Superman 683 review

Behind one of Alex Ross’s constipated elderly Superman covers, here’s the penultimate part of New Krypton and events crank up a gear as the JSA, JLA, Starfire and Steel confront Superman over the small matter of Kandorians murdering Earth policemen and generally stomping carelessly around the planet. Superman tries to evoke the Code of Dibs – see – insisting that this concerns Kryptonians and he’ll sort everything out. Really, Superman is coming across as a dimwit. Take this moment, for example (click to enlarge): The man is letting sentimentality threaten the people of Earth and the other heroes need to act, and quickly. Out of friendship and respect, they give Superman half an hour to present the Kandorian killers, time he uses to confront his aunt Alura, who gave them authority to act with disdain for human life, and who is protecting them now. Again, his attempt to reason with a woman who has already been pretty hard-faced, to say the least, about the situation, doesn’t reflect well on our boy Kal. It shows him as more naive than he should be for his level of experience, but Pa Kent and newly found Uncle Zor-El have just died, so he’s hobbled by love for his family – any members of it.

Needless to say, things don’t go well and superheroes are soon battling Kandorians. This is where the issue gets really interesting, as we see the heroes use their powers in new ways to make the conflict more equal. And while I never knew, for example, that Black Lightning could do what he does here, and it isn’t the most logical extension of his abilities, I love it. It’s one of those ‘hoo-rah’ moments, and more follow. There’s more logic as regards the cavalry who turn up at the end of the issue, indicating that the finale next month will be something to behold.

Writer James Robinson gets more comfortable with this book every month, making it a compelling read even when it’s not focusing on the Man of Steel (such as last month’s ensemble drama). There’s an especially great moment with the Guardian this month, one I won’t spoil here.

And the art . . . this is truly beautiful work from pencillers Renato Guedes and Jorge Correa Jr (also inking his pages) and inker Wilson Magalhaes, graceful yet dynamic. I couldn’t tell who was doing what due to a combination of the artists using similar styles and the incredible – not a word I use lightly – colouring of David Curiel. The opening spread, for instance, is a gorgeous piece of work, showing the superheroes every bit as majestic as the Kandor they hover over.

So, Action Comics 873 concludes the storyline (well, this arc at least, the ramifications are due to motivate a year’s worth of stories) and it’s been a tremendous read. The return of the triangle linking has proven a huge artistic success, making a week without a Superman Family book a poor week indeed.

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