Superman: Up in the Sky #5 – Tom King, Writer; Andy Kubert, Penciller; Sandra Hope, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: The Walmart line of books seems to be a way to test out new creative teams on top characters. Based on Batman Universe, I can safely say Bendis would be a great Batman writer.
I can’t say the same about Tom King on Superman, because Superman: Up in the Sky #5, like the rest of the series, is a rather bizarre and nihilistic story that seems to want to push Superman to his limit without feeling much like a Superman story.
Superman is still on his quest to rescue the little girl from deep space, and that’s led him to Darkseid – who has a twisted offer for him. He wants Superman to break his vow and take an innocent life to prove his loyalty. Superman finds an old alien who is dying of a painful disease and is willing to be the sacrifice for the greater good. The story is vague about what Superman decides. I found the previous story with a similar tone, about an alien sacrificing himself to save Superman’s life, to be powerful. This one, though, leaves it vague whether Superman did something that would likely emotionally destroy him.
That incredibly dark plot point is hanging over the rest of the issue and makes it hard to get into the second story. It doesn’t help that it’s barely a story either, a flashback of someone talking to Superman as he goes about his day. We see him wake up next to Lois, put on his super-suit (no shouts of “Honey? Where is my super-suit?” sadly), and attend Luthor’s trial.
Later that night he has a date with Lois on the moon. It’s all classic Superman scenes – that are then revealed to be his flashbacks as an unseen alien mastermind holds him hostage and makes some sort of an offer to him. It’s clear whatever this is, it’s one of the most powerful villains Superman has ever faced. But with one issue left, it’s still a blank slate.
That’s because this comic often feels less like an anthology and more like a series of non-sequiters designed to torture the Man of Steel. The art is excellent, but the writing style is all wrong for an evergreen Superman story.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.