Friday, November 13, 2020

Review: Superman #27

Superman #27 came out this week and was another example of why I will be missing Brian Michael Bendis when he is off the super-titles. Throughout his run, we have seen Superman as a symbol of hope and goodness and this issue is a perfect example of that. You want to root for this Superman. You want to be this Superman. 

All that characterization is folded into the Synmar Utopica storyline. While this arc is an interesting way to compare and contrast the concept of super-men analogues, I haven't warmed up to the Synmar character yet. I don't quite understand his motives. I don't understand his powers. I don't know what happened in the conclave of his people that spurred this whole thing on. (Although I have a theory I will share at the end.)

I have complimented Ivan Reis and Danny Miki before on their art on the title. But they continue to stun me. This is a crazy issue in choatic dimensions and alien environments. This is a slugfest. And then in the middle we have a quiet scene between Lois and Lana. It all just sizzles on the page. Once again, I have to mention Alex Sinclair's colors. Synmar is vibrant. His halo energies dazzling. And there is one sequence of space travel which is just brilliant.

Just one more month. Will this all get wrapped up?

On to the book.

Last issue we got a splash page of Superman falling away from Synmar's hands. Here we open with Synmar closing in on Superman's outstretched arms. Whether it has been globes or Daily Planet tweets or action poses, Bendis and the art teams have done a nice job of giving us thematic opening pages to settle us in.

But the concept here is sound. Yes, Superman knows there is evil out there in the universe. (He mentions the people he hits ... Luthor, Brainiac, Mongul .. as examples.) But usually what is perceived as evil comes from a place of pain or misunderstanding.

Even though Synmar is incredibly powerful and probably capable of killing Superman, our hero wants to understand and help. 

That's the Superman we need. Heck, that's the Supergirl we need.

As if to prove the point, Xa-Du shows up. We are in the Phantom Zone. Unlike the pain Superman is perceiving in Synmar, he calls Xa-Du a monster. There is evil out there. And you have to stop it.

And to prove another point, we see Synmar take out Xa-Du with one shot. Superman has skirmished long and hard with the Phantom King. We know can gauge Synmar's power level. Impressive.

We break away to see that Lana has popped over to Lois' place.

It is an interesting interaction for a couple of reasons. One, this hug seems a bit forward. I do like how Lois assumes Lana is there for Clark and not her ... or not them. Hm.

But the best thing was the 'how long has it been' question. Is the Superwoman book in continuity any more? Is it unclear how long it has been because of the odd ripples in time/space (as seen in Young Justice)?

But Lana is there because Clark said something to her in their interview that struck her deeply. She is wide-eyed. It seems like she is shuddering. That's weird. What could he have said?

And then Lois produces the book she has been writing. Remember when she didn't live with Clark and couldn't tell him what she was writing about and that opened up the can of worms of her 'cheating' on Clark? Looks like we will finally have closure to that.

With that side bar over, we are back in the Phantom Zone.

Despite being nearly overwhelmed by Synmar, Superman is still trying to communicate.

Our hero basically stops and refuses to fight. He feels pain in Synmar, as if Utopica blames Superman for something. 

And for a second it seems to work. Synmar pauses. 

But it is just a pause. 

Hmmm ... seems like there is a lot of anger in there. More on this later.

To Superman, it seems like he has to get to the root of the issue ... meaning he needs to find out why Synmar has traveled this far. So he opens up the Phantom Zone away from Earth.

This is my favorite panel of the whole book.

When Xa-Du tries to escape, Superman grabs him and chucks him back into the Zone. But you feel the sudden stop of Xa-Du, the tug on his cape, and you see Superman is already in pitching form to toss the villain back.

I love this panel!

Somehow, Superman communicates he is willing to follow Synmar to Synmar's world. Despite pleas from Kelex to not do this Superman does break all the barriers and flies off.

I mean, there are a bunch of unknowns. Fly into a red sun area and die. Fly into an army of Synmar's and die. How will he get back?

So is this the right thing to do?

I can see how Superman has to solve this problem and since he can't do that here, I guess he has no choice.

Sure enough, Synmar's system has an orange sun.

Superman's powers are off. He feels flu-ish and tingly. He is unsure if he can control himself.

 It's not the first time Superman has felt all tingly under an orange sun. But, then again, Luma Lynai has that effect on people. 

 An orange sun just weakened Supergirl when she was under it in Superman Family.

In that system, Synmar can now speak. He tells Superman that he is glad the Kryptonian has surrendered and that punishment will proceed.

Hmmm .... who is handing out that punishment?

We know that Synmar's collective was attacked and seem dead. 

We know that Utopica had issues with his role in the Synmar society and felt he had done wrongs. 

We know that when his Queen died she said that she assumed Utopica was their Superman but was wrong. 

I had assumed she said that because he had failed to protect them. But now I think I am wrong.

I think he killed them all. 

He snapped. Went into a fugue state of rage. We have seen that. He was upset with what he has become. Remember they placed that mantle of super-soldier on him. And realizing that he couldn't live up to the name/ideal of Superman, he transferred his anger on the Man of Steel. 

So he attacks.

No one is on that planet to hand out a punishment. This is delusion. 

We'll see if I am right. We know how other guesses of mine have turned out.

But how great to see this inspirational Superman talk about always looking for a non-violent solution. And we finally get Lois' book!

And the art is simply scrumptious.

Overall grade: A

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

This was indeed another top issue, I just love Bendis’s Superman more and more, and Reis and Miki really capture this characterisation.

Interesting thoughts about Lois’s book. I read Lana’s comment about enjoying her book ‘last year’ as referring to the book about being married to Superman, but you have to be right, the timescale of the Bendis run wouldn’t allow that. Good! I also want to know what the heck Lois wrote!