Cover date: February 2008
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Penciller: Chris Batista, Andy Smith and Mike Norton
Inker: Cam Smith, Prentis Rollins and Mike Norton
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Superman appears, saving Lois and Jimmy as the fight escalates.
He demands that all of the fighters leave, and in response, Mantis attacks him. Superman defeats Mantis, and Darkseid appears.
Superman tells Darkseid to leave, and Darkseid hits him with full-blast Omega beams, tearing his uniform and causing the Forever People to change into Infinity Man.
Darkseid decides to leave, holding the pact in place. He punishes Mantis and booms. The Forever People soon follow, offering friendship to Superman.
On TV, Morgan Edge professes his love for Superman, reversing his position.
Highfather laments having to drag Superman into their war, but tells Metron it was inevitable.
Story - 3: My inclination is to lean 4, but I have to go 3. It's fair. Where this book is good, where Lanning and Abnett's typical talent shine through, it's great. But honestly, in all other respects, this felt like a punch/parry stock drawer story in most respects, which sucks.
But even if you can just enjoy it for what it was (and ultimately I did, because the art was so incredible on a whole), there were rudimentary writing mistakes that stuck out and really hit you on the head. CONSTANT use of names in dialogue, repeated multiple times for some (particularly the Forever People), telegraphing what a character is going to do before they do it, (Mantis with his super-charged boulder).
I went to see Brian Michael Bendis at my local comic book store, Comic Book Ink, recently, and he had a great anectode about falling rocks. I can't remember the specifics, but basically he described a panel that has rocks falling on people, the people saying, "Oh no! Falling rocks!" and then a caption: "Rocks were falling!" If you guys know what I mean and have a reference, I'd appreciate it. But the point being, that failed panel speaks a lot to the medium. If you're going to have a guy like Mantis throw super-charged matter, don't have him say it in the same panel that's showing it. If you're going to have characters whose names are so hard to figure out or remember that they have to be spouted constantly, don't do it through dialogue. Caption early. See JSA for a fine way to do that, or Checkmate. Don't know who Sasha Bordeaux is? Fine. Check the opening page.
The only use for constantly used names in dialogue is to help people like me, a reviewer, accurately describe who's on the page, and I'm just going to say "Forever People" anyway (see above) because I don't really care who Vykin is, and if you're not going to characterize him in this issue, I never will. So I didn't.
The beats are pretty strong in the fight, but it follows the same pattern as the last one. Someone fights, someone loses. Someone fights, someone loses. Someone fights, someone loses. It's pretty brain-dead in most respects.
A throw-down between Superman and Darkseid is ALWAYS awesome and welcome, and it was a great compliment to this issue, but in the end, the lack of any real character inserted in there just made it rock-em sock-em.
I'm a huge fan of this writing pair. I am. But this arc has shaken my faith. I followed them for all of Majestic. I hope they were pushed into this odd drawer story.
Art - 5: This art, however, makes you almost not notice (at least until you look close) the stock nature of the plot. It's insanely good. Detailed, strong, and with battle scenes that literally make you recoil a bit from the page, not from horror, but saying, "Man, those Omega Beams even hurt ME."
I was going to put this in the plot, but I'll put it here, because it's kind of an art issue more.
Superman's suit tears.
I don't know if Confidential is its own continuity (as I recall, it was) or if it's not, but either way, with all the confusion I have (despite constant research) into what's real and what's not for Supes, as far as I know right now, his suit is still Kryptonian fabric and thus invulnerable per the Silver Age retcon, right? So it doesn't rip, right?
And the cape's fine, so... weird.
Makes me wish for simpler continuity, don't know about you. I'm so sick of waiting to know my context for this crap. I really am.
Cover Art - 4: Fine picture, but you have a Darkseid/Superman brawl and you put MANTIS on the cover? What was the person who commissioned this one thinking?
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2008.