The best Superman stories tie into hope. The hope Superman has for humanity and the hope he tries to inspire in us all. Last issue, Superman attempted to convince a race of people that their idea of dying with their planet because their god wished it was a bad one. He tried to give them hope. Their reaction? Kill the alien!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“SUICIDE PLANET” part two! Superman and Superboy battle the alien extremists of a world on the brink of disaster in the hope of saving them from themselves!
Why does this matter?
We are getting very close to Action Comics #1000 which is probably why this issue ends in a two issue arc. Best be prepared when the historic issue drops across all Superman books. James Robinson is writing an interesting story here that deals with faith.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Some of my issues with the last issue are resolved with this story. Superman is no longer as bullheaded in negotiating with a people who wish to die with their planet. He’s also a bit more reasonable realizing they’re doing what they think is right. The issue could be split in three parts. First Superman and his son Jon communicate with a man of science and learning of his plan to keep his race alive. The second portion involves the religious zealots storming in and finally an excellent scene between Superman and Jon talking about religion. Some of the ideas brought up here are quite interesting and feel incredibly important given the religious uproar in America today.
Ed Benes draws this issue with colors by Dinei Ribeiro and together they draw some incredible sci-fi structures and ships. The alien Superman and Jon communicate with is truly a man of science with some awesome looking screens and gizmos. His solution to save his race is also interesting (the idea is quite neat) and it looks impressive too. Superman ends up fighting and he looks good doing it. A highlight of the issue is a full page spread of a giant explosion that captures the beauty and horror all at once. A key element as it is brought up by Jon how disturbing it is to see both beauty and horror in one moment.
The first page is unrelated to the main story (though it happened last issue) and reads like filler.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s a bit strange Superman is totally fine talking to people who just murdered someone that had helped him moments earlier. Murder is still murder, and yet he acts like it’s none of his business. What the hell man?
Another strange element is the first page serving as a second cover. It’s a full-page spread of Superman and Jon fighting off the religious aliens, but then the very next page is of these characters zooming off in a ship. It’s like a mistake left in the comic and it’s going to be extra jarring for those who didn’t read the last issue.
Is It Good?
Though this issue can be clunky there is a strong message of hope and belief that I think many people can and should learn. It’s also interesting to see Superman resolve an issue via words and not fists.