The Kents are back on their sightseeing tour of American monuments in Superman #28, with the family reaching Washington D.C. after their stops in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in the previous issue. The history lessons for young Jonathan Kent continue, meaning there’s still no villain for Superman or action of any kind in these 20 pages. It’s possible there might be a history test after you’ve finished reading.
In the first previous issue, “Declaration,” writers Patrick J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason took Clark, Lois and Jon on a tour of Revolutionary War monuments and we saw them help out a veteran without needing to use superpowers. In “Independence Day,” the family arrives in D.C. and spends their time taking in the war memorials on the National Mall. Clark and Lois tell Jon the history of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Civil War. At the end of the tour, the Kents find a family having a picnic at the spot where an ancestor died during the Civil War.
This all does sound a little boring and even like a public service announcement, as if Gleason and Tomasi are on a personal mission to heal this divided country of ours through comics. But it is actually a little interesting to see how Superman can make an impact on people’s lives without having to punch up a supervillain.
The story also shows us that Superman understands his place in the world as a defender of “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” If he fights for the “American Way,” the Last Son of Krypton should understand how this country was built and what brought us here to this moment in history. Gleason and Tomasi make a fleeting reference to the political divisions of today at the beginning of the issue, but the goal here is to highlight the experiences of Americans that bring us together.
On the art front, Scott Godlewski continues to do a good job. Since there’s very little action in the book, it’s all about staging the scenes to make them visually interesting while we’re taken on a history lesson. There are several pages in this book that are impressive, like a two-page spread during the visit to the World War II memorial.
The Kents’ road trip is over with this issue thankfully and, while it’s been educational, it would be nice to see Superman back in action. Now I just hope I learned enough to pass Professors Gleason and Tomasi’s test that I can graduate.
In two weeks, Superman faces Parallax, so that should be much more action-packed!