Comic Review – Superman #38

: Geoff Johns
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Jensen
Colors: Laura Martin, Ulises Arreloa, Dan Brown, and Wil Quintana
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: 2/4/15

Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.’s first arc on Superman comes to a close in an extra sized finale. With the Great World in ruins, and Ulysses finally pushed off the deep end, can Superman save the day? With a new costume and a new power to debut in this issue, he better!


Superman 38 coverWith The Great World (can a world that survives on literally killing six million people from other worlds to fuel its core really be called great?) now space rocks, Ulysses has snapped and is out to not only kill Superman, but the Earth as well. Superman’s desperate attempt to prevent the destruction of the planet leads him to manifest a new power: a solar flare (or “Super Flare.”)  Think a full body version of his heat ray vision that really packs an atom bomb-sized punch. After being rescued by Batman, we realize that this new ability has one major drawback: it depletes all the solar energy in Superman’s body, rendering him human for 24 hours. This is not the only status-quo changing moment, but you’ll have to see that other moment for yourself.

Johns must be relishing being back on a solo Superman title, because this arc has jumped from one exciting moment to the next. Not only does the script give some great action packed sequences; it also has touching small moments, such as Superman speaking to the crowd about the false promises of The Great World versus finding hope among each other. He also does a great job of depicting Superman and Batman’s friendship, as well as a certain other major reveal. He also brings Clark back to the Planet, thus reversing his controversial departure from the famed paper (though for good reasons at the Superman 38 interiortime.)

While Johns is creating a new status quo, he isn’t afraid to reverse some of the previous changes. And this new power, while amazingly powerful, it also creates new challenges for Superman.  While this builds upon previous ideas of Superman being a solar battery, it’s nice to see it reconfirmed, showing that even the Man of Steel has his limits.

Romita does an excellent job with action sequences and with the scenes in the Batcave, but his facial expressions have mixed results. Either the noses are too big, or the proportions of the face are off. Admittedly, Romita’s art has both its supporters and detractors, but it feels a bit like he wasn’t at his best when drawing this issue. However, his pencils are still crisp, and he handles the characters with aplomb. Jensen’s inks are excellent, providing the right contrasts and shadows. And with four colorists on this issue, the book is incredibly vibrant.  You can’t tell there were numerous people handling the colors. While the art does try to match the story, certain proportions and facial structures are off. As for the costume, you can read the article I linked earlier for my own opinion, but admittedly your own opinion may vary, as there have been numerous reactions to the changes.

Overall, it is a strong conclusion for a title that seriously needed a shot of energy to revitalize itself. Johns and Romita make a terrific team, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. And given that next issue deals with Superman living life as a mere mortal for a day, things will get interesting very quickly.

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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

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