Written by Geoff Johns, Art by John Romita Jr.
I would like to preface this review by saying that I am not much of a Superman fan. I have nothing against the Man of Steel, but I don’t often find myself being drawn into his stories. However, when I discovered that Superman was being written by Geoff Johns with art by John Romita Jr., I found myself compelled to start reading.
Aside from being one of the more prolific writers in modern comics, Geoff Johns is also one of the best. Quite honestly, for him to get me to care about a Superman book, he really has to be. This is now the fourth issue that Johns and Romita have done and though not the strongest so far, it’s still a solid issue. So far Superman has been introduced to and teamed up with a man who goes by Ulysses, who has powers similar to that of Superman and has a backstory that takes quite a bit from the Superman mythos. While enjoyable, issue 35 has unfortunately hit on several clichés, some that are easily recognizable from Johns’ ten year run on Green Lantern. Though he lacks the same megalomania, Ulysses is beginning to show the same “order through control” mindset that so often characterizes Sinestro. One particular scene has Ulysses asking Superman the age-old question of why he doesn’t just force the people of Earth to be peaceful. Unfortunately Superman doesn’t have much of an answer. What Johns does very well, though, is the dialogue between supporting characters. The back and forth between Lois Lane and Perry White is believable, while the slight jabs and cuts the other reporters take at one another are the kind of thing I would expect in such a competitive field.
While this may not have been Johns’ strongest issue, Romita Jr. showed no signs of slacking off. It’s no secret that talking heads are not Romita Jr.’s strong suit, but thankfully this issue has plenty of action as well. Romita Jr. also does a great job of conveying the effects of weather and water in general. This issue in particular has an amazing two page spread of Superman and Ulysses lifting a cargo ship out of the water from beneath and the water is just pouring off of them in spectacular fashion. It also demonstrates that while the lift is well within Superman’s abilities, it isn’t an easy matter for him. The effort required is plainly visible on the faces of both men. It is quite obvious that Romita Jr. takes his art cues less from his father, and more from Jack Kirby. There are multiple pages that are filled with Kirby inspired backgrounds and technology.
Although Superman has never been a part of my regular reading list, as long as this team is working on it, I will be checking it out. I’m excited to see where the story will go next. 3.5/5 Death Stars.