Friday, October 20, 2023

Review: Superman #7

Superman #7 came out this week and was a stealth #850 anniversary when you count the legacy numbers. This was over-sized and it certainly felt like it with this book being stuffed with A,B, and C plots with new wrinkles and new continuity suddenly in the mix. Whew ... I had to take a breath when this one was done because there is a lot going on.

Writer Joshua Williamson is certainly embracing the Superman mythos. The A plot feels very new with The Chained nearly destroying Metropolis while Graft and Pharma look on. The B plot is a re-imagining of the Luthor legacy, bringing back a couple of family members that was eye-opening. And then the Brainiac threat continues to bubble in the background. That is a lot for one issue and somehow Williamson is able to juggle it all while also showcasing Superman and the Superman family in a whiz-bang action sequence. Given the focus of this site, I have to say Supergirl shines here, acting as the field general of the team. I loved it. And don't forget, there is that D plot of Marilyn Moonlight out there and not seen here. Amazing.

Given the over-sized nature of the book, the art is split up and thankfully in a way that makes sense. Gleb Melnikov continues the Chained plot and really amps up the action here. Really good stuff here. Old school artists Dan Jurgens handles the Luthor pages and brings a sense of history to the proceedings which works given the reintroduction of some history. And then Edwin Galmon brings a sort of computer art feel to the Brainiac pages which just clicks.

This felt like a sort of middle chapter of the bigger picture but it moved things along briskly and in a very entertaining way. That's the job of a middle chapter.  Very good issue here!

On to the details.

Last issue, The Chained was released by Superman. The powerful being has a grudge against Lex Luthor and decided the best way to have his revenge is to take it out on Metropolis.

Immediately, Williamson ramps things up.

First off, we learn that Perry White, recently sidelined with a mild stroke, is now running for Mayor of Metropolis. I am still having fun with Lois as Planet Editor and I don't want that to change. So I am glad that Williamson isn't putting Perry on the shelf. Yet another sub-plot! You know me and my love of supporting casts. So great idea.

But then this nugget. Perry recognizes the Chained as Sammy Stryker. That is a heavy name for the Superman world given the super-villain prison is Stryker's Island. So what is the connection.

I do love Melnikov's art here showing a rather disheveled Chained looking gangly and horrific.

These days the Super-family is pretty big. Someone like The Chained just floating in the air will be noticed.

I love this splash with Kara taking charge of things, telling the Chained to stand down or else.

Between Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Joshua Williamson, Kara has really taken a place of prominence in these books. She is the field marshal, the historian, and usually the smartest person in the room.

Makes me happy.

The Chained is powerful able to stop the crew in mid-air initially and continue his attack on the city.

Again, Kara takes charge, telling the team to concentrate on saving the citizens. 

It allows Conner to skirmish with the villain to keep the villain from destroying more.

I am going to keep on jumping on this but Williamson is really utilizing the whole cast of the book wonderfully. These are individual personalities. Kara is the leader. Conner the impetuous fighter. Fantastic.

Superman uses his brains to escape the chains he was placed in and shows up.

Despite the initial violence, he still extends his hand. He wants to help. Remember, he released the Chained with the same goal in mind.

Pure Superman. This is what I want in my Superman. He throws down when he has to. 

Of course, The Chained doesn't accept the help. After all, the S-Shield is atop the LexCorp building now. That means the Chained thinks Superman is a lackey of Luthor, the target of his anger. So it's back on. 

And the Chained is a strong villain, toppling two skyscrapers into each other and just lashing out. 

You want more great Supergirl action. How about her chucking the Chained, telling him he needs a time out. Love it.

And then the Super-cousins team up to fly through the falling buildings to save everyone.

I'm a sucker for pages like this with multiple iterations of characters on the page showing how fast they are moving.

And I love Superman and Supergirl working together seamlessly. 

And then another wrinkle. 

Conner sensed that The Chained power is tactile telekinesis.

We know that Luthor has something to do with the origin of The Chained. We know that Luthor is half of Conner's DNA. So this is a mystery I am ready for. Intriguing.

It also explains why The Chained would keep those ridiculously long chains around. It increases the 'reach' of his tactile telekinesis. 

And then a nice cliffhanger.

Let's get all the Lex-haters together.

But wait there's more.

Lois goes to confront Lex thinking that, despite his magnanimous recent history, he is planning something.

Lex does monologue giving us a brief history into his life, specifically his battles with Superman. And now he realizes his error. He wants to help.

I really like the last panel where Lois says that even though the speech is one where Lex sounds changed, it still sounds like a villain monologue. I really like that line. 

But then a complete curveball. 

Leticia Luthor, Lex's mother, shows up alive. 


And she has with her Lex's daughter!

Lena Luthor??? That Lena? And she has Brainiac dimples on her forehead!

We are going back a ways for a Lena like this to be in continuity. And it does seem to ignore the one last seen in Superwoman. And who is the mother? Still the Contessa?

And as if that wasn't crazy enough we get a Brainiac epilogue. 

He is flummoxed by Superman. He doesn't understand why he has failed in his skirmishes with the Man of Steel. He doesn't understand how Earth has so many super-powered beings of such various powers.

So why not turn his attention to another planet ... like Braal, homeworld of future Legionnaire Cosmic Boy. Everyone has one power, magnetism. 

He decides to do what he does, shrink a Braalian city and kill the rest of the planet. And to accomplish that, he sends a trio of Czarians to mop up. Czarians??? A genocide attack of Braal?

Okay ... that is a lot. A lot of plot. A lot of new plots. A couple of new characters. 

It is all very solid. All interesting. All well drawn. 

Plus, some really solid Supergirl stuff.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Excellent analysis. This really is a fun comic. Are we to take it from the Brainiac narration that he’s behind the return of Lena Luthor.

I’m not sure this comic is ignoring the last Lena, it doesn’t have anything that erases sister Lena from Superwoman, who was mentioned as recently as Stellworks #1.

Anj said...

Thanks ... momentarily mentally merged sister and daughter!

Can't we get a niece now??? Nasty??

Anonymous said...

Gimme Bossy Blonde Alpha Supergirl Six Days a Week and Twice on Sunday...clearly she is the smartest member of the family, that Kryptonian education counts for something after all.
I'll take this over mopey-enabling-a-maladorous-space-moppet Supergirl any way ah kin get her....