Cat's left alone when Clark rushes off to change to Superman, a gigantic winged monster having appeared over Metropolis. A fight ensues, Superman and space dragon wind up in Ireland, and Supergirl appears, mad as hell at her cousin.
Again. The angry Kara bit has gotten really old. Here she's annoyed because Superman had told her the pair of them were the only survivors of their world's destruction, yet he must have known he was fighting a Kryptonian beastie. God forbid Superman might not have recognised the creature, having left the planet as a baby ... no, in cranky Kara's eyes, he's a big old liar and she's ready to punch him.
And it's not like I can blame lack of coordination between the Super-books, given that this issue is the prologue to a crossover with the Supergirl and Superboy titles, H'el on Earth. Probably, Kara's mood will lighten, being an end-of-issue Big Dramatic Moment, but I'd rather another storytelling choice had been made.
Otherwise, Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort, the third creative team in this book's short existence, get off to a confident start. I like that attention is being paid to Superman's life in civvies, even if Clark is coming across as a self-righteous douche. I work in a newsroom, and heaven knows, he's right about the tsunami of press releases masquerading as real stories - but chewing out your colleagues? Railing at your boss? That's not the way to bring change, and it's not like he's in a moral position to lecture anybody, having spent days being Superman on company time. When Perry points out that he's not filed anything all week in his role as Superman correspondent, the slovenly dressed Clark simply gets surly. The man has a bad attitude.
As for ethics, what happened to his? He clearly has no respect for Lois, reading her private texts to learn that boyfriend Jonathan is moving in with her. Stalker. And given that in Justice League he's all over Wonder Woman, which is acknowledged here, Clark comes across like an immature teenager, not knowing what he wants. I'm all for a Superman with identifiable human emotions, but 'likeable non-idiot' is good too.
Have we ever had such an obvious indication of someone having sex in a Superman comic as soapy Jimmy and pal? I realise this series is rated T for Teen, but I think of Superman as an all-ages character. By all means imply that stuff is happening, in a way older readers will pick up on - in the Seventies there was a running gag around boeuf bourguignon - but show? I'm not so sure. And besides, I like my Jimmy to be a loser with the ladies ... let's at least hope the naked girl is a disguised alien from Dimension X.
Things I like about this issue include the intriguing Dr Veritas - why does she appear multiple times in one panel, how did her right side become impaired and is she Tamaranean or simply tanned? It's good that the supporting cast is getting some attention, especially Cat Grant, who's not had a chance to make an impression in the new continuity. Lobdell's narration is engaging, particularly the throwaway references - 'Seven Sisters of Sin and Avarice'; 'Talking Sun of Alktos Prime' - which could have come straight out of All-Star Superman, which supplies this month's title: 'They will join you in the sun.' And there's a cute trick Superman pulls off in Ireland which involves a clever blend of brainpower and super-powers.
Rocafort's artwork is a breath of fresh air, signalling that we're in one of those Bold New Eras comics used to give us every now and then. The cover's not great - he's trying far too hard to be true to the abhorrent armoured costume - and the punching pose looks awkward. After that, though, things get a lot better, very quickly. The opening scene in Dr Veritas's lab near the centre of the earth has a certain wonder, while Metropolis looks like the City of Tomorrow it's meant to be. The compositions are dynamic, the Kryptonian monster is a fine update on Silver Age designs and Lois, Cat, Perry and co look splendid, with real animation to them. As for Superman himself, he's a good-looking, strong chap, as he should be, and it's great to see that - New 52 be damned! - he still has red shorts.
So, not a perfect issue, but solid and showing ambition. If Lobdell and Rocafort can find the form they've shown in Red Hood and the Outsiders, and DC's higher-up give them a bit of creative freedom, the Superman book could be in for interesting times. I'll give them a pass for the next couple of months, as inter-title crossovers tend to hobble individual ambition. But after that? Impress me.