Something weird is going on at Metropolis General Hospital. Purple energy seeps out of the building and a force field stops anyone entering. Inside, the patients and staff have been taken hostage.
The copter cops saved, Superman is able to get information from police chief Maggie Sawyer. They’re dealing with someone named Dax, a powerful psychic.
It seems the whole event has been staged to attract Superman’s attention; Dax opens a hole in his field, allowing the Metropolis Marvel inside.
Stephanie Phillips is the writer behind this latest 99c/76p DC Digital First book, a done-in-one that perfectly showcases Superman’s greatest strength – his compassion. Phillips paces the story nicely and gets what makes Superman the greatest hero of them all – he’s not just superhuman, he’s super-human.
A purple power signature in a Superman book usually means the Parasite, but the antagonist here is one Dax, who Superman knows in this continuity. (Presumably he’s no relation to the Dax who became Doomsday in Krypton’s past.) In just a few pages Phillips fleshes Dax out, as Superman reaches out to find a connection, ending a tricky situation without bloodshed and allowing the story to close on a note of hope.
Heck, she even gives us the classic shirt rip, drawn by artist V Ken Marion and coloured by Emilio Lopez. Marion’s appealingly energetic style reminds me of the work of Kenneth Rocafort – maybe it’s a Ken thing. His Superman looks young, like the New 52 fella, his face not a million miles from the artist’s own. Dax doesn’t look like a traditional villain, but the story context would make that weird. Clayton Cowles handles the lettering, and does his usual spiffy job.
Hopefully we’ll see a lot more from Phillips, who wrote my favourite story in DC’s recent Cybernetic Summer special. Her Man of Tomorrow is a sharp, fun Superman primer, another steal from DC Digital.