Superman: Red and Blue #6 – Sophie Campbell, Matt Wagner, Tom King, Darcie Little Badger, Rex Ogle, Writers; Sophie Campbell, Matt Wagner, Paolo Rivera, Steve Pugh, Mike Norton, Artists; Brennan Wagner, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The final issue of this anthology brings an eclectic collection of creative teams—but how do they hold up against the earlier issues?
First up is Sophie Campbell pulling double duty on “Hissy Fit.” As the title gives away, it’s a Streaky story! Krypto’s had quite a few spotlights here, so it’s good to see Superman’s more ill-tempered pet get a day in the sun. As Superman and Supergirl box up the Fortress for a move to a more secure location, Streaky isn’t happy with change. And when the cat carrier comes out, all hell breaks loose. This is a silent story, with some amazing body language and a sweet ending. Streaky is, after all, just a cat. Also, Campbell’s Kara is gorgeous—can she draw her more often?
Next up is comic book legend Matt Wagner, pulling double duty on “The Scoop.” With a focus on Clark Kent the journalist, it’s a retro story clearly set in the Golden Age. Wagner delivers an interesting look at how Clark often finds himself overshadowed by himself—as he reports on critical issues in Metropolis, it’s Superman who winds up on the front page. It’s surprisingly cynical and downbeat at times for a Superman story, but the ending does a good job of showing just how Clark eventually came to the journalistic equilibrium he’s famous for.
Next at bat are Tom King and Paolo Rivera with “The Special.” It starts with a toddler Clark Kent visiting a diner with his adoptive parents, When the waitress drops her tray, Clark sees Jonathan and Martha respond with kindness—and it kick-starts a lifelong bond. We see Clark’s entire life play out as a series of visits to the diner, from him as a young boy to his current life as a married father, as he shares his joys and pains with the aging waitress. This is King at his best, showing us our heroes at their most human and vulnerable, sometimes through the most unlikely eyes.
“Son of Farmers” by Darcie Little Badger and Steve Pugh, is a good example of how a story can be very simple and still pack a great emotional punch. It starts by showing the way the Kents showed Clark how to be gentle with the land and treat all living things with kindness, and how it influenced his vow never to take a life. That then plays out in his life as Superman, ending with him saving a life in an unexpected way as Clark Kent. It’s great to see the very talented Little Badger debut at DC as well.
Finally, closing out the series it’s Rex Ogle and Mike Norton on “Ally.” It’s a very different story, showing us Superman through the eyes of a teenage boy who is struggling to come out to his family. He wonders if there’s anything wrong with hiding who he is—until he sees Superman make the decision to reveal his own identity to the world. It’s a short story, but it delivers a fantastic message that is more relevant than ever, and the creative team realizes the visual shift brilliantly.
It’s five more excellent stories as we close out this run. I’m hoping we get a second volume down the line.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.