The cover: This illustration was what got me to pick this book up. Looking at this from one angle shows the Man of Steel with his fists ready to start pounding. Behind him is the city of Metropolis with the globe of The Daily Planet easily seen. However, if one were to move this 3D Motion Cover to a different angle Superman becomes a sand encrusted figure, seeming to dissolve before one’s eyes, with the city swept away as ashes. Great image by Lee Weeks and Dave McCaig. It worked. Got to open the book and buy it. Overall grade: A
The story: Don’t judge a book by its cover. What’s the worst thing you can have in a Superman book? No Superman! “Crossroads” by Sholly Fisch opens “Five years from now” in Ethiopia where Clark Kent is planting crops–continuing to plant crops. He’s stopped being Superman, for an undisclosed amount of time, and he’s planting in this desolate land because people always have to have hope. The next thirteen pages deal with everyday people visited by a humanoid resembling Superman made entirely out of sand. This individual bestows temporary powers onto these people with different effects. Why? It’s not revealed until the final four pages and it was a chore to get to this supposed payoff. This story could have been told in half the pages, as it’s not necessary to visit so many recipients–and in the final four pages it’s revealed that readers didn’t even see a quarter of the people visited! The point is felt at the end, but the end doesn’t justify the means in this story. I wish I had passed on this. Overall grade: D-
The art: The visuals on this book come from Pascal Alixe and Vicente Cifuentes. I was impressed with what was done on Pages 3 and 4. These were awesome compositions that really had a lot of emotion in them. However, the events that followed had backgroundless panels that relied on the colorist to fill. Sadly, this happens often in the book. When the book returns to Clark, the characters look good, but the backgrounds are absent. For two artists on a book I expect complete artwork. What happened? Overall grade: C-
The colors: I hope Pete Pantazis made more than most colorist do at DC because he was doing a lot of the artists’ job on this book. Pages 3 and 4 are beautiful. I love the cool setting colors and how the character is brightly colored. The faded yellow and brown of the distant street looked terrific. Page 5 begins Pantazis’s heavy lifting, as colors are needed to fill in numerous panels. He does so well, but one can only look at so many bright swirls or bright backgrounds before realizing the artists left these panels unfinished. Overall grade: B+
The letters: Scene setting, dialogue, titles, a goodbye letter, yelling, and sound effects are crafted by Charles M. Mangual. They look great, with that goodbye letter being his standout contribution to the book. Overall grade: A
The final line: I was really disappointed in this book. This makes me glad I’m not purchasing all the Superman titles on a regular basis. I’d avoid this. Overall grade: C
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two 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.