In Review: Superman #46

The story confused, but the visuals entertained.

The covers: Sitting in the snow, in a back alley, is the Man of Steel. He looks hardened by where his life has brought him and he appears to be the last one who would help anyone out if they needed aid. This stark image comes courtesy of John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson, and Dean White. It’s really sad to see Superman like this, because it’s the least likely state a reader would expect to see him in. It’s well done, but it doesn’t appear in this issue and it’s really depressing me. The Looney Tunes Variant cover is by Ryan Sook and Spike Brandt, doing a take off of the classic Superman versus Mohammad Ali comic, though this time Superman is battling the Crusher, from that famous Bugs Bunny cartoon. I like the look of both the characters, and as Neal Adams did on the original version, Sook has peppered some familiar faces in the crowd. Very funny and very cool. Overall grades: Main B+ and Looney Tunes Variant A

The story: Jimmy Olsen is looking for Superman, assisted by Condesa who demonstrates a remarkable ability with computers. What they don’t know is Superman is battling in Mythbrawl, a super powered version of Ultimate Fighter, against a character known as Crow. He’s surprised he’s having so much fun: “The lights, the crowds, the sweat, even the crack of my fist against Crow’s chin (Sorry, buddy). All of it.” With the Crow down for the count, Superman takes his belt and gives a scripted monologue response, leaving the crowd screaming in joy. “They chant my name like it means something to them, like the last few weeks never happened, like I belong among these gods…” Backstage he meets with the promoter and learns something of himself, or does he? I haven’t read this series since Kal-El revealed his identity to the world. I’m surprised that writer Gene Luen Yang has him involved in “super fighting”, and I was often confused by what the story was doing: Jimmy’s flashback didn’t make sense why it was hitting him at that moment, nor did Kal’s new personality. I was really lost with Pages 15 – 22, not knowing the background of the villains he encounters and why they’re doing what they’re doing. A little narrative, just a paragraph, would have helped out. This story left me scratching my head. Overall grade: C-

The art: This is why I bought this book. I am a tremendous fan of Howard Porter and when I read he was leaving Justice League 3001 to go to Superman I had to pick this up. I was not disappointed. The visuals are incredible. Any reader can tell the book is going to be drawn well when an airport’s interiors are interesting to look at, and they certainly are on the first page. Pages 2 and 3 are a double-paged spread that has Superman and Crow in close up battling, surrounded by a screaming crowd holding signs. It’s the perfect introduction to Mythbrawl. The first panel on Page 5 is a terrific perspective shot of Superman dropping the mic, while the final panel on that page will create an instant sense of nostalgia for fans of the the Christopher Reeve film. There’s a classic flashback sequence on Pages 7 and 8 that shows what Superman comics used to contain — heck even the interior of Big Belly Burger looks amazing! The location where Haemosu and Kal go to is really neat and if more time were spent there I would have been ecstatic; it’s got stuff to look at in every corner. Coit Tower is the final location of the book and the two characters encountered there look really cool, with the action sequence on 18 and 19 giving me what I wanted from the story. The “incident” that occurs on 20 is gasp inducing and the final panel the perfect visual to sum up the Man of Steel’s heart. I love everything that Porter is doing on this book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: An outstanding job is also done by Hi-Fi, who were responsible of the colors on Porter’s work on JL3001. The shading done on characters’ skin is so sharp, just look at the excellent job done on Page 1! The colors go from the reality of an airport to the fantastic explosion of greens, blues, and violets with the turn of a page and the entrance into Mythbrawl. This environment has such strong coloring it’s impossible not to be caught up in the visual spectacle. The flashback sequence is nicely tinted in tans to show the reader that the events being shown aren’t in the present. I really like that the location that Kal and Haemosu go to is outlined in a neon yellow which fits the setting to a tee. The coloring of the woman who comes to their table is wonderfully spectral in pale blue. When a certain super ability comes to light on Page 20, the coloring reinforces the strength of such a power. Hi-Fi never disappoints. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, computer speak, story title and credits, signage, narration, sounds, chants, a yell, and the tease for next issue are by Rob Leigh. Leigh gets a wide variety of fonts to contribute to this issue and he does an exceptional job, with the sounds that appear in the final pages being particularly strong. Leigh should letter every DC title. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The story confused, but the visuals entertained. I’m going to have to chase down the previous issue to see if that helps. However, I’ll continue to purchase this title as long as Porter is on board. Overall grade: B

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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