I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with this series so far. At first I enjoyed the campy nature of the story and dialogue, then began to question if this campy story was intentional, and finally grew to flat out hate what the book was doing. This series plays by its own rules, and by that I mean there are no rules. Can issue #4 get any better (or worse)? Is it good?

Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #4 (DC Comics)

Since it’s becoming ever harder to understand what is happening in this book, what does the official DC Comics summary say?

Fry, Superman, fry! The battle between Kalibak and Superman rages on as the denizens of Apokolips cheer. And Darkseid’s homeworld unleashes a weapon that will permanently transmute the terran solar system!

Why does this book matter?

Neal Adams is an artistic genius and is drawing in a classic way that can’t be found anywhere else. He’s also writing this comic and has forced Superman to say “Wassup.” Much like a car crash, we must continue to watch and see what has happened in this accident!

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

I threw out anything I’ve ever learned or cared about comics and said “screw it” with this comic. You know what happened when I did? I laughed out loud. I’m positively stunned at how bad some of this dialogue is, but it’s so damn bad it’s good. Take for instance a scene where Superman is eyeballing a mote in the sky. He asks Orion what it is and the answer is it’s a, “red sun mote.” Instead of asking further what the hell that is he asks, “A mote from what?” What? Is that a logical next question? Literally two panels later Superman says, “And where is it to go?” Why are you speaking like this Superman!?

At this point I gave up and was perfectly fine with Lex Luthor telling Darkseid that, “…your men simply suck.” and an old witch woman telling a small boy, “No more softness, you little dickens.” In another panel Lois Lane grabs a magical staff and shouts, “Wow, righteous! Bring it on!” It’s absurd to the highest degree and at this point I figure we should all just roll with it. It’ll keep your sanity in check.

I’m done questioning if Neal Adams is writing this to be serious or purposefully outrageous and funny. It’s safe to say we know what kind of product we’re getting and it’s not like anything else on the shelf today.

Characters continue to act in one scene as if they didn’t say or do something in the previous. Things simply happen to further the plot as if Neal Adams was making this up as he went along. Superman is punching and laughing as he does so which is incredibly out of character too. At one point he throws himself into the dreaded mote mentioned earlier and we cut to a double page spread of a sun seemingly killing Superman. Much like the erratic nature of the characters the comic switches to captions–which did not pop up before and only pop up once more after–that explain what we’re seeing. Two of these captions contain one sentence, and it’s at this point if you haven’t stopped trying you finally will.

The art continues to look good though! Nobody ever said Neal Adams was bad at drawing and there’s plenty to enjoy here. It’s so good I kind of hope DC releases this book without dialogue or captions so that the reader might make up the story on their own. It’d probably end up better and make more sense! Whether or not Adams is delivering his best or or his worst doesn’t matter much to me because his style is so darn unique and in your face it’s a treat to experience.

It can’t be perfect can it?

Um, did you read everything I wrote above?

Is It Good?

At this point I’m not even sure what is bad and what is good, this comic is such a trainwreck. If you stop trying and just let this comic do its thing you might just find yourself laughing out loud as I did. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had this much fun reading a comic–it’s just that different. This is the Freddy Got Fingered of comics.

Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #4 Review
Absurd dialogue, incomprehensible plot and story! Plus Superman doesn't even talk or act like himself!Neal Adams' art is a treasure. It might not be his best, but it's unique to say the least.Can anyone actually say what is happening in this comic?
Ditto the Good.
Reader Rating 1 Vote
  • Andrew McGuire

    Hate to be picky, but it’s actually Neal Adams….

    • Patrick Ross

      D’oh. Fixed, thanks!

  • Neal Adams

    I think you deserve answers. So In order.

    1. I’ve always thought that Superman was a little stiff and stuck up, but he is a reporter who lives in the real world and hangs out with guys and not robots.

    2. Superman is smart. He is told “Red Sun Mote”, he gets it immediately and wants to know where it came from instantly, and needs to act. At the same time,, he doesn’t trust Orion, so he doesn’t want to give Orion a chance to lie or give a wrong answer.

    3. “suck”. “dickens”.. I am a little tired of everybody quipping like Spider-man. Characters need to have their own voice and quips, if they are going to quip.

    4. Good comment, I am making it up as I go. As in real life, people do not preconceive dialog and then rehearse it. They simply say what comes to their mind at that time. Lois may have said “cool” or “awesome” or any number of things. In this particular instance she says “righteous”.

    5. Superman laughing? I suppose in most cases it would seem out of character, but I just went through the book and I cant find Superman punching and laughing. I plead innocent on this one.

    6. A massive explosion in space and there are just captions? Am I the first person to have done this? You really have me confused here. I don’t think the captions repeat what we see in the picture. I think they describe what, if this were a motion picture, we would see over a period of two or three minutes, through many camera cuts and different angles. But here we have one double page spread and captions. That is pretty standard for comic books and has been for a long time I believe.

    7. I think the end of the section where you explain to the reader what it is about the story you don’t understand, certainly if I wrote a ton of captions to explain what is going on, you would say why is he doing so many captions to explain what is going on when I can see what is going on. Certainly the events that my artist “Neal” is drawing are clear, because he seems to draw them pretty well. Certainly there are mysteries placed along the way that will be explained as the story progresses because, that is why we stay with a story, that is too discover what these mysteries are and what the answers to these mysteries are, We Certainly don’t want everything explained to us as we go along as if we were little children, but rather like a Sherlock Holmes story, we want the mysteries to come as a surprise to us or to unfold outward so that we might enjoy the unfolding, and the “Reveal”. So I have set a premise and a series of mysteries which I am slowly unfolding and reveling to you the reader so that you may be surprised or made joyful or angered or whatever you may feel. That is the deal between us, isn’t it? That I have a story to tell, and you have a story to read and to watch. and in the end you will either have had a good time or not. But along the way, why should you know all the answers? How thunderingly disappointing would that be?

    I have a different list of answers to questions I ask myself.

    This book matters because Superman needs a breath of fresh air. Writers write him in different situations in different ways, but I just don’t have fun with him anymore, He barely has a voice and he needs to get one and it needs to be like a regular human being. And he works out, just in case he meets another superman who can kick his ass. And he cares about stuff, he can be funny and smart and dumb, and maybe all at the same time. And at the end of the series… Ooops.. I can’t talk about that.

    It can be perfect. A perfect story is a story that gets where it is going and has fun along the way, and when you get to the end you say “wow, got it”.

    Is it good? Time will tell, as it has been for all my work, and every-bodies work I guess. Some people forget, that I wrote most of the Deadman stories, certainly all of the second half. Some people forget I wrote the plot and in the end 2/3 of Superman VS Mohammad Ali story and dialog after Denny had to bow out. I wrote two Spectre books including “Stop that kid before he wrecks the world”. That’s ignoring all the work I plotted and pre-dialogued for all the books I did at Marvel, and all the writing I’ve done in the advertising media over the decades.

    I believe I know my craft. It is story telling in art and words. If I break the rules, I should be reminded. If you do nit understand my story, I promise you will by the end. If you are entertained by my work, that is exactly and precisely what I intend.

    Thank you for your attention, and your point of view. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it

    Best regards
    Neal Adams

    • David Brooke

      Thanks for the comment Neal! Enjoying the wicked ride you’re writing. Hope you keep reading our reviews because we’ll keep reading you!

      • Neal Adams

        I’m learning, Thanks to my son’s internet guidance.
        I like it too. It’s homey,…like a big neighborhood.


        Neal Adams