Friday, August 18, 2023

Review: Knight Terrors: Superman #2

Knight Terrors: Superman #2 came out this week and was a fantastic story for fans of  the super-family. In particular, this issue really did a great job showing how close Superman and Supergirl are, at least in writer Joshua Williamson's mind. To see the super-cousins working together, talking to each other like colleagues, and saving the day. There's even some fun Lois moments. And Aquaman and Mera are the real heroes!

As I have said recently, the last year has been wonderful for me as a Supergirl fan. The bad taste that Tom King's Woman of Tomorrow mini-series has sort of been cleansed from my psyche by Joshua Williamson and Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Kara often seems wiser beyond her years, 'the smartest person in the room', and a fierce fighter of injustice. We get a ton of that here, as I'll show. But there is an unfortunate downside to all this upside ... more on that later.

The art by Tom Reilly works well with the story. There is something rough and ready with the art which amps up the nightmarish parts of the story. It has the feel of Chris Samnee, very much a compliment. I love his take on all the Supergirl variant zombies. The cover by Gleb Melnikov works well with the cousins getting ready to throw down.

I don't know if I needed Knight Terrors as an event. It makes little sense overall. But the two Superman mini-series have really utilized this little break to explore the characters and their motivations in a way that can only help the main titles. I enjoyed this a lot, especially as a Supergirl fan. 

On to some details.

We start on Krypton where Kara is being brought to a dig site by her father Zor-El. Zor-El says learning from the past helps guide people in the present and future. Unfortunately this skeleton comes to life and kills Zor-El in front of his daughter.

There is a lot to unpack, even from these early pages.

One, I am a fan of the noble and loving Zor-El in Supergirl's past. This is a character that hasn't really been treated well since the New 52 and even in Rebirth. In the New 52 he was pretty nefarious. In Rebirth, he became the Cyborg Superman. Looks like that stuff is gone.

Plus, look at those remains. That looks a lot like Doomsday. We know a Doomsday special is happening. But I wonder if this is a seed and that Doomsday is going to have some role in the upcoming books.

What I love is that Supergirl sees right through this whole thing, recognizing that this is a nightmare or a fake-out. She has powers. She remembers where she was. 

And then the Supergirl variant zombies show up. 

A smart, capable Kara. Yes!

That catches us up to the end of last issue where Supergirl crashed into Superman's nightmare, bringing her copies with her. Love Reilly's art here. The zombies cover so many of Kara's eras and are horrific. 

I share this only because I love Supergirl calling Superman 'cuz'. It is such a familiar and loving term.

These two should be close like this. Love it. 

In the real world, it turns out the Atlanteans aren't effected by Insomnia. So the Aqua-family is actually able to help keep everyone safe.

They bring Superman to Supercorp and hook him up to some medical equipment.

I like Aquaman's take on why Superman would join Lex at Supercorp. Only Supes thinks he could bear the weight of the challenge.

This is Aquaman talking! Love the respect he has for Superman. 

The nightmare landscape for the cousins continues to morph and at one point they end up in Metropolis in the time of the old West. Superman is worried that he doesn't know enough about Metropolis in the times of Marilyn Moonlight. 

Another great moment as Kara looks a bit stunned that Superman's nightmares are that he doesn't know everything. Hers included her father being killed and zombie versions of herself. His is lack of knowledge.

I really like Reilly's art. You can see the concern on Superman's face here. There is almost a Toth-ian level of economy of lines with incredible visual information given. 

The scene continues to flip ... the old West to Kent farm to the field of skulls from last issue to the Fortress to Metropolis. The two talk about the nightmares including the message that Superman sometimes won't be able to help. 

But why Supergirl zombies and variants for Kara? Maybe she is trying to build an identity on Earth. But she knows who she is. She knows ... bolded.

It is a great moment. This Supergirl has been buffeted a bit by DC recently, without a clear vision of who she is, where she is going, what her personality is. This last year really seemed to clear all that up with her small moments in the Superman books. This moment seemed to be a declaration that she knows and therefore we know.


Except ... 

We have an upcoming Supergirl Special where the solicit says "Her identity and role are both in question as she looks for answers. Will they lead her out of the city or out of this world?"

Seriously. How can we get such two vastly different takes on the character?? And why didn't Williamson and Johnson tell the section editor that the conceit of this Special makes no sense?

Moving on.

We slip into Lois' nightmare where she is being tormented by a monster made of blank paper! I love it. Perhaps her fear is writer's block??

In the end, the main nightmare, that Superman from the end of time who looked like Death shows up. But Superman leans into Zor-El's lesson and defeats the thing.

Zor-El, Supergirl's father, gave some wisdom a la Pa Kent to save the day.

So cool. 

I have completely glossed over Aquaman and Mera defeating a blood demon and maybe figuring out how to wake everyone up.

But there is an interesting last couple of panels hinting that someone scanned in the Hall of Justice (we don't know who) may be harboring some Brainiac tech. 

Between this 2 issue mini-series and the recent Superman Annual 2023, I have a very good feel for what Joshua Williamson thinks of Superman and his supporting cast. I think he gets it. I love how Supergirl has been treated in this book. I like how he used both to sow some future seeds. 

Tom Reilly's art has some grit and worked beautifully here. Sign him up for a street level book!


Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Terrific review of a marvellous comic book. I also loved the cousinly camaraderie, and Kara’s sense of self. I hope DC cancel this upcoming Supergirl ‘Special’ and commission something worthy of one of comics’ greatest heroines.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

I loved the part where Kara tells Superman that they should remember the past but not let themselves be ruled by it. As for the upcoming Supergirl Special, the just released solicits for December make it clear that she is still in Metropolis for Beast Wars while Power Girl is no longer there which I suspect means that she hasn't abandoned the Super Family or her determination to be a hero.

Bostondreams said...

I wonder if the Doomsday skeleton on Krypton is a callback to that long ago miniseries that looked at Doomsday's origin, and that ultimately, Doomsday was an ancient and brutal Kryptonian experiment.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments!

Yes, glad the SG is still in Metropolis in Beast Wars (an event that seems needless).

Doomsday being a Kryptonian experiment is still in continuity, right?

And I do hope DC shores up the SG characterization to something consistent and good.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Rao Forbid Supergirl shouls take it into Her Head that She is Kal El's equal or anything. It seems whenever that happens we get a doubl dose of "Miserable Insecure, Poor Judgement, Barnacle on Power Girl's hull Supergirl"...