It’s just a perfect day. Lois, Clark and Jon Kent play crazy golf in the park. It’s such fun, but the peace is interrupted by a summons from space. The voice of an old friend of Superman is calling for help. Superman and Superboy take off, leaving Lois for a solo swinging session.
On the planet Thakramm, there are signs that something is wrong.
The king is dead, and what he’s left behind are mysteries.
‘The one who fell’ is the second story arc from new writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and it feels a lot like the previous one: Superman and Superboy in space, a new alien race, musings on the father/son relationship. While the latter aspect is very well done, as you’ll see from the pages above, once again Lois is left behind, as if the writer isn’t interested in where the wife and mother fits in. Perhaps that’s leading somewhere – if Johnson is setting up a situation which has Clark removed for a while, as seems to be the case, there’ll be plenty of room for Lois and Jon stuff.
I hope I’m wrong that, as in Future State, Superman is heading for an extended sojourn on Warworld – I’m already a bit tired of having such a focus on teenage Jon, with Superman continually defined by their relationship.
Which isn’t to say Johnson doesn’t do a good job, Jon is a good partner here, and far from the annoying adolescent so often seem in comics. But the Jon I want is the Super-Sons version, whose latest digital flashback adventure with Damian Wayne continues and can be found in print this very week. I want Superman’s series to star the Man of Steel in solo adventures.
While my eyes glaze over at unfamiliar lumpy aliens with similar names, I did like the character quirk of the Thakkramites that sees them consider Superman and Superboy homely milksop servants, despite their proven feats. And the intelligence – tactical and emotional – displayed by Superman is appreciated. I think Johnson could give us a very good run, so long as the Man of Steel is front and centre, and it’s not all unfamiliar extraterrestrials – bring on the classic villains!
The art by Scott Godlewski is a treat, expansive and dynamic, with some lovely, elegant flight sequences. There’s a lot of character on display, even in the background folk.
I like Godlewski’s designs for the alien world a lot, the environment and monsters are tiptop, and the action is excellent – look at the power in this panel.
And the colouring by Gabe Eltaeb is what I want in a Superman series, bright and breezy. The only note I’d give, as backseat editor, would be to cease with the shiny noses, it’s like everyone has been dipping their head into the water bowl.
Dave Sharpe’s letters are as on-form as ever, hitting the registers required by the script.
The Tales of Metropolis back-up has Jimmy Olsen and a gang of Metropolis heroes on the alert after new villains Projectress and Deadstream announced themselves last issue. Gathered at the Daily Planet for a briefing by the red-headed reporter are the likes of Steel, Gangbuster and that Nineties blue Hulk-type whose name I forget. Oh, Loose Cannon, that’s him, thank you Twitter pal CoriMarie21.
Star of the show, though, is Ambush Bug. I never knew he was considered a Metropolis hero, but I never knew Bibbo wrote for the Daily Planet until someone decided that was the case last month. Anyway, he moves the story forward, encountering Deadstream, but Jim comes across as dim. And I really can’t see heroes as proactive as Steel and Gangbuster sitting around like refugees from a mothers’ meeting.
‘The Insect Noir’ is a decent enough time passer from writer Sean Lewis, artist Sami Basri, colourist Ulises Arreola and that man Sharpe again, but I’d rather have a thinner, cheaper comic book.
So that’s a pretty good main strip and an OK back-up. As for the cover, I’m usually a big fan of John Timms’ designs, but this one is just too busy, it lacks focus and impact. I’m struggling to come up with a close to this review because Superman #30 didn’t stir me, yet I don’t regret buying it. It features a bevy of talented creators, but I fear we’re not on the same wavelength so far as what makes a good Superman story is concerned.