Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman #4

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Superman #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 16, 2023
Cover date: July 2023

"Chapter Four: Screams From The Past"

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jamal Campbell and Nick Dragotta
Cover: Jamal Campbell
Variant Cover #1: Lee Bermejo
Variant Cover #2: Gabriel Rodriguez
Variant Cover #3: Mico Suayan and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Variant Cover #4: Nathan Szerdy
1:25 Variant Cover: Pamela Hodgeboom
1:50 Variant Cover: Ramona Fradon, Sandra Hope and Trish Mulvihill
1:100 Variant Cover: Jamal Campbell

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
Click to enlarge

A loved up Siobhan McDougal is making breakfast for her boyfriend when Graft and a group of pharmhand underlings kidnap her. Graft promises not to kill Siobhan's loved ones if she agrees to a procedure.

Superman visits Stryker's Island and demands the full story behind Luthor's animosity with Dr Pharm and Graft. Over the past few weeks since Parasite's attack Lex and Superman have done some great work together, but Superman is fed up with being used and Luthor holding back.

Lex refuses to budge until Superman reveals that Dr. Pharm has been experimenting with kryptonite and using the variations to alter supervillain's abilities by force. This information prompts Lex to reveal what happened when he left Smallville.

There was no superhero community when a young Lex arrived in the Big Apricot but he did stumble upon a similar case. The homeless people of the city were being kidnapped.

Lex used his skills and scientific knowledge to track down the teenaged Dr. Pharm and Graft and put a stop to their experimenting, rescuing hundreds of homeless people. He learned that this was just one of many lairs and decided he would be Metropolis' champion.

Superman is skeptical of the story and demands to see where this lab was so he can investigate it for himself. Superman investigates the underground tunnels and scans the rubble. He is shocked to discover the schematics for a Phantom Zone projector. Lex realizes too late that Dr. Pharm and Graft had anticipated this and had set this up as a trap.

Siobhan has been forcibly transformed back to her Silver Banshee identity and has been laying in wait for Superman. She begs his forgiveness before attacking, telling Superman that Dr. Pharm has used Phantom Zone tech on her.

Their battle explodes from the streets below the city causing carnage. Before Superman can incapacitate Siobhan he hears a shocking revelation that neither he nor Luthor were prepared for.

To Be Continued...

4Story - 4: I enjoyed this issue very much. The back and forth between Clark and Lex continues to entertain, especially the actions of Lex on an inmate. I like that Jimmy is being given more to do and that we're finally seeing Lois struggling with what passes for modern journalism. It's a brilliant issue that is finally giving us more information on Dr. Pharm and Graft. So why am I docking a point? The montage page. I know it is meant to gloss over the growing partnership between Lex and Clark but all it did was annoy me - because I want to know what these four adventures were!

4Art - 4: Am I being overly critical? DC often splits the art chores on a book and despite the switch being contained to Lex Luthor's past it is something of a personal pet peeve. The switch back and forth always seems to take me out of the story. There were no big splashes beyond that final page reveal, and to be honest I missed their use this issue because they really set the mood for the story.

4Cover Art - 4: This is one of those style of covers we have seen many times in Superman's history so it wasn't unexpected that it would appear. Graft's claw is definitely deadly but so far he has just come across as an eccentric. A nice iconic theme but just not as threatening as others in the past.

5Variant Cover Art #1 - 5: What an epic cover this is! I love a fully painted cover. I wish it were available in both foil and standard format because I want to frame it!

5Variant Cover Art #2 - 5: A Silver Banshee cover that really shows her menace. Clark doesn't know what he's up against here and echoing the attack in the tunnels this cover really sets up the issue's big fight.

5Variant Cover Art #3 - 5: I hope what Dr. Pharm and Graft have done to Bizarro can be reversed. Knowing what happens to him seconds after this makes it such a tragic cover. Maybe it's because I have not long seen "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3". This is a beautifully painted cover, when a piece can evoke such emotion you know you have a winning formula. Suayan really channels the emotions here.

5Variant Cover Art #4 - 5: Who doesn't love a Livewire cover? This is such a beautifully rendered piece it makes me wish Leslie had a bigger part in this storyline because she's always a blast (pardon the pun). I wish we had a series of covers like this that showcased Superman's rogues gallery because this is stunning!

51:25 Variant Cover Art - 5: No Streaky! This is a must for cat parents and that animated art style. I love its simplicity and fun aspect. If you're a Streaky fan and waiting for the Super Cat's debut petition DC now! Or buy multiple copies of this variant!

41:50 Variant Cover Art - 4: Another Lois Lane-centric cover but this time with a twist on the classic covers of the Silver Age. I really like this cover and the fact it echoes the frustrations Lois is feeling this issue makes it even stronger. I really like this journey to the past! It makes me want to dig out some back issues!

51:100 Variant Cover Art - 5: (Same as the standard cover but without text.)

Mild Mannered Reviews


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