It’s the dawn of a new arc, somewhat, in Superman #28. After dealing with the Psi War, the Return of Krypton and Parasite trying to eat Lois; you think Superman might want to take a nice vacation. However, crime never stops in Metropolis…and neither do the bills. And things are about to get interesting….
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Lois, fresh out of her coma (and recent one shot), is going on a ride along with Metropolis police officers when they come under fire from a cartel selling a brand new drug (though I doubt it’s the same drug from her aforementioned one shot). When the officers panic, Lois is somehow able to hear their thoughts, and then she screams for everyone to freeze. Strangely enough, the gangsters stop shooting and just stand there…hinting that the Brainiac power that infected Lois all the way back in the Superman annual is still in her and that Parasite didn’t drain it out like he supposedly did last issue. Meanwhile, Superman is investigating a mysterious doorway that appeared in space. In a discussion with his STAR Labs confidant, Dr. Shay, it becomes apparent that moving it would likely destroy the Earth via wormhole. So he flies back to Metropolis only to detect an intruder in his apartment. One quick change back to Clark Kent and he discovers it’s his best friend Jimmy, who last time he checked was secretly rich with his own place. However, Jimmy (who was only in the family penthouse because his parents needed it watched) just wants to be normal and hang with his best bud. Clark, being the good guy that he is, decides to let Jimmy stay. In Washington, Sam Lane, now a Senator, is attacked by a mysterious figure (with a bowler hat) who demands access to the Tower, whatever that is. Back in Metropolis, Cat Grant busts into Clark’s apartment to give him the news that their former boss, Morgan Edge, wants to buy their website. Cat is feeling the heat, as she is used to a more…pampered lifestyle. However, Clark gives her a rousing speech and she decides not to sell. Jimmy, being smarter than he looks, points out that Edge probably wants to buy the website because he wants to shut them down as they are VERY close to a story he doesn’t want told. Later, Clark is at a police precinct to check on Lois and to find out what is going on. As Superman, he tries to interrogate a prisoner from the shootout who hints that he answers to someone with a vendetta against Superman. Unfortunately, the conversation is interrupted by Starfire, who seems to be aware of something that Superman is not….
Writing-wise, this is a fun story. Yes, it is a slow burn as it seems to be setting up for the end of Lobdell’s run (Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. take over the title starting in the summer), but it shows it will be a wild ride that will wrap up several plot strands. Lois here, much like in the one shot, is a seasoned journalist who isn’t afraid of a little danger But Lobdell also shows Lois has a softer side and is scared by the massive power she still contains. Superman/Clark is much more the Big Blue Boy Scout of years past, being a sympathetic friend and partner to Jimmy and Cat respectively. While Cat seems to be a bit quick to change her mood; Jimmy, for a moocher who could pay Clark’s rent for him, is sympathetic as he really wants to be a normal guy and not be the rich playboy we’ve seen him be lately in the DCU. Plus it’s funny to see Jimmy be the voice of reason. However, we keep shifting scenes in this story so fast and introducing new plot points (ie. the mysterious Tower, the doorway, Starfire) just as quickly only to ignore them (mostly) for the bulk of the issue. This is probably due to Lobdell stuffing in as much content as he can in a short time. Also, the scene where we see Senator Lane quickly give into the thrill of power (it’s pretty much blatantly stated he’s in a sexual relationship with his assistant) is kind of creepy. It’s like Lobdell is trying to say “He’s more EVIL than you thought” in neon letters. Sometimes subtlety is better.
As for art…can we first talk about how awesome the front cover looks? It shows Superman’s strength and power. Interior wise, it’s just as great. Booth’s Lois is sexy and tough, Jimmy’s expressions are both hilarious and heartbreaking, Cat is a bouncy ball of energy, and Sam Lane, even in a bathrobe, is menacing. Superman/Clark looks like a pillar of strength and nobility; so much so that a minor quibble of mine is Clark being in a tight t-shirt is bound to set off a reporter’s red flag. He is pretty jacked, though that might be excused as “Oh he grew up on a farm” (On a funny note, Booth on Twitter stated that someone was actually offended about how Clark looked in a tight t-shirt but didn’t raise a stink about Starfire’s outfit). There are some minor quibbles when it comes to the characters, for example the head of Lane’s assistant being at a weird angle. Backgrounds wise, Booth, along with collaborators Norm Rapmund and Andrew Dalhouse, also does wonderful backgrounds ranging from Metropolis’ skyline to the space just above Earth. Plus that mysterious door just looks awesome.
While this installment of Lobdell’s Superman saga is part of a slow burn, it moves at a breakneck pace. The characters are well written, the plot is coming together, and it’s all wrapped up in wonderful art. However, the pace of the book, with constant scene changes, might be too fast; Lobdell might have been trying to cram as much as he could into 22 pages. Plus the cliffhanger ending is a bit over the top; but hey, it’s Superman, that’s allowed.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10