In Review: Superman #36

This is perfect comic reading that will make you feel young.

The covers: A threesome should you desire all the covers. The Main cover is by John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson, and Laura Martin, showing Ulysses beginning to rise into the sky during a downpour, wearing Superman’s uniform. Hundreds of hands are reaching for him as he goes upwards. There’s an odd formation behind him, but it’s difficult to make out what it is due to the rain. The look on his face isn’t a pleasant one. This leaves readers wondering what happened to Superman and why are so many trying to grasp him? The Variant cover by Francis Manapul is a very expressionist cover with Superman racing the Flash. Their motion is suggested by colors, rather than traditional speed lines. This has a very 1960s vibe to it. It’s neat, but not for me. The Lego Variant features the evil Brainiac bursting through a white cover, hand to his head as he’s about to implement some form of villainy. This one cracked me up, so I had to purchase this version. Overall grades: Main A, Variant B, and Lego Variant A 

The story: The fifth chapter in Geoff Johns’s The Men of Tomorrow storyline, “Exodus,” opens in jaw dropping fashion. Ulysses is making an announcement to all of the Earth over every electronic device. He realizes that it’s impossible to solve all of the problems on this world, so he is going to allow six million people to return with him to the fourth dimension, where there is no crime, no pain, no death. Several ships the six of several city blocks begin to descend. He’s leaving in twenty-four hours. Lois and Jimmy have found Uylsses’s parents, but they aren’t coming to the door to answer any questions. Clark leaves The Daily Planet’s offices to go where Ulysses made his broadcast and stuff happens. The remainder of the book is strong as little hints of what’s going on are dropped, but nothing is explicitly revealed. Readers only know that Ulysses has made a difficult decision. Highpoints can be found on Pages 11 and 12 (Love hearing the alien ship’s dialogue), the bottom of 13 and top of 14 (What the heck?!), and 14 – 16 (Tidbits are given, but nothing told). There’s a lot of powerful punches being thrown in this issue, but why is the big mystery. Things are only going to get worse before they get better and I’m looking forward to seeing them in thirty days. Overall grade: A

The art: Several different locations with several different characters make this a showcase for penciller John Romita, Jr., and inker Klaus Janson. The book starts firmly rooted in reality as several people are shown in different locations listening or witnessing Ulysses’s announcement. This is the perfect lead in to the double-paged splash of Pages 4 and 5 that has one of his mega-ships descending upon Metropolis. The ship and city look terrific, but the crackle of energy around the ship truly makes this an alien event. When Superman and Ulysses begin to have their disagreements about what’s going on their faces turn to silhouettes against the crackle of lightning. What could be more ominous an image than that? My favorite pages were 11 and 12. This was an excellent sequence of humanity rushing into the unknown, unaware of what they may encounter until it comes out to get them. Shades of The Matrix abound. What’s actually going on inside the ship was wonderfully obscured, save Ulysses’s reactions. The battle with Superman was expected, but not on the level that it went to. This was a sharp looking issue that exploded with energy. Overall grade: A

The colors: The tone of this book was very sad due to the coloring of Laura Martin. Blue and white are the dominant colors in the book because they are the pair used by Ulysses when he implements his energy. It’s been very clean looking in the past, but when added against a downpour, the sense of doom and hopelessness grows tremendously. This is exacerbated when the denizens of Metropolis are shown in their emotional frenzy on 11 and 12. The colors make the reader feel the plight of these people’s need and the art tells them they are grasping at straws. The one panel of bright color comes on 15 with a character’s outburst. It shocks the reader into doubting everything that’s been said earlier, yet it reveals nothing. A perfect use of coloring to smack the reader. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, transmission dialogue, opening title and credits, a headline, wonderful alien dialogue on 11 and 12, which continues without translation for two more pages, the pleas of the masses, and one yell of pain are crafted by Sal Cipriano. I always have to give major credit to any letterer that creates a font for an alien race. Doing so makes the character/s all the more unearthly, and this font definitely does that. I would have killed for some sounds during the silent fray on the final pages. Overall grade: A 

The final line: An awesome story that holds many questions with clues being given in bursts. The visuals are amazing. This is perfect comic reading that will make you feel young. 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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