In which new Superman Jon Kent starts to realise that shrinking Metropolis to ‘protect’ it from threats perhaps wasn’t the best idea.
And Supergirl shows that she’s pretty great at the hero game.
Well, this is better than last issue. Jon is much improved, he’s no longer arrogant and impetuous as he takes on Brainiac spin-off Brain Cells. And Kara isn’t the witch who’s super-quick to jump down his throat.
Writer Sean Lewis wraps up the story begun last month with Jon learning a lesson about being a hero; given he’s been a crimefighter since he was nine or something, and a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, it’s not a lesson he should need, but there you go. He fights with clones of his Super-Dad from various eras of comic history – I guess that’s DC’s new Everything Happened concept in action – and gives a pretty good account of himself.
By close of play he and Kara have restored Metropolis from Kandor to life-size and, as an apology, committed to be their hero and theirs alone. Let’s hope the rest of the world is uncharacteristically threat-free from now on.
One thing he doesn’t do is blast Brain Cells to smithereens – Lewis makes no attempt to explain why Jon and Kara don’t unplug or similarly disable an AI that keeps trying to kill them.
I enjoyed this story in the sense I didn’t hate it, as I did last issue’s opening chapter – I hadn’t planned on buying the conclusion until I saw John Timms’ excellent cover, I liked the idea of Kara and Jon getting on. And they do, mostly, with only a bit of narration from Jon denting the mellowness.
Timms’ art, nicely coloured by Gabe Eltaeb who also handles the cover hues, is bold and attractive – Kara’s too-tight outfit apart – jollying the story along. The faceless Superman clones are enjoyably creepy, and Lewis’s dialogue for them is a high point.
The letters by Dave Sharpe are splendid, although there’s one very odd moment.
Poor Jon, even he can’t defeat a ruddy great caption box plonked on his head.
Would I like to see more Superman of Metropolis? No, not really. Jon was created to be a Super-Son, not a Superman – he doesn’t work as an angst-ridden solo hero. He’s the kid having fun, not the guy with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
As last time, we also have two solo strips tied to the shrinking of Metropolis plotline. They’re both decent little stories.
Mr Miracle is a mite more interesting than previously, even though it’s again a chase-cum-fight sequence. Shiloh Norman’s tactics are more engaging, as presented by writer Brandon Easton and artist Valentine de Landro, with colours by Marissa Louise. The story looks to be continuing in Superman: Worlds of War, but I’m not interested enough to follow it up.
Then there’s the Metropolis Guardian strip by Lewis and artist Cully Hamner. Our hero is helped by science-savvy citizens to stop urban rabble rouser Honest Mary from dropping Jimmy Olsen off the Daily Planet globe. I don’t get her deal at all, or why the red-headed reporter is so beloved by the people of Metropolis. We’re not told why one of the Guardian’s new pals has a metal arm, or why Honest Mary can run rings round everyone, but this is pretty enjoyable. I liked this page a lot, especially the line about Metropolis Science Club.
Jimmy survives, which is a shame because he’s written as a Joey From Friends-level moron. What’s also weird is that six months have passed inside the Bottle City of Metropolis while, in the Jon story, only a few hours go by… Lewis gives us a quick pseudo-science ‘explanation’ in the main strip, but it’s an odd disparity, especially given he’s writing both stories.
For the second time, Metropolis Guardian is my favourite story. The supporting characters Lewis gives us have potential, while Hamner’s art, beautifully coloured by Laura Martin, is typically excellent. It’s just a shame the story – and indeed, the Mr Miracle tale – is so tied to the main strip… I’d rather see both characters allowed to fly free.
So, that’s Future State: Superman of Metropolis – there are a lot of talented people involved, and there have been some good moments, but overall I’d rather have adventures of Jon and Supergirl in the present day. I can’t believe anyone has been clamouring for an adult Jon, a grumpy Kara, and solo spots for The Less Famous Mr Miracle and the Formerly Manhattan Guardian.