Friday, January 1, 2016

Review: Superman #47

The Truth started about half a year ago and has run its course through all the Superman books. It has had a few high moments, lost in a sea of brooding, depowered, angry Clark stomping around. It hasn't been  groundbreaking to me and I have mostly been unimpressed. Now with the 50th 'anniversary' issues ahead of us, it seems as if The Truth will come to a close. We have seen a repowered Superman, in his old suit, flying on future solicits. And so, the time has come for the plots of this over-arching story to come to a close. 

Superman #47, written by Gene Luen Yang with art predominantly by Howard Porter with some pages by Raymund Bermudez and Tom Derenick, starts to bring some plots to a close. The immediate physical threat of Hordr_Root is dealt with. The Sand Superman is defeated. The Mythbrawl arc is closed. And more meat is put on the bones of the Vandal Savage thread. Some of these seem to close quickly, maybe faster than might have been initially anticipated.

But I am happy. Because I think I am running out of patience. While I will admit that the last issues by Yang have been interesting to read with some good ideas and some decent hooks, I am ready to have a 'real' Superman back.

So onto this issue.

Last issue ended with Jimmy Olsen taking a full on heat vision blast to the chest.

It is hard to understand how he survives this. Why isn't there a plate-sized hole in Jimmy's chest? I honestly don't get it. But I guess I just have to roll with it.

While Superman battles the Sand Superman and Yurei, Condesa uses her powers to get a lift out of there and to a hospital.

One of my problems with this story is that the degree of Superman's strength and powers has varied as needed by story details. In Superman/Wonder Woman, he is a bruised and battered mess from gunshots. Here he wrestles a powerful Sand Superman clone and somehow remains alive. In fact, the Sand Superman uses the Solar Flare power which only buffets rather than incinerating Clark. Again, seems wrong.

What I do like is that Yang comments on Superman's needless reliance on the flare power earlier. I didn't know why Superman would use it for fighting tanks, robots, etc. It shouldn't be a default. But I like that because of that crutch, the Sand Superman also defaulted to it.

The flare turned the Sand Superman to glass, easily shattered. Nice to see Sand Superman again. I would have no qualms (or Quarrms) seeing him again.

Jimmy is brought to the hospital to recover. Superman still is hearing the distrust from many.


I hope that goes away. How about an inspirational Superman??

After months of cat and mouse, for some reason, Hordr_Root decides to take the battle to Superman directly. Knowing Clark was at Mythbrawl, Hordr and a squad of energy drainers decided to throw down.

Superman seemed to be waiting for this because he had the gods of the fight site ready to assist. Realizing Hordr must teleport out via Wifi, Superman has Mayari create a RF signal-free globe. Because, after all, it would make sense for a Tagalog lunar goddess to have this power. Right?

Okay, I guess I have to roll with this too. That's three rolls in the opening pages.

Because of the globe, Hordr is trapped in this body.

The robots are destroyed. Hordr is thrashed. And the gods tell Superman to end it completely. They tell him to kill Hordr. And for a second, it seems that Superman is contemplating it. After all, Hordr has not only injured Superman but also Perry. And Jimmy.

Love this panel. Nicely drawn. Great angle. Powerful.

But there is another way to deal.

Condesa has made a human hard drive. Using her powers, she downloads Hordr into a device where he is trapped. There is no escape.

We have heard that Condesa was a programmer and can communicate with electronics, I suppose it makes sense she could tinker a device like this.

But there was one last turn. Hordr had been controlling Jimmy. In fact, when Superman is thinking of killing Hordr, Root tries to goad him into it. Because of course that would be a major blow to Superman.

What I do like is Jimmy saying that he was worried about Superman. Despite everything, Jimmy has remained a believer in Clark. I like that loyalty and belief in his hero.

And another nice panel construction here. The busted Hordr mask in the foreground is a bit cliche but it works.

With Hordr trapped and dropped off at Mr. Terrific's for safe keeping, there isn't anything left but the wrap up.

After hearing Shahrazad tell a skewed version of Superman's origin last issue, I was glad to hear her say something more traditional here. It almost seems like this shows that Superman is regaining his own belief in himself. He isn't bemoaning his fate anymore. He is embracing it.

This was a nice moment. Thankfully.

We get some backstory of Hordr via memories that Jimmy has gained.

Hordr's human form was Vandal Savage's son but Savage had no use for him. To prove himself, the son used his tech know-how to create the Hordr program. Unfortunately, it became sentient, created an android form, and killed the human creator. I like this sort of Frankenstein's monster aspect to this origin. Or maybe it is like The Great Danton in The Prestige. But this brings some heft to the character that I like.

As the electronic Hordr, Savage now has respect. In fact, so much respect that Savage breaks his 'son' out of Terrific's stronghold.

So what to think?

Well, this issue certainly moved things along briskly and that makes me happy. Howard Porter's pages are just fantastic. And there are a couple of nice moments, helping smooth over the rougher aspects of this chapter.

We are closer to the end of The Truth as well.

Overall grade: C

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

That bit about Miyari making the place a wifi-free zone, my mind read that as 'Condesa' - I suppose because that makes more sense. I wonder if Yang typed the wrong name, and no one caught it.