After discovering the existence of the Fortress of Solitude, the US Senate calls Superman before them and tries to force him to allow the Senate and the UN access to it, but Superman is resistant.
Later, Cat Grant offers Clark Kent a new career opportunity at a rooftop nightclub, but once again, he doesn’t seem interested. Then, suddenly there is a disruption and he must leap into action as Superman.
We get a number of side sequences, showcasing his vast supporting cast as well as an opening and closing storyline involving Orion of the New Gods.
This issue SCREAMS fill-in. First of all, there are three artists. Aaron Kuder illustrates the Orion scenes and just kills it! This portion just looked amazing, especially a full-page spread of Orion flying through New Genesis on his jet cycle or whatever that thing is called. (The opening spread of him socking a giant creature was pretty impressive as well.) Tyler Kirkham handles the scene of Superman meeting with the Senate and he also does an excellent job. Robson Rocha drew the nightclub scene and his work was my least favorite of the three, but it’s still not bad. It was just a little too 90’s Image Comics, for me.
There were a few things that unfortunately, took me out of the story while reading. This issue was a throwback to the way comics used to be. There were narration boxes not from the lead character’s perspective. Like old school, outside narration. There were asterisks with captions explaining them. And then there were thought bubbles. I guess the writer, Scott Lobdell, was going old school, but wasn’t the whole point of the New 52 to make these characters, and by extension, their books, younger and hipper? Cat Grant states that she is 25 years old, so presumably Clark Kent is around that age himself. So why does it feel like I’m reading a Superman comic from the 1950s? Actually, reading the narration, I felt like I was listening to the old Superman radio drama! I’m guessing that’s NOT considered young and hip.
And what was truly jarring is that in the midst of all these old school, throwback storytelling methods, we have Superman at a hip trendy club. WHAT?! This is Superman! Now granted, he is uncomfortable being there, but still just the thought of Superman at the club is out there. It does however, tie in to the younger and hipper thing, but once again, you throw in the thought bubbles and outside narration and it’s just this disturbing clash.
As far as the story itself, I do like the idea of the government considering Superman a threat and wanting to explore his Fortress. I like the idea that he just says no and that the public doubts and even fears him. I’m so used the the all-American, apple pie Superman, that this seems fresh and even dark.
So this was all over the place for me. I’m not even sure how I felt about it. The dialogue was fine. The art ranged from decent to excellent. But the weird throwback storytelling devices, like I said, just took me right out of the story. I’m just going to have to give this an average score, although the art makes me wish I could give it more.
Written by Scott Lobdell
Pencils by Aaron Kuder, Tyler Kirkham, Robson Rocha
Cover by Kenneth Rocafort