Superman #41 – James Robinson, Writer; Ed Benes, Artist; Dinei Ribeiro, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: James Robinson’s other DC title at the moment has been subject to some very critical words from us here at GeekDad, but surprisingly, his two-issue run on Superman has worked really well for me.
Ultimately a philosophical story about fate, faith, and what it means to truly survive, the setup the last issue found Superman and Superboy traveling to a planet that was about to meet the same fate as Krypton. There, they found a world ruled by a devout cult that believed their God wanted them to die with their world and one persecuted scientist that was desperate to preserve his species. Superman and this scientist, Klein, form a quick bond as they make a tight escape to his secret lab as the leadership pursues them. There it becomes clear what Klain’s plan actually is – he knows it’s too late to convince his planet to evacuate, but it’s not too late to save his species.
He and his late wife (murdered in the anti-science purges) had a remaining egg clutch that is due to hatch soon, and he plans to take it to a safe planet where he can ensure they grow up safely. But before he can escape, the lab is breached, Klain is shot, and the rocket he was planning to use is destroyed. After Klain dies, Superman sends Jon to flee the world with the eggs while he makes one final stand against the religious leadership. This segment is the issue’s best, as Superman’s compassion and understanding meet an immovable force – religious fervor. He doesn’t win the cultists over to his point of view, but he does earn their respect before they go, as he’s forced to leave them to the fate they’ve chosen with eyes wide open. The final segment, as Clark and Jon decompress from the tragedy they’ve just witnessed, shows why Superman works so well as a father. It’s not going to be an immediate classic, but this is a very solid Superman story.
Corrina: This is the type of James Robinson story that I enjoy reading. (I have no idea why his Wonder Woman run is so awful.)
At first, I was wondering why Superman might traumatize Jon by showing him a whole inhabited planet that explodes. Of course, Superman hoped to save the people on the planet, so that’s part of it. But Jon is possessed of powers that could easily be misused. Perhaps it’s never too early to show him that how and why he chooses to use his power will define him. (And, yes, Superman works very well as a father.)
As you can see from the above panel, there is also political commentary taking place over these two issues, with the zealots having opposed anything that does not speak to their truth or their god and it’s led to the near-extinction of their species. At first, I thought there might be a twist that showed that they’d deliberately destroyed their planet to be closer to their god but that was too dark a thought for this tale.
Instead, despite the planetary destruction, the story leaves us with hope and a possible future for Klain’s children.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.