Superman #31 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Sean Lewis, Writers; Scott Godlewski/Norm Rapmund, Sami Basri, Artists; Gabe Eltaeb, Ulises Arreola, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: As we now know, Johnson’s run on this title will be coming to an end soon (although he’ll be continuing with Kal-El over in Action). So this arc is as much about setting up Jon Kent as the new Superman of Earth, and the main story here does an excellent job. Jon is accompanying his father to an alien planet where Clark fought a brutal battle years back and casts a long shadow—but the planet has fallen prey to a dark, subversive, and invisible enemy. This is one of the most horror-accented Superman stories we’ve seen in a while, with alien ghosts lurking around every corner and every ally possibly being an enemy—even the most meek and unassuming, as our heroes find out.
There are a lot of strong little details here, such as the fact that Jon seems to have found a new way to use his heat vision. It’s an interesting look at how different upbringings and experiences—Jon’s time in space and in the future, for instance—might create a different type of hero. Superman’s possibly final battle against these shadow creatures is far more intense and claustrophobic than we usually see in a Superman book, and the end of the issue seems to set up Jon coming out of his father’s shadow. Scott Godlewski’s art is also particularly strong this issue, combining strong designs for the two Supermen with a dark, creepy, and genuinely alien tone that sets the mood perfectly.
Then there’s the backup, which focuses on some more obscure Metropolis heroes. We’ve got a new Guardian—a young, violent woman following in the footsteps of her relative—alongside the mutated vigilante Loose Cannon, an odd holdover from the obscure Bloodlines story that most notably created Hitman. The two volatile heroes quickly come to odds over Gangbuster’s treatment of a criminal, and this results in a brutal brawl in the Ace of Clubs. Of course, our new villain might have something to do with this as well. This backup is mostly an anthology, but there are some interesting ongoing plots running through it.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.