The final issue of The Coming of the Supermen is here and if you’ve read this far there’s really no sense in not finishing it, is there? Will things start to make sense, will we get answers, is it good?
Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #6 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
Superman’s final confrontation with the army of Darkseid is at hand! What will be the fate of the three new Supermen, and what is the secret of Krypton?!
Why does this book matter?
Neal Adams is one of the greats and has contributed so much to the industry; you could make a good argument that the comic book industry wouldn’t be where it is today without him. He also wrote and drew one of the most insane Batman comics ever with Batman Odyssey and this series might be every bit as bodacious and out there.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
If you pretend there are no word balloons (there isn’t a single caption in this issue) you’ll note this art feels like it came from another time. Neal Adams draws some of the most wickedly bombastic and in your face panels with Lex Luthor, Superman, and Darkseid all positively screaming right at you on the page. If no one has thought of the idea of turning this and other Adams works into 3D they best do it soon, because his style was made for it. The art is also rather easy to follow even when the plot completely turns on its head and changes direction entirely. Even if the plot makes little sense you’ll never be lost as to where the characters are spatially.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are pages in this book that bewilder me. It’s so strange and offputting I can’t tell if it’s bad, or just misguided. Characters say and do things seemingly at random. Take for instance a scene where Darkseid – in a fit of rage (everyone seems to go in and out of a fit of rage in this series including Superman) lets slip, “I cannot believe this putrid mudball…birthed the greatness that is Darkseid, and all mankind that–” to which he is interrupted by Lex Luthor. The very next page is below.
The comic goes from postulating and screaming to the characters frustratingly asking “What” over and over. This dialogue changes the pace completely leaving you confused. Adams then has Darkseid lie to Superman and Lex about what he just said, Lex recounts it via a “recorder” he doesn’t even show, and then Darkseid changes the subject to his “little cube.” Two full pages are spent on what Darkseid slipping up and saying…something, only to never speak of it again! Not only does this make Darkseid look like a fool, but it’s blatantly padding out the issue with nonsense. Instead of being interested at all in this “reveal” the reader will be left dumbfounded and confused as to whether they missed the point.
Missing the point is greatly the main issue with this comic book. Characters say and do strange things, then seemingly forget that happened and move on as if turning the page of the comic literally gave them amnesia. When the goblin creature El pops up again you really could care less. He appeared in the first issue, and then briefly later, and here he again appears touting some sort of power even Darkseid can’t rival. In another scene Orion punches Superman in the nose because he’s angry (that’ll really help Orion), a giant dog wolf thing is the key to beating Darkseid’s entire army flowing out of a boom tube, and Superman’s undying love for Rafi is capped off with the character shouting “Go go Power Rangers” for absolutely no reason at all. To cap all this off Lex professes to Superman that he is a far better human than Darkseid will ever be. Isn’t Darkseid a New God? What the hell? On top of all this, nothing is learned, nobody (including Lex) is punished, and nothing of much value is revealed.
Is It Good?
There were times when this series was so bad it was good… and made me laugh out loud more than once along the way. Not so here. This issue is hard to read, confusing at times, and serves no purpose at all beyond having characters make screaming professions and act with schizophrenic temperaments. There are no answers here (even Superman says, “I have no real answers at all”) nor is there much of anything to hang a conclusion on.