We hear Luthor's own theory at the close of this instalment, after seeing Lois learn how her companion saved the plane, and Superman and Wraith prove a surprisingly effective team. Last issue's cliffhanger saw Wraith tell Superman that one day he would kill the Man of Steel, and here the question hangs over the more immediate problem of defending Tokyo. Writer Scott Snyder plays eminently fair, having Wraith explain himself while leaving the mystery of the 70-year-old military superman's origins hanging.
The Tokyo scenes allow Snyder, as he's done previously, to look afresh at Superman's powers, as the more experienced Wraith teaches him a new trick. Short bullet bursts of heat vision, enabled via blinking, seem head-scratchingly obvious now Snyder has thought of it and Jim Lee and Scott Williams drawn it ...
Snyder's script is well-worked, with commendably individual dialogue - it's easy to hear the differing voices of the cast members, from grizzled Wraith to frightened Jimmy via urbane Lex and determined Lois. And Superman? Confident, but never cocky - this is one of the most likeable portrayals we've had since the DC relaunch of 2011. There's a real sense that Snyder knows exactly where he'll be placing the cards in future chapters, while remaining excited to be working on a Superman story. A tip of the hat, too, to editors Chris Conroy and Matt Idelson, for all the invisible bits of business without which there'd be no comic.
Dustin Nguyen steps in, as usual, for the final two pages, which continue Lois' mini-adventure. Coloured by John Kalisz and lettered - like the rest of the issue - by the talented Sal Cipriano, this is good, moody work.
The cover is a keeper too, with master manipulator Lex artfully placed before the angled view screens.
I don't know how many issues this storyline runs, but I'm enjoying it enormously. It feels like a classic Superman story, yet thoroughly - if Marvel will excuse the expression - now. That's quite the trick to pull off.