If there’s anything any family knows is rare, it’s a perfect day. For the Kents, they’ve been even more few and far between than you might expect. Superman #30 shows us exactly why.
After last month’s introduction to the Superman family’s new status quo, we dive right into their new adventures here. However, the new enemies they’re facing might mean the end of this new normal before it even really began. It comes from Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltaeb, and Dave Sharpe.
When a family day is interrupted by a distress call from an old ally, Superman and Superboy jump into action. What they find on Thakkram, however, is not a people in distress, but a people in mourning- for their king and Superman’s old ally. However, with his passing, is the threat that nearly destroyed his world still gone, or will Superman have to face it again?
Johnson does two things really well here. The first is that he builds the relationship between Jon, Clark, and Lois in a way we haven’t seen in about three years. He takes a few moments to give readers insight into the dynamics of the family, but also how Clark feels about how things have changed. It’s a pause that the franchise hasn’t taken since the beginning of this volume and it was much needed.
On Thakkram though, the adventure has some interesting layers. Basing the story in an “untold tale” gives it a depth it might not have had otherwise. It establishes the stakes quickly, and adds an emotional element that wouldn’t have existed if this had been the first encounter with the monstrous Shadowbreed.
Godlewski’s art was a great surprise here. While I enjoyed his past work, this issue had some great things going for it. He made Jon feel like a kid- older and more mature than 10 year-old Jon, sure, but still a kid. It was the first that aged-up Jon felt like his own age since he arrived back on the scene. His depiction of Clark has the perfect amount of gravitas in costume, while his humanity shines through in his civilian clothes. He and Eltaeb teamed up perfectly to bring Thakkram to life as well, which adds to the depth of the story that the team is telling.
The back-up story, by Sean Lewis, Samri Basri, Ulysses Arreola, and Dave Sharpe, is incredibly silly, in the best ways. It made me like Ambush Bug for the first time, and has some fun ideas for the future of Metropolis. It was definitely enough to justify the issue’s extra cost.
There’s a lot to unpack in this issue, but it’s all good things. I’m excited and intrigued by what the creative team is going here.
Superman #30 is available now from DC Comics.
This issue puts Superman and Superboy in a tough spot, but it’s a great read. It takes the classic pieces of a Superman story and adds a surprising amount of depth, as well as plays with the status quo the creative team’s been given.