Superman #19 review

It’s the day after Superman shared his secret identity with the world. The insurance company is planning to increase the Daily Planet’s premium, predicting that in no short order hordes of villains will attack Superman’s friends.

Superman’s friends aren’t so worried.

Unsurprisingly, though, editor Perry White feels forced to fire Clark Kent. Surprisingly, after musings by Lois Lane about pen names, Perry re-hires Clark. With conditions…

It’s safe to say, our hero is relieved.

After a trip to the Hall of Justice, where the heroic community beams silently (except Wonder Woman – as was the case last issue, she’s looking distinctly perturbed), Superman flies to a world which the members of the newborn United Planets are looking at as a possible base.

He arrives just after Mongul, who wants nothing more than to spoil the party.

While penciller Ivan Reis and his inker – it’s either Joe Prado, Danny Miki, Oclair Albert or Julio Ferreira, all of whom are credited – make the tussle with Mongul look great, the highlight of this issue is the Planet business, both in Perry’s office, then in the bullpen. There’s an especially nice moment with gossip columnist Trish Q, who’s quickly becoming a favourite. Known for his big action set pieces in strange environments, Reis is no slouch when it comes to making the mundane compelling. It helps, of course, that writer Brian Michael Bendis gives everyone such cracking dialogue to inspire the images – the dynamic between Clark, Lois, Perry and Jimmy is sheer delight.

Last issue ended with Lex Luthor looking Very Annoyed Indeed at the revelation of Superman’s earth identity, and while I’d love to have seen that plot spark ignite this time, I enjoyed this chapter hugely. I especially like Superman’s narration, I think that’s unusual for this run – maybe Bendis is getting us closer to Clark as the world is invited to get to know him better.

Favourite line?

I like that even when he doesn’t have a featured role, Batman is never far from Clark’s thoughts – that’s best pals for you.

I don’t like Harley Quinn being front and centre in the Hall of Justice, it’s as if Reis looked at a DC licensing pack and assumed Harley is a hero.

Alex Sinclair’s colours are as attractive as ever, though I think he missed the bit in the script where a Dominator remarks that they’re on an orange planet. Letterer Andworld Design applies their box of alien fonts rather well.

Reis, Prado and Sinclair’s cover looks like a homage to Action Comics #583, which contained half of ‘Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow?’ It’s happier though!

And I just love the logo colours, green and white is a combination we’d see occasionally in the Silver and Bronze Ages, but hardly ever today – it looks wonderful

That masthead had me smiling as I opened the issue and the smile never left me lips – well done all round!

14 thoughts on “Superman #19 review

  1. I can’t be the only believing this wasn’t a good idea. Not only on Superman’s part, but on DC’s part as well to allow this to happen. And let’s be honest, short-term boost in sales and hype aside, there’s no way this doesn’t eventually get rolled back to the previous status quo. That’s inevitably ALWAYS happens. We’ll see I guess. Nice cover tho, and yes, I do see the homage as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with this not lasting forever but I also don’t let things like that (or how many issues a new series may last) get in the way of enjoying a story in front of me right now. This run has been one of the best ever so I’d even take a storyline with Lana and Lois fighting over Clark with Vartox in the background…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The jury’s still out on whether it’s a good idea on Superman’s part. I’m starting to feel that it is, since his monologue really sells the idea that he’s just laid down a great burden that he was holding on to out of fear more than anything else. But as for long-term, we’ll see what the consequences are.

    But on DC’s part? I think telling this story is a winner. It’s drawn attention to the book, it changes a lot of relationship dynamics throughout the DCU, and its ripples could reach everywhere. When people complain about big crossovers, and the idea that the only idea these companies have is to kill someone — well, this is a story of the same scope, without a death at the center of it. It’s a HUGE change, but one built on hope and trust, not death and misery. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

    Of course it will get rolled back, eventually — either at the end of the story Bendis & Reis & company are telling, or at the end of this era of Superman, however that gets measured, and however long that takes. Sooner or later, there’ll be a back to basics approach. But until then, there are still plenty of stories being told where the secret ID is still a thing (Superman Smashes the Klan is one that comes to mind), and in the meantime, it’ll be nice to see where this storyline takes us. We’re in largely uncharted territory here, and that happens rarely enough in superhero comics that I think it’s worth embracing.

    But if and when it gets rolled back, that doesn’t mean that the secret identity choice was a mistake on DC’s part. I suspect it’ll be one of the defining features of this era, and will be one of the things people will love about it. This story shows signs of exploring the possibilities of the revealed ID better than most of its predecessors that went down this road, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. And if it turns out to be a bad idea on Superman’s part…well, good stories can come of that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A really empty issue. . .and a credulous one. Superman can still work at the Planet and Perry is trying to capitalize on it? No villains attack? Not even Superman’s parents (Jon and Martha)? We’ve not dealt with the results of his reveal, and Superman’s is already off-world, where his identity doesn’t matter at all?

    Beautifully drawn, but there isn’t much there just yet. We’ll see how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s OK to have an issue in which things go OK, it’s probably a safe bet that Bendis will amp up the angst as time goes on. I might have ended the story with the nicely developed Trish Q leaving work with a big smile on her face… and immediately being shot by Deathstroke of whoever. Because Superman really is naive if he thinks everyone is OK.

      I’m not convinced Ma and Pa will show up, what with the likelihood Doomsday Clock has been immediately Elseworlded – them again, that would get rid of the horrible Martin Stein reveal.


      1. I’m unsure of the other elements of Doomsday Clock, but I’m certain that the Superman related ones (Superboy, the Kents, etc.) will stick, as the series resonated better than anything Bendis has delivered thus far, and that’s no slight against Bendis.

        I’m not on board with the reveal, but I do hope that Bendis makes something of it, something worthwhile before it all goes away.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. A quick messy fix – have the young version of Jon show up from his adventure with grandpa. A divergent time blip has generated this Jon, with no other place to exist. Older Superboy with Legion, younger one can hang out with Damian.

        Liked by 1 person

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