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.
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.
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-