Superman #3 review

Parasites are popping up across Metropolis in all shapes and sizes. If Superman and the Super Family don’t contain them the world could be doomed.

Unfortunately, as this issue begins a Parasite-tainted Superman arrives at Metropolis jail to absorb energy from one of the biggest power players on the planet.

As it turns out, Superman is still in there and he wants to use electricity-generating bad girl Livewire as bait for the prime Parasite, whose powers have been interfered with by persons unknown to Superman. Normalised by a tech-suit, the Man of Steel is able to face the Parasite – who’s likely to die if things keep heading in the current direction – and offer him a way out.

Reabsorb his little men.

Crisis over, Clark Kent can mull over his Luthor problem – his arch foe is in prison, but is constantly whispering to Superman, asking to be allowed to help him make a better world.

Superman makes a decision. Impressed that Lex came through for the city by damping down the overstuffed Parasite’s radiation, saving his life, he gives Lex a gift.

A Superman signal watch. And a rather classy one at that.

And with that, Superman agrees to join Supercorp, the newly renamed Lexcorp, and make it a force for good.

I’m with Lois – do not trust Lex Luthor. I’d tell him where to stick his stupid offer… why is Lex on the list of people he has his super-hearing tuned into in the first place? How can Superman not know in his heart that one or two instances of Lex acting for the greater good just means he has a new demonic plan?

Maybe writer Joshua Williamson has something clever in store. I get that our hero wants to believe the best in everyone, that’s a cornerstone of current Action Comics, but Lex? Let him serve his sentence and prove himself over time.

As for the watch itself, who knew Superman was a jewellery designer with a supply of branded iPhone-style boxes?

There’s not much in the way of subplots this issue. I think this is it.

Probably something to do with his unnamed new girlfriend. Jimmy’s girlfriends are always trouble.

We do get a short scene with the mysterious mad scientists of Metropolis – supposed enemies of Luthor who were behind the Parasite power change – plotting their next trick, and Superman and Lois having a sky dance, but that’s about it.

To be honest, this issue’s story felt a little flat for me. Parasite is an interesting villain visually, but very B-list and the solution to his problem was pretty predictable. Heck, he should have come up with it himself.

Attractive as Jamal Campbell’s full-colour art is, scenes such as Superman’s chat with Lex and breakfast at the Daily Planet were given far too much room to breathe. Conversely, the opening scenes of the issue needed more space. One minute Parasite-Superman, Lex and Livewire are in the jail of on Stryker’s Island, the next everyone is at Supercorp with no explanation given. A bit of dialogue thrown in later looks like Williamson applying a patch, but really a transition page was needed. As it is, the tech suit – branded with an S, obviously – appears on Superman fully formed. I’m surprised editor Paul Kaminski let this past his desk… maybe there was a production crunch.

As I said, though, the art looks good, with the scary Parasites being a highlight, along with the 2023 take on Jimmy’s outfit which gives him a Tintin vibe, and the shadowing on Lex’s face that just screams ‘Still Evil’. And Superman looks great, bar his trunks, which are a little too All-Star Superman in terms of the adult diaper vibe.

Ariana Maher’s letters look good, with Parasite-font particularly appreciated.

The two-page credits spread, always a waste of space, appears one page from the end of the book, which is stupid given there’s a Story So Far blurb on there.

Campbell’s cover is striking, if weird – it seems that our hero is snogging a Parasite-Lois with Livewire saliva… whatever floats your boat, I guess.

This series has lots of promise; if the Luthor subplot is speedily dealt with – and I can’t see that happening – it may well achieve it.

8 thoughts on “Superman #3 review

  1. I enjoyed this from start to finish. I have to admit, as a Mighty Mouse lad, I love a good contrail. The only bit I fully agree with you on is the double splash credit page. . .and Lex Luthor. Time will tell, but in the time of readers and viewers waning to connect with bad guys, it leaves little room for Luthor, who never truly had a reason to have any enmity towards Superman. It was addressed in the pages of Superboy, but readers tended to think it was about Lex’s hair, which it wasn’t. John Byrne’s run did little to establish any genuine enmity for Luthor towards Superman, either. So we can’t just a an evil Luthor. No, he has to have a motivation beyond being a bad guy, who wants to destroy Superman at ANY cost. Flirting with Lex reforming is a waste of time. He should be working with Jay Nakamura to annillate the Superman Family. We will see if Kennedy has a plan for Lex, or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just find it interesting that this is at least the 4th time in the last 20 years where a storyline has revolved around Luthor being a hero or at least an anti-hero. I’m counting from when he became President around 2000/2001 and the Our Worlds At War storyline; then during the New52 when he actually joined the Justice League and saved the world in Forever Evil, then early on in Rebirth when he had his armored Superman suit, and now this. Writers seem to love to write a “trying to be heroic but maybe for all the wrong reasons” Lex.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great point. I’d love a good long run of no-doubt-about-it evil Luthor. He’s had enough chances to shine as a good guy, he doesn’t really want to change.


  3. There was also a stint shortly before the New 52, around Blackest Night, where he started headlining Action Comics. Luthor plays at being a hero a LOT. He’s basically the Thunderbolts at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Finally read this one, and I agree with you, Mart — while this issue looks pretty as ever, the main plot of Superman vs Parasite fell kind of flat.

    Also, though, I think the solution to that dilemma* is why everyone in Metropolis (not just Jimmy) was hungry at the end of it. I can’t remember all the comic-book pseudoscience behind it now, but that’s what I thought at the time (remember, everyone else rushed out to the food trucks alongside Jimmy), and I thought it was a nice touch.

    *Honestly, I think this is where Williamson stories usually fall down for me. He sets up a big threat, with some interesting stakes… and then whatever resolves it is usually some kind of vague pseudoscience application of superpowers that results in a conclusion…but in a way that you’re never quite sure how you got there. Which is not to say that this kind of handwaving didn’t happen all the time in, say, Len Wein/Dick Dillin Justice League issues. But I find it less satisfying now than I did then.

    Hopefully next issue offers more surprises.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooooh, they’re all hungry! I never realised that – I just thought Jimmy was being very enthusiastic, I don’t think anyone else specifically mentions being hungry, unless you count Lois wanting to eat Clark, but why not? You are clever! Maybe it’s not Williamson failing to land his ending, it could be a nice bit of subtlety to bring out the extra smart readers like Not Me.


      1. Rereading it, no one really mentions being hungry (aside from Lois’s comment)… but I think I’m right. There’s just SO much stuff about eating and snacks in the pages beforehand that Jimmy leading a group out to the food trucks can’t be a coincidence.

        Liked by 1 person

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