is night so it makes some sense, although I’m not sure it needs to be so darn dark. It’s so dark it almost feels like a horror comic.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Like the last issue not a lot happens and much of the issue either retreads what we already know (with the mastermind villain in the second half) or is senseless fight scenes. I understand superheroes need to fight in their comics, but this fight is your classic misunderstanding battle that even stops on a dime because reasons. The characters attack each other but then because of Superman’s brief kindness to bring a character’s powers in control they think he’s cool? To make matters worse once The Big Ten let the heroes talk they totally agree their mission sounds like a good idea. Throw your hands up; that’s just superhero comics I guess?
Some of the dialogue is straight up campy as hell too. In a book like Neil Adams’ Supermen it makes sense to see it, but here we have Superman say he and Batman are, “Super-friends” which makes you roll your eyes. Hard. Later we see the words, “Not just music soothes the savage beast, huh?” and again I was shocked at how stupid he sounded. Maybe Superman is losing his mind a bit now that he’s weakened, but this dialogue is too much!
Ice. Cream. Headache.
Is It Good?
Chinese superhero team The Big Ten steal the show and make for an exciting action-packed first half of the issue. Sadly the story barely progresses though and said fight scene is an eye-rolling misunderstanding “heroes fighting heroes” fight. Blah.