Superman has burst into the White House, furious that the US Government has torn his hometown apart in the wake of his other life as Clark Kent being revealed to the world. The authorities have kidnapped his Daily Planet colleagues and Smallville neighbours. Wonder Woman isn’t going to let them stay behind bars. And the Parasite attacks.
In page time, while Diana was front and centre with Clark last month, this instalment is mostly the Man of Steel’s show. Watching him calmly move around the Oval Office, as items of presidential decor take on an ironic bent, and we get insets of how his kidnapped pals are doing, makes for good, subtle drama.
What, exactly, is their problem? Did Superman ever say he used no other name? He presents as a hero and that’s what he has always tried to be, a friend to America and the rest of the world. Yes, the Government could have issues with Superman being a vigilante, but evidently they don’t. Instead, Trevor – who really is better than this – comes across like a silly kid, pouting because he isn’t privy to a secret. It’s not stated, but jealousy that Diana, whom he loves, is with Superman could be a factor in his really going for the hero. Then, having Barack Obama enter the story and spout the same line as Trevor makes him seem an ungrateful louse. This isn’t Civil War period Marvel Comics, why the heck should a superhero having a private life matter to the people of the DCU? They don’t actually pay him to save their ungrateful backsides 24/7.
All that said, Superman’s speech is superb, and logically should bring an end to the Truth storyline. Oh, if only…
The varied reactions of Superman’s friends to being abducted and imprisoned by their own country, having committed no crime, is enlightening and heartening. Lois, defiant. Jimmy, confused. Steel, serene. Lana goes full-on Linda Hamilton.
And in the later vignettes, in which they’re interrogated, Clark’s old schoolteacher, Mrs Takahara, is a particular delight, while neighbour Mr Santiago is my new hero.
This part of the book, though, did produce the saddest, most pathetic moment – Jimmy’s response to questioning by Government goons. Please, Jimmy isn’t this much of a sad sack.
The main cover by Paulo Siqueira and colour house Hi-Fi is a little dull, another of the ‘worried heads’ images Truth is giving us – I’d much rather see a straightforward, punchy image of Superman and Parasite fighting in front of Obama (who’s looking a tad young throughout, but perhaps Mahnke is out to sell the original art to POTUS).
All in all, this is one of the best chapters of the Truth sequence running through the various titles featuring Superman. Tomasi, Mahnke and friends combine to produce a narratively and visually compelling superhero comic, one that uses the current Diana/Clark relationship to good storytelling effect.