Jimmy Olsen has been badly wounded as Superman fought the Sand Superman controlled by cyber-criminal Hordr_root. Former Hordr worker Condesa uses her machine-whispering power to get Jimmy to hospital as the underpowered Man of Steel battles on. And during the fight he admits something to himself.
With Jimmy set to recover, Superman can concentrate on stopping Hordr_root, and with the help of Condesa and the gods he's been working alongside at the Mythbrawl fight club, he does just that. But with Hordr_root down, a bigger, more savage threat emerges.
I've gone light on the spoilers here, as it's the final issue of the lengthy Hordr_root sequence - and the best of the bunch. Writer Gene Luen Yang ties up the plot threads with real skill, giving us plenty of good moments that serve the larger Truth story. For the first time in months, there's no having to search for the real Superman; he's here from start to finish - caring, intelligent, willing to let his friends help him. Superman, as Mythbrawl MC Sharazad reminds him as she empowers him in more ways than one, is learning to accept who he is - someone who doesn't need the cheers of others to be a good man.
Acceptance is also at the root of the origin of Hordr_root and I almost feel a smidgeon of sympathy for him. But his original circumstances don't make him any less of a scumbag. He really wants the love of his absent father, and given that he knows the guy's reputation, he's either super-sad, evil or both.
Superman's thoughts on the solar flare power echo those of many of us, and hint that it's going away; at the very least, Yang seems to be promising he'll not be using it as a crutch should it return alongside Superman's other abilities. Other things I like include the Clark and Jimmy friendship; Mythbrawl not turning out to be evil; and Condesa finally convincing me she's now on the side of the angels.
There's a puzzling moment as a walk-on character gets more of a focus than might be expected - either Nurse Nuñez is secretly a baddie or someone on the creative team is nodding to a pal.
It looks like we hit a deadline crunch this time, as the fascinating, dynamic art of Howard Porter vanishes for the final few pages. Raymund Bermudez has an interesting style, and I'd be happy to see him on a fill-in issue, but it's a bad fit for Porter. Tom Derenick does the last couple of pages, as this issue's surprise guest star finds that genius isn't everything, and it's much more akin to the Porter style. I'd rather DC had delayed this issue a couple of weeks and had the Full Howard, but it's not the end of the world.
The colours of Hi-Fi and Lee Loughridge are intense as needed, subtle when necessary, while the consistency of Rob Leigh's letters are much appreciated.
The only thing I really don't like about this issue is John Romita Jr's cover pencils. I like to find something positive to say about any piece of art, but I'm too busy worrying about Romita's eyesight. That is not Superman, it's some weird-jawed liquorice person.
A poor cover isn't enough to take the shine off a very satisfying issue of Superman. Keep 'em coming.