Based on the cover, Superman is in big trouble as the embodiment of fear via a Yellow Lantern. But wait, the last thing Superman does is fear something! We delve into its pages to figure out why and more importantly, is it good?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“FEAR ITSELF” part one! The writing team of Tomasi and Gleason are joined by co-writer Keith Champagne in a story that returns to their Green Lantern roots and asks the question “What scares Superman?”
Why does this matter?
Keith Champagne writes while Doug Mahnke pencils a two part story thrusting Superman into a situation not even he can prevent. Children are being taken and he must find them as it reminds him even he could lose a child. But what is taking them?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Here kitty kitty.
Mahnke is the perfect artist for this type of story as he’s capable of capturing a dark underbelly you may not see otherwise. As Superman attempts to figure out why children are going missing, a dark act is taking place which the story cuts to in shiver-inducing scenes. When things get crazy (and science fiction heavy), Mahnke draws some wicked creature action. Plus he makes Superman puke in a dignified way. That’s tough! This all culminates to a final two pages that’s pretty cool with a costume change for Superman that incorporates the logo in a neat way.
The horror element, either because there’s kids involved or because there’s an alien like creature in this, is quite strong. If you dig horror you’ll probably love this.
There’s a great line in this issue as Superman tells the parents of the kidnapped, “Courage is fear trying to hold on a minute longer.” Superman is the embodiment of courage and yet the fear gets to him. At least in a way. Trying to find these missing children and being a father himself, Champagne taps into the horrid nature of those who prey on children. That thing that preys on them here is, of course, a dark and twisted thing, but it’s the embodiment of what many fear symbolically realized here. Giving into the fear–and eventually realizing the cover image–actually has a solid explanation in this issue.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m unclear about that final page. If you’ve been reading Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps you know what I mean. If not, you’ll just be confused. Unless there’s some twist trick to it all, this is a letdown of an end due to its continuity breaking. Aside from that, this issue breaks the usual way with a hero not calling for help when they should (though it’s noted Simon and Jessica are off planet) and culminates into a choice that you’ll see coming.
Is It Good?
A decent issue, though you’ll be left with the usual tricks of superhero comics and an ending that’s more perplexing than intriguing.