Superman #7 came out this week and was a truly delightful issue by plotters Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason with pitch perfect art by Jorge Jimenez. There was a wonderfully retro feel to this issue which thrilled me. I grew up in a time where every so often titles were allowed an issue to take a breath and showcase the characters without pushing plots forward. Whether it was 'a day in the life' or some rest issue tying up a small subplot, it was a nice way to get me back in touch with the characters and why I loved them.
And this issue serves that up on a silver platter. After showing the reader that Superman has been quite busy now that he has gone public with his existence, the creators send the family to the county fair. And hilarity and hijinks ensue. And within that is this breezy, completely natural relationship between Lois and Clark, one of the real draws of this title for me.
That isn't to say that we don't get some plot progression. We are introduced to some new characters who will either be supporting cast here or in the upcoming Super-Sons book. And we see where Clark or Lois might be employed soon.
But it is really these quiet scenes of carnival games and prize cows that struck me as showing just how good these folks are, super-powered or otherwise.
As I said, Jorge Jimenez is on art here and just shines with a semi-stylized look that is close enough to Gleason to give the book a consistent feel. I loved Jimenez' stuff in Smallville. He really shines.
The book opens with a nice montage of Superman rescuing a satellite and helping out the other heroes in the Justice League. Each hero says thanks for the assist ... except Batman who doesn't want help. It is a nice sequence which gives Jimenez a chance to show off his super-hero chops before we head to the carnival.
But the ending of that opening sequence was what really sparkled for me. A weary Superman, tired from the events of the night, sits on a roof with his head down. But then, he looks up to see it is morning and smiles. That look shows he thinks it is a good morning. No regret for his toils. Things are looking up.
Flying back to the homestead, Clark agrees to forego his usual night of heroics to join Lois and Jon at the County Fair. He'll take the night off to spend with his family.
Lois can't believe that Clark will take a night off from 'Superman-ing' but Clark insists. And to prove it, he gives Lois his cape.
I adore the expression on Lois' face. She's heard this all before. She is appropriately skeptical.
And then we head to the fair. Early on we see that a couple of goons are planning to rob the ticket booth. So we know that some heroics will eventually happen. But first we just get to see the Super-Family interact with their neighbors and community.
We see Kathy, the young friend and confidante of Jon. She asks him to come by later to see her cow in the Blue Ribbon contest. When Jon tries to back out (in a rather rude way), Lois corrects him and says they wouldn't miss it.
It is a nice mother/son moment with Lois teaching Jon a lesson in politeness and civility.
I do wonder if Jon and Kathy will have a Clark/Lana style childhood romance. She winks at him and compliments his glasses. Cute.
At the fair, we meet Tony Martinez, Jon's science teacher at school.
He seems like a nice guy, dedicated to the kids. And his description of Jon is spot on. A daydreamer. But respectful.
Will Martinez be a part of this book? Or Super-Sons? He is basically given a page of introduction. So I have to assume he has some role to play.
And then Lois and Clark decide to try and find a job. Why not write for the Hamilton Horn? It's a far cry from the Planet. But it's work.
I do love how Lois and Clark both reply with the 'um, not really' in unison. Something cute about that.
I will say that it is hard to believe that no one here recognizes Lois and Clark as the famous Lois and Clark. The pictures of the Metropolis pair have been all over major news outlets since The Truth. Surely someone looks at 'Lois and Clark' Smith and sees the resemblance.
But then again, this Lois and Clark are supposed to be older, right? Not just doubles but at least 10 years older by #Rebirth math?
I was very happy to see Tomasi and Gleason have Clark apologize to Mr Branden. You may remember Clark basically yelling at him back in the second issue. Of course, Jon was badly hurt so maybe Mr. Branden could just let it pass as a moment of stress. Still, it was nice to see Clark take the high road and ask for some forgiveness.
In this scene we also meet Doc Brooks, the county pediatrician. Mr. Branden had told Brooks about Jon's accident and the physician seems a little intrigued that the Smiths never sought medical attention and that Jon seems fine.
I wonder if Dr. Brooks will be some sort of quasi-villain in the Super-Sons book, the adult constantly trying to out Jon as being Superboy. Again, he is given a big introductory panel so I hope he has some role to play.
In the middle of the issue, Clark gets wind of the upcoming heist and when the time is right, steps out to foil them. This is pure Bronze Age goodness, Clark feigning abdominal distress so he can disappear for a few moments. I just absolutely love it. It is a simple little nod to Superman's 75 years of history that felt classic. But this is so silly, I can't remember the last time I actually saw this ploy in a new comic.
But remember, Clark doesn't have his cape. So we see him eyeing the one on sale at the Medieval fairgrounds.
In a nice touch, we never even see him stop the crooks.
Instead we only hear about it over the fairground speakers (accidentally left on). A caped figure with heat vision stopped the robbers. But he was wearing a 'medieval cape' so people assumed it was Batman. As this story gets told over the speakers, we see Lois' face become more irked (great stuff by Jimenez). She knew the lactose intolerant bit was a fib. And when she hears about the anonymous hero, she knows Clark broke his promise.
After the Eradicator story filled with genetic cleansing, anguished souls, and pet deaths, I needed this palate cleanser. There was a wonderful sense of joy to this story, the simple happiness of Superman, here to help. But it is the interaction between the family members that I find heartwarming. From Clark telling Lois how much he loves her, to Lois teach Jon manners, to the parents meeting the townpeople, this all worked beautifully. And what better title than 'Our Town', hearkening back to the slice of life play by Thronton Wilder. It felt like a mix of 'The Private Life of Clark Kent', 'Mr. and Mrs. Superman', and 'Superboy' tales from Superman Family. High praise indeed.
I have said it since the beginning of #Rebirth. I am really thrilled with the state of the Superman books these days. And this issue was another brick in that wall of happiness.