Superman #40 – James Robinson, Writer; Doug Mahnke, Penciller; Jaime Mendoza, Scott Hanna, Inkers; Wil Quintana, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Nice Fill-In Issue
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The current creative team on Superman is wrapping up their run with Action Comics #1000 (where they’ll do one of two lead stories alongside Dan Jurgens) to make room for Brian Bendis, and it’s not a big surprise – they’ve had a lot of fill-ins over the course of their run. By those standards, this is an above-average one. James Robinson drops by for yet another arc on a book (he’s done well on almost everything but the book he’s supposed to be writing regularly, ironically), and this issue is a space adventure that puts the focus squarely on father and son. The issue opens with Clark taking Jon to the Fortress of Solitude. Jon is geeking out as he always does, but it’s a somber occasion – it’s the anniversary of Krypton’s destruction, and Clark attained a recording of the moment from his travels with Booster. Superman watching the destruction of Krypton with his son maybe feels a bit…Batmanesque, but I’ll roll with it.
However, before they can reflect, there’s another new development – Superman’s sensors have picked up another planet about to detonate in the same way Krypton did, and what was supposed to be a memorial turns into a rescue mission. My favorite part of Jon’s presence in the Super-books is the way things that are normal for Superman – going into space, for instance – are new for Jon. However, the rescue mission soon takes a sinister turn when it becomes clear that the planet is full of religious fanatics, more willing to die than to abandon their planet. We’ve seen elements of this with the Molians in Green Lanterns, but these are less passive, more hateful. Not only do they refuse Superman’s help, but they sentence him to death for heresy and begin weakening his powers with magic. Fortunately, there’s one scientist on the planet willing to help. It’s not a standout issue, but it does hit most of the intended points and I actually enjoyed it more than quite a few of the arcs by the main creators.
Corrina: As a Superman & Son solo story, this works quite well and reminded me that, once upon a time, Robinson was excellent with fathers and sons (Starman) and with young adventurers (Leave It to Chance.) This isn’t quite up to the level of Robinson’s previous works but it’s a solid read, especially for the younger kids who might be drawn to the story because of Jon.
However, I have to point out that it is bad parenting technique to leave one’s partner out of critical decision making. This “we won’t tell Mom” business between Superman and son ignores the fact, yet again, that Jon has two parents and Lois’ role as a parent should be more than holding back her son. Also, it’s just bad form to take a kid into a dangerous situation without the other parent being informed.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.