In Review: Superman #37

The truth is revealed and the consequences have begun. A page turner with sensational art.

The covers: A trio of covers taking you to different adventures with the Man of Steel. The Main cover is by interior artists John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson, and Laura Martin. It shows Superman trudging away from a burning city, his clothes a mess, and his face lowered so that only his angry red eyes show. What just happened? Is this spoiling something? A good cover that makes readers question what’s occurred. The first Variant is credited to Francis Manapul on the first page, but digging around online I found that it’s actually by Ethan Van Sciver. This cover features Green Lantern Hal Jordan powering up his ring as Superman changes out of his Clark Kent identity. Why are they doing so in public? Sinestro is on the Times Square jumbotron pronouncing his judgment on Earth while hundreds of Yellow Lanterns descend from the skies. This has nothing to do with this issue, but it sure is a terrific image, with great coloring from Hi-Fi. The final Variant is by Darwyn Cooke and I purchased this version. It’s a panoramic shot of a custodian’s closet with the window open and in the distance Superman flying away. This is what it’s all about! Overall grades: Main A, Variant Van Sciver A, and Cooke A+

The story: This penultimate chapter of Geoff John’s epic The Men of Tomorrow begins with Superman locked down tight by Ulysses on one of the ships that’s about to take six million people to the fourth dimension. Ulysses’s monologue to Superman is interrupted by Klerik, the alien that the two supermen fought in the streets. He is Ulysses’s adopted father. He hits his son to floor after being told that the Kryptonian is to be returned to Earth after bringing the people to their new home. Outside citizens are being lifted into the ships by beams of light–everything one would expect to hear in an alien abduction story–but these people are going willingly, having been told that there is no war, disease, or hatred in the fourth dimension. Lois Lane is skeptical of what’s being offered. This issue finally reveals what Ulysses and his adopted family are up to. The characters go to the fourth dimension, but it’s not what they were told. Something is revealed on Page 13 to make a change in one character, but some interference on 17 complicates the situation in the worst possible way. Things take a tremendous turn and the final page shows readers they ain’t seen nothing yet. This was a page turner of a story and I want to know how this is resolved. Overall grade: A

The art: If there’s been too much talking and not enough super heroics for you, this will sate that urge. The punch on Page 3 is only a preview of the fisticuffs that are going to be illustrated by penciller John Romita, Jr. and inker Klaus Janson. Superman and Ulysses are the epitome of physical strength and when they throw punches they come right off the page. However, the show stopper is the fourth dimension, finally shown and it is beyond what anyone could have expected. The strange designs of the aliens as they herd people onto their ships have been bizarre enough (Page 6, panel three), but the double-pages spread of Pages 8 and 9 is wonderful. This is a completely alien setting where the architecture and inhabitants are jaw droppers. Page 10, panel three, is the most frightening image I think I’ve seen in a Superman comic and the dialogue that accompanies it chilling. Page 13 is a good nine panel sequence involving a choice, with the following pages being power incarnate. It doesn’t get any bigger than this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Laura Martin’s work helps the story create its power. Blue is the color used to denote energy from Ulysses and others of the fourth dimension. When it surges it goes white and it’s spectacular. It is also the perfect color to show the speed of Superman, as he’s a red streak against all the power of this place. The sick yellow used on the opening pages for Ulysses and Superman’s conversation is a nice reinforcement of how sick the new hero’s deeds are. The double-paged spread of 8 and 9 surprisingly doesn’t use blues in it color scheme, but off-purples, yellows, and oranges. That final color made the world seem sick, and gave some good foreshadowing. Romita and Janson may create the images of this book, but Martin definitely provides the power. Overall grade: A

The lettering: The sensational Sal Cipriano provides the lettering on this installment, which includes dialogue, opening title and credits, alien speak (Fantastic!), and screams. All look great, but I wanted–needed–some sounds on this issue. I know that’s not Cipriano’s call, but half the fun of comic books are the sounds, and this was sadly mute. Overall grade: A-

The final line: The truth is revealed and the consequences have begun. A page turner with sensational art. Overall grade: A

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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