Superman #5 review

Superman wants to move his battle with the Eradicator away from the crowded streets of Metropolis. He also needs to ensure his wife Lois, and son Jonathan, are safe. There's no time to both get his family someplace they aren't in danger, and then find a battlefield.  

So he takes them to the Moon. And into a cave. 

The Eradicator - crazed vessel for Kryptonian souls, eugenics fan and all-round bad news - soon arrives from Earth and battle ensues. The Eradicator vs Superman. The Eradicator vs super-son Jon. The Eradicator vs... Lois?

How Lois can stand up to a super-powered robot, I shan't quite reveal. Let's just say that the cave wasn't built by Superman. 

Oh, hang on, the cover rather gives things away. OK then...
The Man of Steel spends much of this this issue trapped inside the Eradicator's well of souls. It may be the Phantom Zone, it may be somewhere else. Let's just say it's very, very creepy as presented by writers Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, and artists Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza. I'd prefer to be on the outside with 'momma bear' Lois and Superboy Jon, who's continuing to become a real hero at a rate of knots. He has the strength and smarts of both of his parents and uses them instinctively and well.  
This is the fifth part of the Son of Superman arc and I'm not impatient with it at all. The Eradicator threat is formidable and intriguing, which helps, but it's the Kent family dynamics that really excite. 

Just as the superb Detective Comics should carry a wopping great Batman Family logo, this is a Superman Family book. Lois Lane fans disgruntled - to say the least - by last week's Superwoman issue may find her turn as a Batwoman more to their tastes. Tomasi and Gleason realise that Lois is already a hero, and a Hellbat suit is simply an outward manifestation of that.  

And as depicted by penciller Mahnke and Mendoza - whose inks at times give Mahnke a Brian Bolland finish - it's a darn impressive one. 
Their version of the new Eradicator is terrific, he exudes power and menace. No less compelling are the quieter scenes. Just watch Lois's eyes here. 
Superman's reasoning for not calling in the Justice League, does that make sense to anybody? The Eradicator wants to kill his family and do who knows what else after that, and he's doing the 'it's personal' bit? Thank goodness Lois calls him on it. 

Mind, Clark makes up for his earlier nonsense with this moment. 
Good man. The colours of Wil Quintana emphasise and amplify the drama while letterer Rob Leigh's Eradicator font has grown on me very quickly. 

The spooky cover is the work of Gleason, Mike Gray and John Kalisz, while the variant is another killer Kenneth Rocafort creation. 
This is a hugely enjoyable Superman comic, with only one thing missing... but I remain optimistic that we'll hear a familiar 'arf' before too long.

 

Comments

  1. Could do with this wrapping up soon, but assorted nitpicks aside this really had been a ride. It's weird but assorted complaints seem to get vaguely satisfying answers as the series ping pongs from moment to moment: Last issues retreat to the moon makes a lot more sense once we know WHY Supes did it. Issue 1 ended on Clark taking John with him on a mission, issue 2 made up for the cat mess by having Clark and Lois aware and just waiting for him to step forward but features distinct lack of Clark hugging his little boy.

    Max Landis talked about a pitch session for his American Alien miniseries where he suggested a cover idea of Clark striking the Superman pose in his shirt and boxers while a nightgown clad Lois laughs. DC shot it down with a note saying "Superman cannot look foolish" or something. Maybe there's a similar mandate about hugs. "Superman cannot hug you. Superman cannot kiss you. Superman cannot squeeze you till his arms fall off."

    And again, there's a distinct lack of Krypto but there was that hint he's in there somewhere in the previous issue. Maybe Clark will sick him up once the Eradicator's just a bunch of goo on the Bat Crater floor.

    It's hard to say I like a series which puts as much emphasis on the presence of the Eradicator and the absence of Goldie and Krypto, but at the same time it's really hard to hate a series that ends it's 4th issue with a RETREAT TO THE MOON and has it's 5th be AN ENTIRE FIGHT AGAINST A ROBOT FULL OF GHOSTS. IN A BATCAVE. ON THE MOON.

    They can make up for taking (hopefully only) 6 issues to tell one story by keeping this pace and scale up with some actual super-father/son adventures.

    Also Mum Lois should keep that suit and any other super gadgets in the basement in the event of a home invasion. It'd just be common sense. Bruce can build another one.

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  2. That's a brilliant idea, I expect the Hellbat suit has a cleaning mode. Oh hell, I've just characterised Lois as a housewife.... but we all must clean.

    This really is quite a ride, it should make a great collection. I wonder how Tomasi, Gleason and co will top themselves next time. Krypto would do!

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  3. It wouldn't be the first time Lois put on a suit to save Superman's bacon: http://www.redboots.net/comics/lgok05.jpg

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    1. Oh, remind me - the Obsession storyline?

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  4. Superman: The Last God of Krypton.

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    1. Thanks, I vaguely recall the title. reading around it, it sounds like a long version of a Superman staple. Top talent, mind!

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  5. I've loved this first arc; it's nicely goofy at points while having some great moments of poignancy. Plus, I think Tomasi and Gleason have done a wonderful job of balancing their three main characters, and they've done a much better job at writing Lois than anyone else has during the post-Flashpoint era.

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    1. I love their Lois, but I'm also a big fan of the way Dan Jurgens writes her. 'Goofy' is a great way to describe the story.

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  6. This is the first issue by Tomasi that I've actually enjoyed. One, it does to pieces with that Hellbat armour. It should make Lois invincible with all the malarkey attached to it, but no, armour is just armour.

    Two, Superman seems poised to do some awesome stuff, now being powered by the souls of Krypton.

    I will not forgive killing Goldie the cat, especially if Krypto is brought back, but I cannot say I didn't enjoy this outing.

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  7. I have so many fingers crossed for Krypto, it's untrue...

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