Superman #2 review

The Parasite is on the rampage. Actually, make that Parasites – where previously energy leech Rudy Jones would get bigger and scarier with each injection of life force, now he’s splitting into mini-mes. Think Multiplex with sharper teeth.

It seems Parasite’s powers have been tweaked by the latest group of bonkers boffins to hit the DC Universe, the Secret Order of Mad Scientists.

The two at the front are brothers Graft and Dr Pharm, and while they’re new to readers, wheelchair user Graft suggests they’ve been around since before Lex Luthor came to town. Now Luthor is in prison, it’s their time. They’re rather gleeful that Parasite’s power play has resulted in the lights going off all over Metropolis.

Meet Graft and Dr Pharm… one of them wants to be Iggy Pop

Meanwhile, Superman has escaped the Parasitettes, only to run into them at the Supercorp – formerly Lexcorp – building.

Despite being slightly depowered by the earlier run-in with his old foe(s), Superman puts the threat on ice and checks in with the rest of the family.

They managed to evacuate ‘most’ Metropolitans. One person the Supers didn’t find was Lois Lane, so Superman goes to the place she’s most likely to be – the Daily Planet. There Superman meets an unfamiliar figure.

As it turns out, the ghostly gal proves pretty useful before vanishing into the night. And while she says she’s a good guy – ‘Metropolis has a way of creating its heroes when it needs to’ – Marilyn Moonlight tosses out ambiguous dialogue left, right and centre. Before she goes, Superman has a brief vision.

Last issue new Superman writer Joshua Williamson set out his stall, giving us a taste of how he’ll be playing classic Superman cast members. This issue – another good read – we get new characters in the shape of Graft and Dr Pharm (the other mad scientists seem to be the likes of TO Morrow and… is the JLA villain with the lumpy head Amos Fortune?) and Marilyn Moonlight.

Now, what do we make of her? The spectral gunfighter bit reminds me of the latest Crimson Avenger, the one with the haunted pistols. She also has that pulp vibe, and the corny name is delightful. And does Marilyn deliberately let Superman see what she apparently saw in the days of the Old West or is something else going on?

The visual is interesting, but I was very confused by the first shot of Marilyn by artist Jamal Campbell. It looks like she’s pulling a top hat right down over her head, but we later see the hat is a shallow Zorro affair. Campbell’s cover doesn’t help, with Marilyn seeming more spider-woman than ghost rider, and her hat big enough to block out the sky.

Otherwise, it’s another strong performance from Campbell, whose full colour work reminds me of the tone of the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. He somehow manages to make the pet Parasites cute while creepy. As for the cameo by the Super Family, I love the elegance he gives Supergirl in particular.

Ariana Maher again gives us what looks like freehand lettering for the emotional outbursts and it adds to the visual appeal of the pages.

I would recommend this issue wholeheartedly but there’s one big negative – last issue has 29pp of story for $4.99. This issue has 22 pages of story for… $4.99. And this seems to be the new deal going forward. Is Lex Luthor making the publishing decisions at DC? Time for everyone who can access DC Infinite to make sure they have the Ultra level, and get new issues a month late, I think.

18 thoughts on “Superman #2 review

  1. The price of comics is out of hand. How many kids, which they claim they want to engage in comics buying, can afford this? What parent is going to fork over an extra 100 a month if their kid develops a real interest in this medium?

    Personally, I think the industry, especially DC and Marvel, should go to a lower paper quality and have regular and premium copies. 2.99 for regular and 4.99 for premium, which would be the current paper quality. The lower quality comics could be sold at stores all over the way they used to be back in the day. Die hard fans would still go to comics shops and buy the premium issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll be honest. I love having local comic shops near me here in the states BUT for several years now I’ve subscribed to titles via mail when possible, which in most cases means a 40 percent or so discount. And if I can’t subscribe then maybe I wait for the trade, which will usually be a bit cheaper than buying the single issues. And if the trade is out for a while and discounted, all the better. I love comics and want to support the industry, but $2.99 an issue was really my limit when DC under Didio was “holding the line at $2.99.” And you just don’t get the same amount of story as you did back in the old days. I know people are down on “thought balloons” but sit down and read, say, an issue of the Busiek/Perez Avengers from 20 years ago packed with dialogue, thought balloons and detailed artwork, and a copy of today’s Avengers by Jason Aaron (which I enjoy but have a subscription to.) No comparison when it comes to getting more than your money’s worth with Perez/Busiek.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Brian, you put that very well. I’m getting a real yen to read some of the Silver and Bronze Age books on my shelves, and dig deep into the DC and Marvel library apps. So many books today are such quick reads.


  3. Point being, I know some folks will argue, “If you TRULY care about the industry, you’ll spend your money at your local comic shop, NOT pay some subscription company to get the discount.” But I do feel like the industry isn’t giving readers’ their money’s worth in 2023. And yeah, readers’ tastes have changed. They don’t want as much dialogue. Or their idea of “comicbook art” in 2023 isn’t my preference. But look at a given panel from the Silver Age. Much of it is worthy of being blown up and hung on a wall. Today’s prevalent style just isn’t that detailed or concerned with realism. So if the company’s have moved away from that, why should I pay even MORE for a single floppy book given there is ample evidence we’re not getting the same quality product/art form?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right about Silver Age panels; there are so many days when I need a couple of minutes away from work, I open a random book from the shelf behind me, and just smile broadly and the nuttiness or charm or even wisdom I find, all beautifully drawn.


  4. The two women in white coats seated at the round table are Dr. Amelia Shelley and her twin sister Dr. Delia Shelley, who were mad scientists in the Task Force Z series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Which reminds me, I can read that in the DC Infinite app! Then again, isn’t it written by Brian Azzarello? That would explain why I never bothered with that one.


      1. Task Force Z was by Matthew Rosenberg. It’s a Lazarus resin zombie action-comedy type thing, which seems to be his wheelhouse. A lot of team members die, but most or all get resurrected (or partly so). There’s continual team betrayals and reversals, and a scorecard would come in handy. It’s gruesome, but in a mostly comical way. I also got through Rosenberg’s DC vs. Vampires series, a lot of which I enjoyed, but am not reading his current Joker series.

        I haven’t read much Azzarello, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t think he’s funny nor tries to be.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks very much. I enjoyed DC Vs Vampires at first but the main book became a mess, while the spin-off with the limited colour palette was unintelligible. I won’t rush to read the SS book.


  5. Great review. As you say, the art is wonderful especially Supergirl. But it was the frenzied energy of the Parisites that won me over. You feel them squirming and running around.

    My guess is Marilyn Moonlight ‘exists’ in the old West but can move through time when needed. That glimpse of the old west was her returning to Old Metropolis. She is quite stylish. Strikes me like The Phantom Stranger meets the original Ghost Rider. How interesting her ‘moonlight’ recharged Superman. You’d think magic would be wonky with him.

    Loving this book a lot. Williamson seems to be running several plots and subplots so it feels like classic Superman. I am not complaining!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the lumpy-headed mad scientist might be Professor Ivo, who’s been disfigured before, and was also hanging out with TO Morrow back in the days of 52.

    An even deeper cut — and one I very much doubt has any true connection to the comics at hand — are the Moondancers, a trio of super anti-nuke activists Superman and Batman faced in World’s Finest 295. They wore disco-style costumes and had moon-themed powers. Their names were Crescent Moon, Harvest Moon, and New Moon… and when first saw Marilyn Moonlight, I felt a flicker of hope we might be seeing New Moon again. I don’t actually think that’s the case… but I always wanted to see more of those Lunar Divas. Sadly, their only other appearance (as far as I know) was as background characters in Animal Man 25, as he travels through Comic Book Limbo.

    Anyway, this is a fun book! I like the group of mad scientists a lot — their chaos is a good contrast to Luthor, a disciple of pure order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to get those JLA mad scientists mixed up. Ditto Dr Destiny and Amos Fortune. Good old Gardner Fox!

      The Moondancers, blooming Nora, nice one! That was such an interesting period for WF, even if it did end up on a sour note that pressed the Superman/Batman post-Crisis relationship.


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