In Review: Superman #29

Missing children lead to a cosmic threat that could tear the Man of Steel apart.

The covers: I practically assaulted the stack of comics that featured the Regular cover by Ryan Sook to ensure I got a copy. Superman is wearing Sinestro Corps armor, is wearing the infamous power ring, and holding a yellow power battery, while the opening words to this corps’ oath is spewing out of the battery. The Kryptonian’s eyes are glowing red. I am a tremendous Sinestro Corps fan, so seeing any classic DC heroes in that yellow costume makes me immeasurably happy. This was the cover I had to purchase. Jorge Jimenez does the Variant cover and it’s quite the powerhouse. Superman has just smashed down a wall to enter a building and he strides in, his cape billowing behind him awesomely. He looks incredibly strong, determined, and out to kick some major derrière. The smoke behind him looks so cool and the colors are incredibly bold. This is also an excellent cover. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant A

The story: Outside a building that’s condemned, little Zachariah “Zee” Ferruci is using his phone to catch some wonderful characters that would definitely give Pokémon Go a run for its money. Looking inside the building for more, he comes across a small yellow, glowing cat-like creature. He picks the animal up to befriend it and then screams. Two weeks later, Superman is flying to meet with a group of parents to give them an update on their missing children. Sadly, he has no news. He tells them that Clark Kent should have contacted them to run profile pieces in the paper, and Jimmy arrives to take pictures to accompany the stories. The photojournalist wants to take some photos now, but “Everything I shoot is tinted yellow for some reason.” One parent tells Superman that another missing poster will probably join the others tomorrow, prompting the Man of Steel to say, “Courage is fear trying to hold on for a minute longer…I will do everything in my power to bring your kids home. You have my word on that.” Elsewhere in the city, a little girl is woken by a strange little boy with yellow eyes and strange speech. With the imagery of the Regular cover, the cat-thing that Zee finds, and the font of the possessed child, I was glad that writer Keith Champagne didn’t have the majority of the issue focus on Superman trying to figure out what happened to the kids, as it’s obvious to anyone who’s read any Green Lantern titles. Kal-El knows on Page 6 who’s responsible. The story quickly has him encounter the children, with things not going well. He locates the kids after their first encounter, learns who the kidnapper is, and has something go badly for him. I enjoyed every part of this issue, including the final confrontation, but the final page had me swear aloud at the reveal. This character who appeared was not on my radar for this issue, but given events of other comics, it shouldn’t have surprised me. Needless to say, the next issue cannot come soon enough for me. This was smart, fun, and exciting. Overall grade: A+

The art: The pencils are by Doug Mahnke and inks by Jaime Mendoza with Scott Hanna & Rob Hunter. The art looks incredible. The visual used for the cat on the opening page resembled this character from earlier appearances in the DC Universe, so I knew instantly who this was. The final panel on this page nicely moved far away from the interior action, allowing Zee’s scream to resound in classic horror style. The full-page splash on Page 2 is amazing. Superman is stunning flying through the city at night. He looks as you’d want this icon to appear and the setting is finely detailed. The close-up of him at the bottom of 3 as he addresses the parents exudes honesty and strength, as well as a weariness of having nothing to tell them. Page 5 is the creepiest thing I’ve seen in a DC comic in a while. The look of individual is scary, but having the action occur in that specific location in front of that character would give Pennywise a run for his money. The first panel on 6 is a terrific way to show the protagonist using one of his abilities, with the clues also really cool. The determination on Superman’s face at the bottom of 10 is awesome. The panel on 13 is crazy for how alien and wrong it looks. This is followed by an appropriately icky transformation sequence on 11 and a full-paged splash on 12 that’s full of superb details. The battle between the hero and villain is great and I was doing cartwheels after the reveal on the penultimate page. But the last page, that last page — Wow! I screamed at the visual. That character looks so perfect. Simply amazing artwork. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Colors are absolutely a necessary component of this issue. They foreshadow things to come and tip off veteran readers. Zee starts the issue in a bright environment, but once he enters the condemned building the colors darken, teasing trouble. The cat he encounters is a brilliant yellow, instantly telling me what it was. The last panel of the page is colored for dusk, showing the end of all light, though Zee’s scream is as strong a yellow as the feline. The second page has Superman colored for the evening, yet every element of the art can still be clearly seen. Plus, look at the terrific work done on the city around him. The sole picture Jimmy takes on Page 4 has the yellow tint he’s been complaining about, that’s a visual clue. Yellow is repeated on the fifth page and used excellently on 6, which is necessary for a key plot point in Superman’s solving of the missing children. Rather than use black to create the evening during the first fight, Wil Quintana and Tony Aviña use a dark green, which highlights the yellow energy well. Mustard yellows and oranges take over the book’s last third and they exude so much evil, it was devilishly fun. I love the colors on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Rob Leigh creates dialogue, sounds, the story’s title, the book’s credits, narration, the villain’s unique font, screams, and yells. The dialogue is also an integral part of this book, with the villain’s unique font being a huge tip off for who’s causing trouble for the city’s children. This character’s speech font is primal and wicked looking. The story’s title is fantastic; tilted slightly it resembles the credits to one of the Christopher Reeve films. Sounds are also awesome with Superman’s entrance creating a SHRIPP that was perfection. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Missing children lead to a cosmic threat that could tear the Man of Steel apart. A smart story that goes galactic accompanied by finely detailed visuals. This title continues to be worthy of the adjective super. Recommended! Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Superman-2016-29/digital-comic/540287?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see both covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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