Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Review: Superman #5

Superman #5 came out last week and was another fun issue in this latest run by Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell. Things happen fast in this book. A lot of stuff just needs to be accepted and moved on with. But in this era of decompression and 6 issue arcs for 2 issues worth of story, I'll take these 'done in 2' adventures.

This issue wraps up the Silver Banshee attack. Siobhan has been augmented by Dr. Pharm and Mr. Graft to fight the Man of Steel in hopes of ultimately getting revenge on Lex Luthor. Like the Parasite in a prior story, the Banshee was amped by some multi-colored Kryptonite exposure. And like the Parasite, her threat is handled quickly and almost too easily. (Although the wrinkle of the Banshee being in love with Jimmy is delicious.)

But these villain fights are really just catalysts for the main story. Lex wants to help Superman. Pharm and Graft want to kill Luthor. And Superman is trying to figure it all out. Those big plots continue to rumble forward in a gripping way. This issue has a great new mystery and a stellar cliffhanger that left me wanting more. Plus, there is a stealthy humor in the book I am really enjoying.

Add to that Jamal Campbell's lush art and you have a winner. The best scenes for Campbell here are the human moments of romance which sort of bookend the issue. I really loved his take on both Siobhan and the Banshee here.

As long as you don't dwell too long on how the villain attack stories wrap up, this book is firing on all cylinders. It is always a great sign when I close a book and I wish I had the next issue already. On to some particulars.

As I said, the opening pages are a whirlwind tour of Jimmy and Siobhan's romance and it is all just utterly charming.

I love the first panel. She must have said 'I have something I need to confess' and showed him she was the Banshee only to have him shrug and list off all the wacky things he has been. Just delightful!

And I can only speak from experience that the second panel definitely rings true.

These pages made me care about this relationship. It is more than a fling or a tryst. These are clearly two people who care about each other. And you need that weight to make the rest of the issue work.

Another humorous moment.

In the midst of the Banshee attacking Superman, Jimmy says he loves her for the first time. Tender moment.

But Lex rubbing his eyes and wondering how Jimmy stays alive just made me giggle. That is Lex.

As I have said, I don't exactly 100% understand Lex's goal of Superman being the new savior for man. But at least this time he wants Superman to stop the Banshee without hurting her. Superman and Lex agreeing on something? Interesting.

I also don't quite know how the Banshee is manifesting Phantom Zone powers but her screams now have phantomy ghosts which was a cool visual.

Now here is where as a reader, I just need to roll with things.

Supercorp just so happened to have some sonic neutralizing gun that would stop the Banshee. It seems to easy and quick. If I was Superman I'd wonder why they just so happened to have the perfect deterrent for this new threat. 

At least Superman crushed it. He doesn't like guns.

He did manage to keep some core of the device intact that will be able to rip the augmentation out of the Banshee. But Jimmy demands to be brought along.

Another great character moment.

Of course, nothing would stop Superman from saving Lois. Nothing. So that look of understanding on Superman's face is spot on. And Jimmy standing up to his hero like this shows his level of commitment. 

Words and art complementing each other. 

Of course the Banshee is cured and all is well. Sort of. Her yell has left Superman temporarily without his super-hearing.

He heads back to the former hideout of Pharm and Graft where they tell Superman he still needs to worry about Luthor. 

And does he know about 'Project:Chained'?

Should we start guessing what this is all about? Doomsday? Master Jailer? Something new?

As I said above, I don't quite understand this 'new Lex'. I appreciate that Williamson has others questioning why Superman is trying to work with Luthor as well. Even Lois. 

It all comes back to the Kents. After all, the 'kindly couple' (nice nod to Morrison's All-Star Superman origin page) taught him to give people the opportunity they need to have a second chance.

Now this is probably Luthor's millionth second chance. But when Kent wisdom is brought to bear, I love it.

But that loss of super-hearing means Superman's eavesdropping with Lex isn't active. Clark comments how it is somehow a blessing for him to just have a night to himself.

So while Clark is having a great double date with Jimmy and Siobhan, Lex is being shivved.

Now that is a great cliffhanger!

Yes, the Parasite and the Banshee are 'defeated' easily. But they are sort of small components of the bigger plot and I am okay with it. Because it is the big story that I am finding compelling. And there are enough 'small moments' in these mini-chapters to  keep me smiling.

Overall grade: A

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