‘Superman’ #26 feels more like an episode of a PBS kid’s show than a comic book.
Two weeks after a disappointing fill-in issue, the Kent family goes on a road trip for a look back at American history in “Declaration” part one. Not much really goes on in this issue, other than character building. This is the start of a vacation that the Kents deserve, but should you really want to read about it?
Here’s the official synopsis from DC Comics:
It’s been an emotional and physical rollercoaster for Superman, Lois, and Jon: the Eradicator, Dinosaur Island, Frankenstein and the Bride, Multiversity, Reborn and Black Dawn-a barrage of terror and horror! What does the family need right now? Yep, you got it…a vacation!
Writers Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi return after an issue off, with Scott Godlewski returning as artist. The issue is billed as the first part of “Road Trip.” It kicks off with Superman so tired from saving the world again that he falls asleep and comes crashing to the ground! Lois decides they need a vacation, so they pack up a rented RV and head out on a tour through the northeast U.S. Readers from Sharon, Massachusetts will particularly love the shout-out in this issue.
Once Lois, Jon and Clark hit the road, you keep waiting for some big reveal. Maybe Lex Luthor is following them? Is Bizarro on their trail? Will Brainiac show up to steal all of Lois’ encyclopedic knowledge of American history? None of that happens in this issue. When Gleason and Tomasi take the family on a vacation, there’s no villain on their trail. It’s a gamble, especially as the book comes off a little didactic and there’s no typical superhero action. However, if Superman’s going to fight for truth, justice and the American Way, it’s nice to know that he has the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights memorized.
Godlewski proves to be the perfect artist to take over Superman if Gleason is unavailable to draw. Even though he doesn’t get a lot of action to draw, he still finds visually interesting ways to show the story.
Superman #26 feels more like an episode of a PBS kid’s show than a comic book. After taking Superman down a dark path in “Black Dawn,” it’s nice to see the book return to the impossibly optimistic viewpoint of earlier Rebirth issues. But there still should be some conflict here. Hopefully during their next stop, the Kents will face some kind of a challenge.