Superman returns this week with the “Black Dawn” storyline, which got increasingly dark as Superman came close to discovering the true masters of Hamilton County. In the previous issue, we learned that it was Manchester Back pulling the strings in his dramatic Rebirth introduction. Now it’s up to Superman to save Jonathan before the villain does more harm to the world.
Writer: Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Artist: Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC Comics
Here’s the official synopsis of the issue from DC Comics:
“BLACK DAWN” part five! The Man of Steel faces the one foe he refuses to fight—his son. An emerging new ability for Superboy proves deadly to Superman as the promise of power appears to lead Jon Kent to betray his father.
As if the world can’t get any darker for Superman, writers Patrick Glason and Peter J. Tomasi with artist Doug Mahnke paint the whole world black in #24. This is the climax issue, setting things up for a big finale between Superman and Manchester Black. Gleason and Tomasi explain how Manchester Black got back to Earth and he does a lot of talking when Superman finally finds him.
Manchester Black’s plan is to prove to Superman that his style of justice without killing is passé. In the opening pages, drawn by Tomasi, we get an outer space opening that explains how Black populated Hamilton with “citizens” to trick the Kents into feeling safe while he put his plan in place.
Yes, much of the issue is the cliché “villain explaining his plans” scene, but Mahnke’s art makes sure that it’s not just 20 pages of a guy talking to Superman. There’s plenty of action going on, including this incredible scene of Supes blasting his heat vision right in Black’s face and Krypto coming out of nowhere.
It would have been cool if Mahnke could have drawn the entire “Black Dawn” arc. The detail in his work is great and it fits perfectly with the dark tone of the entire story arc. It’s a good thing he’ll be back for #25.
This issue sets up a potential great finale, so #25 is going to be big. The entire storyline has made Superman question the true cost of his vow not to kill anyone. It really ties in everything we’ve read so far since the Superman series re-started under Rebirth.