Lex Luthor has been swept to Apokolips to fulfill a prophecy that would have him taking over for Darkseid. He’s managed to convince the folks there that Superman is the true savior. Meanwhile, Lois Lane is working with Granny Goodness and the Female Furies, and Superboy finds himself leading a pack of wild dogs. This evening started as a movie night.
As with previous issues of the “Imperius Lex” storyline in Superman, the story is split up between members of the Kent family, each presumably handled by a different artist. Of the three arcs at work, it’s tough to pick a favorite, especially after Jon’s adventure.
Writers Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi continue to reinforce just how good a kid Jon is, and it’s shown here wonderfully. He comes across a group of soldiers preparing to cook their dogs for food. He cannot let that stand and leaps into action to stop them and free the canines. There’s an awesome shot of him jumping at the soldiers, heat vision blaring as he yells “I’m Superboy!” The dogs take an instant liking to him, sensing the inherent goodness within him.
Superman #35 shows perhaps the most awkward interaction ever between the Man of Steel and Lex Luthor. Superman is hit with a boom helmet, a device that will teleport him back to the temple. Luthor hops on Superman’s back and rides the Last Son of Krypton while he hacks the helmet while “steering” him to avoid bumping into buildings. This looks so weird and more than a little uncomfortable. You can just imagine the strange conversation they will have after they get back to Earth.
This issue shows how Darkseid’s absence has created a power vacuum on Apokolips. Rival factions are vying for control of the planet, each with their own beliefs and hierarchies, and each thinking they’re right. It’s a powder keg and the Super Family finds itself right in the middle of it. This is where the separate plot threads come together. It’s not quite a happy reunion just yet, as they have to get through these obstacles first.
There is a moment in Superman #35 that has me very curious. Superman slips and almost reveals that his family is on Apokolips to Luthor. As he’s a super intelligent man, Luthor leaps at this but is interrupted before he can question it further. I’m wondering if I’m reading too much into it, but I’m hoping it creates an interesting dynamic between the characters as it could allow Lex to figure out Superman’s secret identity. Lex is conveniently knocked out when the fighting starts, so we’ll see how this plays out.
DC Rebirth is determined to make me a fan of Apokolips and the New Gods. If this is the caliber of story I can expect from them, I’m happy to read more. Gleason and Tomasi have made Superman more interesting and personal than he’s been in years. Seeing he and his family put into dire situations makes for some compelling storytelling.