Friday, January 26, 2024

Review: Superman Lost #10

Superman Lost #10 came out this week, ending this mini-series which had a solid main story premise but lost it amidst any number of detours, feints, and confusing subplots. It's a shame. Because that primary plot could have made for a solid 4 issue mini. 

Superman has spent 20 years on a doomed planet and couldn't save it from the divided populace. This world, dubbed Kansas by Superman, is filled with entrenched political sides unwilling to save themselves. Returning home only weeks have past and he is suffering PTSD. How can he come to grips with his life? Give me more of this. Heck, given the premise of the story was set up entirely in the first issue, it could have been a solid 6 issue mini and a decent trade.

Instead, writer Christopher Priest has injected a lot of other side plots. Lois investigating a crooked Senator. Lois asking Lex to help her save Kal and Lex giving her phony cancer. A murderous GL trying to seduce Superman on Kansas and killing an innocent. A side issue where an alternate timeline Superman retells a classic Action Comics tale. All of it sort of wanders about. 

The problem here is that none of these other stories really gel within the main plot well enough for them to bolster the main story. They often felt like a distraction. 

And the overall ending is a little bit underwhelming, a mash of comic book science and a possible misunderstanding of the Superman character.

As usual, the Carlos Pagulayan art is solid but some pages are fill in from Jose Luis Soares Pinto. 

On to some notes.

Last issue, Lois wrapped up the crooked Senator story ... or so I thought. 

But here is the opening page of the book, revisiting that plot point. In it Lois mentions Lazarus and Kierkegaard. She is going to print the story but leave out the affair point about the crime because the man has reconciled.

I still don't know why this is here at all. Did Priest have a decent Lois story and no where to write it? Is the Senator's predicament supposed to somehow resonate with the Superman plot?

Regardless, it felt like it was unnecessary. Maybe I am missing the point. 

Hope the GL, now pregnant, arrives on Earth. 

You might recall she immolated the Jimmy equivalent on Kansas. 

Here she has figured out how to get to Earth and her ring has mapped the way back. Superman can join her in trying to help save the planet!

It seems like bygones are bygones. Superman doesn't ask her about her acts in Superman Lost #6: killing 'Jimmy' or killing 'Victor' or attacking him. 

Before Superman can think about what to do, civil insurrection erupts in Kasnia. 

Superman flies over and basically puts a stop to both sides, chastising them for losing sight of the big picture.

Now this came out of nowhere but at the very least ties into the main plot. Superman just saw a whole planet he called home destroyed because political factions couldn't put aside differences. So it makes sense for him to lash out here, something he doesn't usually do. Give me more of this! Or show me the backlash of his acting as a judge and jury. 

But then, the oddest scene transition happens. At the end of the speech, we hear clapping. 

At the top of the next page we are in Metropolis where Superman is confronting Lex.

How did we get from Kasnia to Metropolis. Extremely confusing.

At least Superman says he mostly tries to avoid provoking Lex, almost not thinking about him. That has to be maddening for Lex.

There is a moment that I very much liked in the book.

Somehow Hope has convinced the entire JLA to help her evacuate Kansas to someplace else. With the sun there now a red giant, Superman would be powerless and so needs to stay home.

But Lois knows he needs closure. If he doesn't help, he'll never be able to let go. She convinces him to go. 

That shows just how much she understands who he is. He, of course, joins his friends.

And now the twist.

The Superman who returns was never lost for 20 years. 

Remember the old Superman from Superman Lost #7 ?  It turns out he was actually the Superman who had been lost for 20 years but from the future. 

The Superman we have been reading about helped save Kansas but then time traveled to put Hope's chart data onto the Superman who first ran into the Contrectio race in Superman Lost #2  creating a new timeline where they send him home immediately.

Let's unravel this a little because it is very very timey-wimey.

The Superman who now returns to Earth never was away for 20 years and never knew Kansas. But Lois does remember that she has lived with a Superman who wore a white suit and knew Victor. I assume months have passed in this book so this new non-lost Superman will wonder what has happened for months in his absence? His JLA friends will tell him of saving a Kansas he never knew?

That sound overly confusing to me.

And this white-suited Superman now buries ... himself? And furthermore, isn't returning to Lois but instead spending the rest of his days in space and abandoning Earth??? He'll spend his days with Hope, the murderer?

That doesn't sound like Superman at all. 

At the very least, we learn Hope procreates via parthenogenesis and the baby isn't a Superman clone but a Szhemi (Jimmy) clone.

This whole thing ended up being a messy read for me. There are parts that worked well for me and others that didn't. There were issues that were solid and issues that weren't. But this last issue was a scattered and ended with a 'it magically didn't happen because of time travel except it sort of did happen since Lois remembers it' which just sort of sank the ending.

As a whole, I think there were some tasty ingredients but there wasn't enough 'egg' to keep this omelet of a mini-series together.

Overall grade: D+


PT Dilloway said...

It sounds messy. Having to use time travel and such to resolve it seems pretty deus ex machina. I was interested in the concept but it doesn't sound like it really works out. With the PTSD theme they really should have gotten Tom King to write it.

Martin Gray said...

Oh dear, I’m so glad I gave up on this a few months back, I won’t even bother to read it on DC Infinite, it sounds such a mess.

Dick McGee said...

Been reading a friend's copies as it came out, and I agree, very messy and poorly thought out with a terrible ending. Waste of a decent premise.

"How did we get from Kasnia to Metropolis. Extremely confusing."

That quandary at least I think is easily answered. The clapping heard in Kasnia is Lex applauding Clark for what he'd done, most likely sarcastically. Superman being Superman, he can hear it just fine from halfway across the planet and superspeeds back to chat with Luthor. It's absurd Silver Age nonsense in 2024, but Clark's always been able to pick out Lois or Jimmy yelling for help in similarly ludicrous situations - when the writer wants him to.

You could reasonably ask how Lex was getting a live feed from Kasnia (to which we say super-science and leave it at that) or how Clark can pick out his applause of all things, but the whole "hear you from anywhere" is so silly it hardly bears much thought. Maybe Clark is literally so wary about Lex he listens to everything he does all the time, supplemented with super-vision peeping to know what general area he should be listening to. If I were super-duper-genius Lex that would dawn on me and drive me to raving paranoia in short order, which he richly deserves. :)