Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Comic Books

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Superman '78 #2 [of 6]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 28, 2021
Cover date: November 2021

"Brainiac" - Chapter 2

Writers: Robert Venditti
Artist: Wilfredo Torres
Cover: Ben Oliver
Variant Cover: Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclear

Reviewed by: Marc Lax
Click to enlarge

Lex Luthor paroled seeks a job. In Kord industries cafeteria. After walking out and insulting humanity he heads home to his humble apartment only to find Superman standing in his living room. After sparring briefly Superman asks Lex for help with the Brainiac robot head he retrieved last issue. Intrigued Lex agrees.

Meanwhile at the Daily Planet building in Metropolis, Clark and Lois have a dull lunch date while Lois goes on and on about Superman's fight with the robots the other day. While exiting Lois' office Clark uses his super-hearing to eavesdrop on a call Lois takes from a source at SETI.

Later in his hidden lab at the apartment Lex, tinkering with the robot head, sends out a signal allowing Brainiac to announce to Metropolis that a dangerous Kryptonion is among them. Setting his robots on the city to find the Kryptonian they cause more destruction forcing Superman to fight back. After Brainiac threatens to destroy Metropolis Superman surrenders to Brainiac.

4Story - 4: While this was another fun issue I do have few nitpicks. Knowing how evil Lex is would he truly be eligible for parole? Would Superman really trust him for help with the robot knowing how brilliant and devious Lex is? I find it hard to believe. But with Superman watching him and his trust in the good in people I suppose we'll have to buy into it.

I enjoyed the Lois scenes. She's written very close to the movies Lois but not enough to be exact giving just enough difference that the dialogue isn't jarring. Actually I have to say that with most of the characters, while I can hear the actors voices, I feel the characterization is just different enough that they could be their own version and not an exact copy. Except maybe Lex. That "the most brilliant criminal mind of our time" routine can only go so far. But it's his first appearance, so hopefully he'll come in to his own. And that has got to be a picture of Miss Tessmacher on his wall as he's entering his apartment. Sneaky but I liked it. Also look for an appearance of his battle armor.

Oh my did Superman just grab a shield from his chest to throw at the robots? Say it isn't so! But it is. Why they would use one of the cheesiest ideas from "Superman II" is beyond me. I get it. This is the movie version of these characters and they want to have some fun homages but that could have remained on the cutting room floor.

I like this take on Brainiac. It's faithful to the comics but with just enough of a spin to make it their own. In fact I'd love to see more of this take in the comics.

And you can't tell me the scene with Superman surrendering was not an homage of the scene in the Fortress with Superman kneeling before Zod in "Superman II". In fact it took me right back there.

In all I enjoyed the issue and I'm interested to see what's to come. But I think all the homages and obvious Easter eggs can be too much. They give you smile when you see them but can also be distracting.

4Art - 4: While Lex was drawn to look like Gene Hackman there are subtle differences which is fine. But it seemed to be off kilter. Torres is still getting used to these characters and is doing a great job but it still needs fine tuning.

4Cover Art - 4: The characterization is great and it gives you a nice taste for what we're in for with Lex and Superman.

2Variant Cover Art - 2: Adequate. Too much red! Other than that it was okay.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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