Review: ‘Superman’ #24 Gets Magical (And That’s A Bad Thing)

by Tony Thornley
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair

One of the best additions to the Superman mythos over the years was his vulnerability to magic. It’s added some much needed additional vulnerability to the Man of Steel over the years, and makes any story where he faces a magical foe much more interesting. However, in Superman #24 that may not matter, as Clark Kent finds himself up against the ULTIMATE magical foe!

It’s a pretty big threat that the Man of Steel finds himself facing, and it’s a very fun team-up to boot. It all comes with a nod to a long-gone series as well. The issue is by Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Maguire, John Timms, Alex Sinclair and Dave Sharpe.

Superman and Doctor Fate find themselves cornered by Xanadoth, the original Lord of Chaos. It’s a threat that not even Nabu thinks he can help Fate defeat. Can the duo stop this goddess before she destroys all of reality?

I love that at this point in his Superman run, Bendis has just embraced the Silver age silliness of the character, and has chosen to elevate it. First and foremost, this story is FUN. It’s a throwback plot (which is clear in the fantastic title page by Sharpe, just check that out), and that is a fantastic start for the story.

However, it goes beyond that. Bendis continues to write one of the best modern takes on Superman, with his unmasking still driving much of the plot without dominating it. He also wrote Doctor Fate in a way that I personally found himself sympathetic for the first time, especially with the newest character to take the mantle still in the lead. He also applies to old adage of “every comic is someone’s first” really well by giving us a great short version of who Khalid is and why he’s different than Kent Nelson.

Maguire really flexes his action muscles, which has been a refreshing move for his guest spot the last few issues. Bendis leans into those strengths and it turns into some great action sequences, as well as a fantastic Super-Fate mash-up near the end of the issue. However, some of his inks are a little heavy, which does make for a few awkward moments in the fight scenes when the figures almost feel they’re pasted together from two different drawings. Sinclair’s reliably solid colors does help with that and really brings a lot of those scenes together, especially as the setting of the story is a lot more abstract than Metropolis would be. Timms does really solid work as well, but it’s only two splashes and a single page, which I would have loved to have seen expanded a bit.

I hope future issues of this series sees more of these team-ups, as well as the sense of fun that we’ve seen captured here and in Action. It’s a classic good time, combined with modern storytelling that I think we need to see more of in comics today.

Superman #24 is available now from DC Comics.

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