Superman has been through a whirlwind the last two years. With a new creative team and a new direction, it’s clear that Clark Kent and his family are finally going to get a chance to stop and take a moment to recover from it all- if he survives this first arc that is!
It’s a new chapter for the Man of Steel and son. The new creative team sets the stage for the future of Superman, from Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Hi-Fi, and Dave Sharpe.
A mysterious alien rift has opened over the planet. Earth’s only hope, as it often is, is Superman and Superboy. But the Last Son of Krypton doesn’t realize that this invasion may also be his final battle!
Johnson picks up largely where Brian Michael Bendis’ Superman left off, but he takes two step backwards. In the past two years, Clark Kent basically lost his son, then found him, and then he ran away to “college” with the Legion. Johnson takes the time to let them re-forge their bond as father and son, while showing that Jon is still very much the same person he was, just grown up.
The plot and other players are fascinating too. The new characterization of STARLabs as an amoral and antagonistic force works really well, adding a bit of chaos to their appearances. It evolves them beyond the support players they used to be. Amanda Waller’s presence is more that welcome as well, as every DC book to feature the Suicide Squad boss is better for it.
Hester’s pencils add an element of the familiar to the story, with his expressive, cartoony style evoking classic Superman artists without homaging them. His action is choreographed in a way that feels like animation storyboards, rather than comics pages. His work in the quiet moments, both in how he lays them out and uses point of view and body language, helps Johnson’s script show the bond between the Kents, and adds the emotional impact of their struggle to reconnect.
Gapstur’s ink line is at times too heavy though, adding weight to the figures and shadows that takes away from the pencils. Hi-Fi’s color work is rich and they use mostly flat colors to better complement Hester’s style. Sharpe’s skill at storytelling is on display as he juggles variations in the text to bring the script to life.
I’m very happy to see what this book turned out to be. I have high hopes for the future of Superman after reading the story. We’ll see if it fulfills its promise.
Superman #29 is available now from DC Comics.
A new creative team sets the Kent family on a new path that may prove to be the last Superman story!