Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: Superman #49

Superman #49 came out this week, the latest chapter in The Truth. We know that next month will wrap up this over-arching story arc. And so the Superman books have been sprinting to an ending that I know won't seem meaningful.

And so we have Vandal Savage doing his best to pull the comet which gives him power to Earth to be captured where he can bathe in its rays and become all powerful. At the same time he is trying to rid the world of humanity, leaving only his blood line alive. And to do so, he needs to smash the Stormwatch ship, the JL Watchtower, and the Fortress of Solitude into one ship which can house the comet. He also needs the ship to act as a tractor beam to drag the comet into his trap. And he needs to keep the heroes out of his way.

Superman has regained some powers but it is from Kryptonite. So his powers come at a price. He is dying.

This issue is a tremendous punch-em-up. There is a lot of action. But it all seems like a lot of noise. This arc has lost its way. And I'll be happy when its over.

For me it is most interesting to look back at the beginning of the arcs when The Truth began. We had Wrath making people angry and Metropolis split over its support of Superman. We had Hordr_Root blackmailing people. We had Smallville upended. All of those plots have been altered or erased as we get to this climax.

The art in this issue is done by Jack Herbert and be brings a nice flow to the issue. I definitely miss Howard Porter's pencils. But Herbert brings a sort of fine-lined precision to the affairs.

 Superman forcing Savage's ship to the ground was the big climax in Superman/Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, that moment is made meaningless when the downed ship still uses the tractor beam to grab the comet.

One thing I did like about this issue is that we finally have some Lois sightings. She is there at the site where Superman has crashed Savage's ship. She clearly still cares about Clark. She wants to help. But the only way she can do that is by sending Metallo into the fray.

If #Rebirth gets rid of this Metallo, I'll be happy.

I also have to say that I am completely in the dark about where Clark and Diana are in their relationship.

Did he break it off with her? Are they together again?

I did like that he could recognize the cadence of her punches. It is small details like that which might have made me want to accept the relationship more. But it never seemed real to me.

As the comet approaches Earth, Savage and all his progeny begin to become more powerful. They mutate and gain strength.

Of course, Hordr_Root has no physical body so he gets no added powers. He has the nerve to complain.

I suppose to show how bloodthirsty and unloving Savage is, we see him order Hordr's death. He is killed when struck in the head by a sort of techno-axe.

Goodbye Hordr_Root. We hardly knew ye.

I guess we don't have to worry about his files leaking anymore.

Superman, Wonder Woman, and Metallo try to break into the downed satellite to turn off the tractor beam. Savage sends in his children to stop the heroes. He's immortal and a player. He has a lot of children.

I did like this splash page with Diana saying the wonderfully ludicrous 'here come the kids'.

Luckily, the other heroes on Earth who can (remember the bulk of the League is trapped in the ship and acting as batteries to power Savage's machines) join the fray.

I liked seeing some of the newer characters join in as well. Seeing the wrestlers from Clark's time at MythBrawl and Baka again gave the issue some sense of continuity.

As I said, Lois is sort of on the outside looking in for much of the issue. We see her watching from the sidelines.

But we did get this one awkward interaction between her and Superman face to face. That second panel says so much. He finally knows that Lois has been looking out for him. And that double 'hey', the weird 'we have a lot to talk about but can't know' faces made this my favorite panel in the book.

The battle ends on a sad note when Metallo's body is smashed beyond repair. Knowing he is dying, Metallo asks Superman to take out his heart. The Kryptonite will power Superman more, allowing him to get after Savage.

'Today a half-metal man showed us all what it means to be a hero.' That's a little bit overdramatic but I suppose it gives Metallo a moment. I mean, everyone should look at Superman every day and say 'that's what a hero is'. But we have lost our way.

As much as I have disliked the majority of The Truth, I actually found myself liking this issue a little. It felt sort of like a Michael Bay movie with its wild dialogue and crazy action. Sometimes I don't mind a popcorn movie. I just have to forget why people are doing what they are doing and just roll with the punches and brawls. Add to that the small but powerful Superman/Lois scene, a more complex scene in the midst of the action chaos, made this a sort of rollicking fun issue. And surely, I could use a fun Superman issue.

And, regardless, here comes #Rebirth.

Overall grade: B-


Jay said...

Alright, I'm sold. Make Metallo a recurring anti-hero and potential love interest for Lois Lane. Bring back Kenny Braverman aka Conduit to be the kryptonite-powered villain in Supermans life.

Martin Gray said...

You're right about the dropped plot points. All these ruddy Superman crossovers get derailed. It's almost funny.

At least we finally know what Vandal's plan is. Well, for this issue at least

Hoedr_beetroot could easily come back as a Construct/Kilgoore type, an axe in the head means nothing to their sort. They just hop somewhere else.

Did the Useless Twins ever get names?

Grren said...

" Make Metallo a recurring anti-hero and potential love interest for Lois Lane."
no thanks, he is a psycho and they have zero chemistry.

if the twins have names, I didn't noticed

Jay said...

He's not a psycho in this world, at least not anymore. He came back down to sanity quite some time ago. He's been purposely portrayed as very non-evil ever since. And I would disagree they have zero chemistry. Ever since he was introduced as Lois's "bodyguard" in Batman/Superman, I counted this as just one of the many huge missed opportunities in Truth. I'd love to see that continued as a concept once he gets some more kryptonite.

Martin Gray said...

Last week's Metallo was a tame puppy with very scary teeth, not the brute he was but certainly not someone with whom Lois could ever have a relationship - he's way below her intellectually, and incredibly damaged.

Green said...

Agree with Mr Gray. he could even go out of control and hurt lois. he is not stable emotionally, he doesn't even have a phisical body.
just some shippers trying to pair Lois with any guy that shows up, even with zero chemistry.

Anonymous said...

When did Baka learn to speak English more fluently? Last time he appeared, he could only speak in fragmented sentences but now he can do full English? Without any explanation? There are some things that do need to be explained in comics and this is one of them. As for the issue itself, it wasn't absolutely terrible but it was by no means enjoyable either. The rushed pacing on Savage's meteor/making an army out of his descendants scheme and Yang's shaky handling of all this makes the story all the more disappointing. But that's the downside with event storylines.

As for a certain mini Twitter controversy issue, despite the way the first poster's opinion has been handled somewhat poorly, I don't share it either, Metallo is not someone I would want to see be with Lois instead of Clark. Not only does the pairing lack any chemistry, it was introduced into the New 52 continuity to be set up as something where Lois showed no interest in Corben romantically whatsoever. Not to mention the emotional and psychological stability issues with Metallo, that's not a missed opportunity for Truth or Superman stories, that's a plot point which would not be received well or be told that well.


Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I think this take on Metallo as a sort of protective puppy of Lois has been played out. He's only a head now if I recall which makes him as a prospective love interest even more bizarre.

Anyways, I suppose we'll be seeing a new Metallo soon enough. Maybe they'll do a better version of this one next?

Although I wonder if the Superman/Lois romance is around the #Rebirth corner.

Jay said...

I'm a little confused as to how my opinion was handled "poorly". I mean, its obviously one only I share here and that's more than cool, but I don't get how a passing thought on an idea for a character can be out and out wrong. And it has nothing to do with Lois and Clark. When it comes to them, I don't really veil my feelings. I've straight out said before I don't want the two back together and still don't, its not even close to getting un-stale yet. But that's besides the point in this case. I just happened to like the interaction between her and John and was intrigued with the idea of a Metallo who wasn't an out and out villain this time. That's all. Seems kind of odd that I have to defend that. Anyway, cheers.

Anj said...

Not sure if this is based on my comment Jay. If so, I'm sorry!

I am glad you comment here so I can hear some differing views. I love the discussion around comics.


Jay said...

Not at all Anj, what I was referring to had been read up above in the earlier comments. And even then its nothing I'm upset about, it was just a little puzzling. All in all I'm quite comfortbale with the fact my opinions in regards to Lois and Clark aren't quite in sync with a lot of people here. I still enjoy reading everyone's thoughts though. Sometimes you're in the majority and sometimes you're in the minority. No big! :)