Deathstroke tests Superman’s limits when he puts a gun to Lois Lane’s head in Superman #32. Does the second part of “Breaking Point” hold up to the excellent setup in the previous issue? It certainly provides some of the best action in the Superman series since Rebirth began.
Here’s the official synopsis from DC Comics:
Deathstroke has come to Metropolis… and he’s got his sights set on Superman. Slade Wilson gives the Man of Steel an impossible choice: maintain his ideals and let the love of his life die, or save Lois Lane and become a killer himself. Will Deathstoke push Superman to his breaking point?
In the last issue, writer James Bonny and artist Tyler Kirkham impressed by having Lois as the featured star, doing her job as a journalist. It was exciting, and a nice break from the constant parental fears that burdened Superman at to that point. In the second half of the story, Lois takes a backseat so Deathstroke can fulfill his mission. But Lois still plays a key role. Now that he knows Supes loves Lois, the assassin keeps pushing Superman by threatening Lois’ life. He figured out that this is the button to push to see if Superman will really kill someone.
But this isn’t just 22 pages of Superman and Deathstroke beating the hell out of each other. Bonny has still crafted a classic Superman tale with Lois and even Jimmy Olsen showing up on the sidelines for Superman to save. (Can we please see more Jimmy Olsen? Please?)
Bonny also gives us three varied points of view in the story, with Deathstroke, Superman and Lois all getting an opportunity to narrate. Reading Deathstroke’s thoughts gives further insight into the mind of a killer, a darkness we don’t get too often in Superman (unless he’s fighting Manchester Black). Meanwhile, we see just how hard it is for Superman to hold back, despite his incredible powers. We take it for granted that Superman won’t kill anyone (at least in the comics), but it turns out that decision is just as challenging as the others he has to make.
The art by Kirkham is also excellent once again. You can really feel the weight of Slade Wilson and Superman’s blows in their fights. It makes me want to see Deathstroke in a movie as soon as possible.
The only possible negative from this story is its short length. Also, the last page reveal was a little disappointing. I was hoping for a more out-of-the-box client for Deathstroke. After this, Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi return with a story that takes us to Apokolips.