Written By: Gene Luen Yang
Art By: Jack Herbert
Color Art By: Hi Fi, Blond, and Will Quintana
With the impending relaunching on the horizon, the current run of DC comics have an odd feeling to them. While the stories aren’t meaningless, it remains to be seen how much will make it’s way to the other side of this universe altering event this summer. However, after the insertion of the Superman from the old DC continuity in Superman: Lois and Clark, I’ve been looking for a reason to read a Superman book. After seeing that the Superman from the New 52 and the old Superman we know and love will meet in the 50th issue, I decided to give this month’s 49th issue a shot.
The biggest complaint Superman fans had at the start of the New 52 was that Superman didn’t have the necessary feel that is inherent in what we know as the character. As DC tried to show Superman as a young kid trying to come to terms with his powers, he came off as more immature and dark than Superman has ever been, even when portrayed in his younger days. That said, the current batch of Superman writers have definitely fixed that. While Pak’s Action book has been solid throughout, Yang’s Superman always felt a little off. At first, the John Romita Jr. art didn’t really match, but after he left the book, it seemed to even out. That said, I think Yang is telling a great story here with the HORDR villain. It’s wacky enough to be unique, and it’s grand enough to fit the scale of a Superman book. Also, he manages to use the supporting cast, specifically Lois, really well. Even with that, I was still getting an off feeling. This issue made it abundantly clear. The Superman and Wonder Woman romantic relationship just didn’t work. In a logical sense, yes, it makes sense. But when actually playing it out in the books, the characters came off way too “holier than thou”, which could arguably work for Wonder Woman, but definitely not Superman. In this issue, in a post relationship world, everything started clicking. This issue saw the big battle between earth’s heroes and Vandel Savage. The battle is really well written, and the action around it gives credence to Yang’s character work ability. There were moments calling back to the Wonder Woman Superman relationship that were jarring, but overall it worked. The moments that really put it over the top were in the end, which I’m not going to spoiler. After a perfect moment between Superman and Lois, we finally get at the heart of what makes Superman super. Just beautifully done by Yang.
The art in this issue really took me by surprise. Jack Herbert is a name I’m not familiar with, but in opening the issue, I wish he had been on the book since the first Yang issue. His style is a little hard to describe or compare. He has a heavy rendering style like Van Sciver or Phil Jimenez, but not overly so where it becomes stiff like the former sometimes. Also, he takes the angular house style and makes it human, in a way I can only relate to Leinil Yu. I really enjoyed each panel of this, it felt classic with a sense of modern thrown in. We never lost any action in the big fight scenes, and the character moments were expressive and clear emotion wise. I hope, going into the new titles, that Herbert is given another book to show his stuff.
In sum, there were some tiny aspects that drew me out, but overall a really solid Superman story. It’s unfortunate that we finally got here, when the universe is about to change, but I’m glad we did. Also, to see the two Superman meet in the next issue is something I’ve been looking forward to, and I’m sure it’ll be a great read.
4 Kryptonite Shards out of 5