With the wrap-up of Supergirl's 2014 behind us, it's back to business as usual. And that means finishing last week's reviews. In some ways, it is okay as only a handful of comics came out yesterday, and none on my list.
Superman #37 continued the Ulysses storyline from megastar team of Geoff Johns, John Romita, Jr, and Klais Janson. I have been waiting for this story to move forward and Johns does just that here. We finally learn something about Klerik, the Great World, and Ulysses. And what I found most interesting was the continued similar aspects of Ulysses origin to Superman's ... and more importantly this issue, the differences.
I don't know if the pacing completely works here. It feels like we took babysteps for several issues and then one giant leap this one. But at least there is movement.
As usual, Romita Jr's art is fine here. I don't pause to pore over the art like I do when it really crackles. And, as per the usual of this arc, there are too many splash pages.
Last issue ended with Ulysses defeating Superman. This one opens with Superman captured and on the main ship from the Great World.
Despite what seems to be a 'victory', Klerik lays out Ulysses.
We learn that Klerik is Ulysses' adoptive father in the Great World. And when Ulysses tells his father that Superman will be returned to Earth, Klerik is unhappy.
We have seen plenty of similarities between Superman and Ulysses origins. Here we see a different. Klerik isn't Pa Kent. He isn't supportive. He doesn't teach to help people. No wonder Ulysses is broken. He is in an abusive relationship.
The defeat of Klerik in the first part of this arc, the befriending of Superman ... all a ruse to get Superman to trust Ulysses and therefore to get the world to trust Ulysses.
It is clear these 6 million humans aren't going to the Great World for paradise. And Ulysses couldn't care less about their fate. He is disgusted about humanity. He is disgusted about his own humanity.
So again we see another difference between Ulysses and Superman. Superman isn't human but he does embrace Earth as his home; he sees the best in humanity. Ulysses is human and considers himself above us.
We learn that the 6 million humans will simple be broken down into bioenergy to power everything in the Great World for a decade - the tech, the citizens, everything.
Ulysses is basically a herald of Galactus. He goes to a planet, lures a section of the populace to the Great World, and then uses them as fuel. He is a mass murderer. And that is about as far away from Superman as you can get.
All that changes when Ulysses learns that his parents have sneaked on board as 2 of the 6 million.
Just like that a sort of smugness melts away. Now he'll do anything to save his folks.
And Superman uses that to try to nudge Ulysses all the way. If the Great World is dying, why not save everyone ... EVERYONE ... by bringing them back to Earth. The human captives and the citizens of the Great World ... everyone can be saved even if the Great World dies.
It is sort of like Krypton. This is a chance to save everyone! To use transport ships, like Jor-El wanted to, to save a planet.
But it does show just how callous Ulysses is. The fate of 5,999,998 humans ... who cares? His parents? Time to turn his back on his adopted world.
Unfortunately, it all goes awry.
The human transports are successfully sent home. But the energy needed to do that makes the Great World's unstable core go critical. The Great World dies.
It is interesting that the denizens of the Great World were sort of like the Science Council on Krypton. Rather than figure out a peaceful way to save themselves, they ignore the problem. In fact, they are even worse, willing to kill others to maintain their world.
Man, does anything scream 'Krypton analogue' like this panel? Here Superman is rocketing Ulysses away from the exploding planet.
So should Superman feel somehow partly responsible for this world's death? I'm trying to wrap my brain around that.
Ulysses seems to think so. And this is the cliffhanger, heading into next month's finale.
At least I feel like we are at a point where things can come to a conclusion next issue. But that is because we sprinted here. After months of slowly peeling away Ulysses, we rush to the conclusions about the Great World. And we never really see enough of it to recognize it as paradise. Even the two-page splash by Romita showing it feels more like fancy apartment complexes.
I will admit that the contrast of Ulysses to Superman, with all the similarities and differences, is very interesting. Ulysses is the Superman story gone wrong. I think it is this comparison that is the backbone of the story. And that is saving this story.
I miss the Daily Planet crew. We don't see the 'father' watching Superman. And despite the plot progression, the whole issue reads very fast with the splash pages and huge panels. I wonder if this would read better in trade form?