Written By: Gene Luen Yang
Art By: Howard Porter, Ardian Syaf, Patrick Zircher, and Jon Bogdanove
Color Art By: Hi-Fi
As I’ve said many times, while I was reading much of the 50th issues from DC, the one I was looking forward to most was Superman; where we would get to see the new Superman face off with the pre flashpoint Superman. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, this 50th issue concluded the massive Vandal Savage story that’s been going across the multiple Superman titles over the past couple months. Even though it wasn’t what I was hoping, I can’t say I was upset about what we got here.
Unlike last week’s Detective Comics, this issue really felt like a big deal. In the final moments of Superman’s battle with Vandel, we are taken on a journey into what ifs a la A Christmas Carol. We are taken to a time where Vandal saves Krypton, an Earth thriving under Vandal’s rule, but oppressively, and an Earth that’s fallen, having not been strong enough in the face of destruction. Even throughout all these locales, we see Superman struggle with his morality. He could save everything by letting Vandal win, but is that a world he wants? Is that a world that anyone on Earth would want? As we see him struggle from place to place, the true essence of Superman comes through, and is clearly explained in a flashback to his childhood with Pa Kent. Even though there’s an easy solution, and it might seem to fix everything in the micro sense, there’s always consequences. Even with all of Superman’s power, there’s a proper way to fix problems. It’s much in the same vain as Uncle Ben’s famous “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” Finally. This is so right, so perfect for Superman, that it almost makes the past couple years of slog worth it. Even in the end, we finally get that moment with Clark and Lois that we’ve been waiting for. The ending of the big battle was a little convenient, SPOILERS where Vandal’s “son” Puzzler is convinced by Superman to help in defeating his father. That aside, this issue puts Superman in a good place… for the next 2 issues.
With an art team that big, it’s easy to jerked around by different styles. The type of story told here, however, made the contrasting styles work. The big battle, set in the present time, I believe is done by Howard Porter, who looks to be channeling a little bit of Rocafort here, but the unique layouts and character design are still clear storytelling wise. Krypton, where the story calms down, the art follows suit. Patrick Zircher does some excellent character rendering and cartooning in the face to get the story across. Even though the remaining two worlds kind of lost me in terms of panel to panel, the gritty Syaf style fit the worlds. While all that art was solid, the one page by Superman artist legend Jon Bogdanove made the whole book. This is the flashback page I mentioned earlier. Even with a throwback style, the cartooning was just clear as day, and the emotional weight of that page shines through. There’s a reason he’s one of the best Superman artists, and here he made the issue.
If you’re a Superman fan longing for your favorite character again, he’s back, and this is a must buy. Even with some of the DC house style, the essence of the character is there, and I am welcoming it with open arms.
4.5 Bullies out of 5