Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 22, 2020
Cover date: March 2020
“The Truth” – Part 2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Joe Prado, Danny Miki, Julio Ferreira and Oclair Albert
Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
The Daily Planet lawyers and insurance company are a bag of nerves. Perry has called a meeting with the closest related staff. Lois has temporarily given up running away from her assassin to browse social media. Jimmy has popped by on a break from his world to photograph his friend and Superman has given up his higher vocal tone, hunched stature and spectacles.
Perry shows them a photo of an obliterated Daily Planet and tells them the legal department are worried now Superman has given up the Clark Kent identity this future is inevitable.
Lois looks up from her phone and shrugs that Superman has always been associated with the Daily Planet because he was friends with them, but despite many close calls they are in just as much danger as they always were.
Perry tells Superman that he must fire Clark Kent, but that he would like to hire Superman as a staff writer. With Superman as an official staffer in the bullpen, their sales will skyrocket as he will be able to narrate his adventures as exclusives.
Superman agrees as Perry jokes about no more late deadlines and poor spelling and grammar now he doesn’t have to fake being Clark. Superman reveals he used to do it so his work was on par with Lois.
Superman enters the newsroom and is sheepishly greeted by his colleagues, who are unsure how to react. Former gossip columnist Trish Q approaches Superman and reveals that before Robinson Goode disappeared (in Action Comics) she had discovered his secret herself but didn’t reveal it, because of all the good he did. The office slow claps as Superman begins embracing Trish and her friends.
Later in costume, Superman performs some super feats and is cheered on by the public. Superman cannot hide his sheer happiness. He prepares himself for revealing the truth to the superhero community in the Hall of Justice. How will they react to him formerly having a private life?
In space, the founders of the United Planets are scouting for a planetoid to create their new base. Upon hearing about the formation of their organisation, Mongul attacks them. Superman appears and attempts to save the day. With everything going so well for Superman, will this fight be a walk in the park? Or will he be brought down to earth in a rude awakening from a mocking Mongul?
To Be Continued….
Story – 2: Continuity be damned, none of the timings match up but what the hell, eh?
Moving on. Perry White decides, to beat the tabloids, the Daily Planet should become one. There is a flawed explanation as to why, but the problem with that is Perry White has always prided himself as a writer and editor of integrity.
There is a lot of comedy thrown in to paper over the cracks, but it makes the reader ask more and more questions. Instead of addressing the real issues, Bendis tries to make every character emulate Chandler Bing from Friends.
There is a touching but implausible moment with Trish Q, a timid gossip columnist that stumbled upon the truth before Superman revealed it. Sentimentality prevented her from doing so and somehow her lie warmed the hearts of her colleagues into welcoming Superman and phasing Clark Kent out. Ok then.
The sugar overload from last issue (Perry’s hug) has not gone away. The Planeteers love him for the truth, the citizens of Metropolis love him for his actions and truth and the superheroes of Earth love him too.
It’s not hard to see that by laying the happiness like treacle on toast the fight with Mongul was going to be a reality check. It was great to see Superman actually being super but the finale was obvious.
I’m really disappointed with this, if you’re going to rehash Truth – TAKE THE RISKS. What’s the point of doing this type of story if you’re not willing to actually deal with the issues? Perry was all jokey, no members of bullpen or the public called him out as a liar and all the superheroes were bizarrely reacting like they’d finally won the never-ending battle – despite what it might mean for those amongst them that have secret identities? If not for Ivan Reis drawing them that way, you’d never know Bruce, Diana, Carter and Arthur disapproved.
Have the courage of your convictions! If you’re going to do this, you should be all in.
Art – 3: Wow, what a difference rotating inkers make. Some panels and pages look incredible, some look half-hearted and sketch-like. Overall it makes the whole reading experience a bit of an uneven one, especially as I mentioned you had to scrutinize the art to see some of the character reactions. I can understand the quality dip as last issue must have been an exhaustive experience. I can understand for many this won’t be an issue but for me it made for a jarring read.
Cover Art – 3: At first glance this is pretty cool. A play of the ‘Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow’ art by Curt Swan. The parallels are inescapable, however, the closer you look at the characters other than Superman, the faster you come to realize they are mostly underdeveloped scribbles. In the years before digital publishing this might have been ok but when you can pinch and zoom these days, the foreground and background should have equal importance.
Variant Cover Art – 3: I can’t quite put my finger on it but Superman’s pose seems really awkward. It is beautifully colored but I am just not a fan of this particular cover. Is he flying straight ahead, swooping upwards or trying to turn around? Each part of his body suggests a different direction. A rarity for me concerning Hitch’s artwork, I usually love his style and composition.
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