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Superman #40 Review

Superman and Superboy go on a cosmic adventure.

James Robinson
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As we come ever closer to the historic Action Comics #1000 I gain a little more interest in Superman. He’s one of those characters that you either love, don’t get, or hate, but you can’t deny this iconic 1000th issue is going to mean big things for the character. This week, Superman #40 gets a bit sentimental as it explores Superman sharing a moment with his son Jon on the day Krypton was destroyed.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

“SUICIDE PLANET” part one! Far away in a distant solar system, a world stands on the brink of destruction, much as Krypton did so many years ago. As Superman and son venture off into space to help, an unexpected adversary stops our heroes dead in their tracks: these people wish to die.

Why does this matter?

As Jon gets older it seems likely Superman will share things with him he can better understand as he matures. This issue allows Superman to not only enjoy an adventure with his son but share his past with him too.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

He’s impressed, until mom geets him that Home Pod.

James Robinson writes this issue and it’s a story that would have been perfect for Father’s Day. Superman wants to share a bit of his ancestry and history of Krypton with Jon and reflect on them being the only aliens (even if Jon is half alien) on the planet. Customary of superhero storytelling his plan to remember is thwarted as a new adventure must take place to save a planet that will soon meet the same fate as Krypton. This story switches from one of remembering to one of fighting against religious zealots who speak for their entire people. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome turn as in a sense it allows Superman to even better impart the failures of his people to Jon.

Doug Mahnke draws this issue and his work really opens up when the heroes enter the strange new world. The creatures are quite cool looking–like sea horses with clothes–and the world has an interesting and dark tone. There’s an impressive full page spread of Superman and Jon early on as they enter space that’s poster-worthy too. You also get a great sense of the wonderment of space via some gorgeous space scenes as Jon and Superman fly across the cosmos. Credit to Will Quintana for his colors.

Looking quite creepy there Jon.

It can’t be perfect can it?

Superman comes off as a bit of a dolt in this issue as he’s quite ignorant as a diplomat. Why you would call the leader of a people insane after 30 seconds of meeting him is anybody’s guess even if you don’t agree with what he’s saying. This of course sets off a full on attack putting his son in danger. There had to be a better way to set off the action than for Superman to openly insult the leader of a people he barely knows.

Is It Good?

This is a good start to a new arc that features Superman and Superboy going on an adventure to stop a tragedy similar to Krypton. It might require Superman to make some rather rash decisions, but the underlying story of religious zealots ruining everything is well timed and relatable.

Superman #40
Is it good?
Good opening about remembering where you came from
An interesting outer-space adventure
Mahnke draws a solid Superman and alien world
Superman isn't the brightest diplomat. I thought controlling his emotions was a character trait!

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