Superman ‘78 #4 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Wilfredo Torres, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Robert Venditti quietly wrote some of the best Superman stories in recent years for DC’s digital line, so it’s not a surprise he continues to hit it out of the park in this retro miniseries. What is a surprise is just how seamlessly he and artist Wilfredo Torres fit into the era of the Reeve/Kidder/Hackman Superman while also breaking new ground. When we last left off, Superman had willingly sacrificed himself to Brainiac and found himself in Kandor, only to be reunited with his birth parents. A brief flashback shows Brainiac’s past and makes him a more tragic figure than many versions do, while still keeping him as a terrifying force of nature. In Kandor, Superman becomes an icon to the bottled city and is even elevated to the science council as Jor-El chooses to retire. But even as accepted as he is in his new home, it’s clear he doesn’t belong there and he strives against the city’s chains.
On Earth, Lois has cut a devil’s bargain with Luthor as the criminal mastermind claims to be able to locate Kandor and communicate with Superman. I’m usually not a fan of the crazier takes on Luthor, as I prefer his more coldblooded businessman characterizations. Here, though, he’s hilarious—a complete wild card whose ego is so big that it overwhelms everything, even his own sense of self-preservation. Not only doesn’t he care if he attracts Brainiac’s attention, he’s looking forward to it because he wants a rematch. The last act of this issue is incredibly tense, upping the scale of this adventure and bringing the two worlds closer together. With only two issues to go, it feels like the pace is just about perfect. We’re heading into a spectacular last act that feels a lot like the structure of a major Hollywood movie. This generation of actors has passed, obviously, but it feels like WB could take a lot of notes from this for the next Superman film.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.