Superman #39 – Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Writers; Barry Kitson, Penciller; Scott Hanna, Inker; Gabe Eltaeb, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Heart In the Right Place
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Coming off the explosive “Super-Sons of Tomorrow” storyline (which has an epilogue this week), Superman #39 dials back the action and delivers a done-in-one story that shows Superman where he’s most at home – using his powers to make people happy, rather than to hurt villains (for the most part). The story this issue will remind a lot of people of classic tales like “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” or the fan-favorite “Metropolis Mailbag” issues that Dan Jurgens did yearly back in the day.
The issue opens with a fight scene where Superman battles a low-rent supervillain team named “The Demolition Team”, and this segment fell flat for me a little bit because of the casual jokes Superman made about injuring them. But the point of the scene isn’t who Superman fights, but who is watching – the children of the Metropolis hospital cancer ward.
What follows is Superman organizing a special day for these sick kids, taking them out of the hospital where they live and where some of them will never leave. One boy, in particular, a wheelchair-using kid named Lateef, is especially excited as Superman and Green Lantern take them to the moon for a field trip, arrange a scavenger hunt in the Justice League Watchtower, and give them an adventure that none of them will ever forget. It’s a very sweet story, but it’s also sort of lacking something – the tone is very steady throughout, and seems to be trying very hard to hit all the tearjerker moments. It doesn’t feel quite as organic as the classic stories I listed in the opening, but I can imagine any kid who can relate to the children in this story will find the tale a lot more effective than I did. On that note, it definitely achieved its goal, and it’s good to see a Superman for whom fists take a backseat to heart.
Corrina: This idea is terrific. In reality, many children’s hospitals/treatment centers do have superhero day. (A long stay by my younger son last winter taught me this.) Both the kids and the staff love it. That this fun celebration would be replicated in a comic is perfect and provides a glimpse of what Superman does when he’s not taking on potential world-shattering threats.
It goes to the very core of what Superman stands for: he likes to take care of people as much as he can and that means more than fighting. It also means doing for others what few people can do, such as take the kids on a field trip to the moon. (Though I want to see what those legal permission slips would be like!!)
It’s not a deep comic but it is a nice change of pace. I’d like to see more of this worked into Superman comics as a matter of course, too.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.