Superman #8 coverIn ‘Superman’ #7, the Man of Steel had his first ever encounter with Helspont, one of the Daemonite villains from the Wildstorm comics that was folded into the DCU at the start of the New 52. Helspot proved to be quite powerful and was making an attempt to control Superman… but can he do it?

As this issue opens, it appears as if Helspont has succeeded in controlling Superman and turning him into a monstrosity. Superman is fleeing from some sort of special forces group that is trying to take him down. However, small details appear that make it seem as if something isn’t right.

Warning: Spoilers!

The special ops team keep referring to Superman as “the Superman” or “it”. There are anti-Superman logos painted on some of the building walls. Either time has jumped forward quite a bit since last issue or something peculiar is going on. Then Clark wakes up at his desk. Oh! So it’s all been a dream? But Clark is writing a piece on Superman going rogue and Jimmy talks about some tragedy that has befallen Lois. Something still isn’t quite kosher.

Then Superman comes to back inside Helspont’s fortress. It seems as if the villain was attempting to gain control of  Superman’s mind using some sort of Daemonite “bug”. The bug caused Superman to see a possible future in which he was a menace instead of a hero.

Last issue, I was excited to see Helspont. Not having been a fan of Wildstorm, I thought the villain would provide some much-needed expansion of Superman’s villain roster. However, the whole mind-control thing this issue ended that hope. The way that the Daemonite bug tried to control Superman through visions was too akin to the classic story ‘For the Man Who Has Everything’ by Alan Moore. In that story, Mongul tried to control Superman using the Black Mercy plant but, instead of giving apocalyptic visions, it showed Superman his perfect world. So, the story this issue was different… but it was too similar for my tastes. I wanted the Helspont confrontation to be something so much more but it turns out that it’s just a new skin thrown over an old trope. (Heck! The Daemonite bug even resembled the Black Mercy with its tentacles!)

On the bright side, I loved the artwork from Dan Jurgens. I’ve been a fan of his Superman work since the 80s and, despite some lame stories, into the 90s. But Keith Giffen, as a seasoned writer, should have known better than to lift a plot almost directly from a story that any comic fan is already going to have read before.

Now I’m just looking forward to this Helspont bit to be over so we can wash our collective palate clean and get onto something new.

Verdict: Burn

SUPERMAN #8
Written by KEITH GIFFEN
Art by DAN JURGENS and JESUS MERINO
Cover by IVAN REIS, JOE PRADO, and ROD REIS