Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman #20

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Superman #20

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 5, 2017

Cover date: May 2017

“Black Dawn” – Part 1

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Mick Gray
Cover: Patrick Gleason & John Kalisz
Variant Cover: Jorge Jimenez & Alejandro Sanchez

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

With existence aligned, Superman is back and in a brighter red and blue costume.

The world is inspired by him and the ‘Smith’ identity has gone in favor of ‘Kent’.

As Cobb drives past the farm he warns Lois of a storm, so the Kents take shelter in their basement to ride it out.

Lois approaches the subject of the alignment but Clark shrugs it off, enjoying the new status quo too much, he tells her that they’ll figure out anything that comes along.

Spotting a shadow of a man stalking the farm Jon is worried that Other Clark might have returned, dons his jacket and sneaks to the barn.

There the figure is revealed to be Batman, accompanied by Robin. Lois and Clark are more than aware of their presence and confront the three of them inviting them in for a civilized talk. Batman tells Clark that from their test Superboy should be at his optimum level by now, even more powerful than his father, but for some reason Jon isn’t progressing. Batman sees the darkness and the possible threat where Superman sees things with optimism and focuses on the positives.

When Batman surmises something environmental might be limiting Jon and discovers that Cobb is their primary source of food in Hamilton, he immediately suspects Kathy’s grandfather.

Later that night Batman sneaks onto Cobb’s farm to test a sample of Bessie’s milk, but what happens next shakes Bruce to the core. Need I say the words…

To Be Continued…

5Story – 5: Nothing from Reborn is dealt with here, instead the Kents enjoy their new life tweaked with minor changes – that isn’t a bad thing as everywhere in DC for months we’ve been told across several titles and by characters in the know but unwilling to elaborate that Superman and the Kents are not who they think they are… it was nice to just have the Kents and Superman enjoy life a little.

The continuity is a little out of sync with Justice League a month behind, with Timeless and Super Sons seemingly also behind as noted by the apple pie scene with Damian. The confrontation with Batman only serves to reinforce their light versus dark lifestyles and outlooks, though Clark is suddenly far more optimistic (which is a welcome change as angst doesn’t suit him). We finally have the mystery of the Cobb farm coming to the fore and what that might mean for the future is an interesting mystery, especially given Batman’s fate.

I would have liked a little more elaboration on what happened to continuity, whether Ma and Pa are alive, etc… but I’m willing to enjoy the ride.

I’m also more than glad that the whole ‘society is suspicious of Superman’ outlook has been replaced by ‘he is a symbol of hope’ because it means we are really getting a Superman that is ‘the best of us’ back.

I have optimism and trust in Jurgens, Gleason and Tomasi. They’ve more than earned it since Rebirth began.

4Art – 4: With the upturn of hope in the book, I’m hoping the cartoon styling will begin to be downplayed somewhat in favor of a tone more in keeping with the writing. Jon’s cartoony portrayal was fun but, like Batman, I’m keen for the kid to start acting and looking more like a responsible kid and less like a goofy anime kid that doesn’t really fit with the rest of the book’s look. Jon aside, there is a gentle warmth in Gleason’s art. It feels familiar and cosy, so after the recent events it was nice to have that comfortable feeling.

4Cover Art – 4: Physical proportions aside, this cover reiterates the optimism. Unfortunately the palette is muted because of the horizon but the theme is not lost and promises a brighter future. I really liked this rendition, he finally seems happy and hopeful.

5Variant Cover Art – 5: THIS IS SUPERMAN!

Jimenez & Sanchez take everything about the direct cover and kick it up a notch.

I kind of wish this was the image released to reveal Superman’s new beginning because it is AWESOME!
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s-shield
Member

I really liked the status quo presented in this issue. Still living on the farm (which I think is a brilliant addition to the mythos), but living openly as The Kents. All of which is terrific. I was also surprised and delighted by the idea that the Kents KNOW they’ve been thru some timeline altering shenanigans. I was worried that the Reborn period was gonna go out the window, with Lois and Clark always having been here with a kid, Clark is a reporter again, etc. Very please with how this is going.

liheibao
Member

“Batman tells Clark that from their test Superboy should be at his optimum level by now, even more powerful than his father, but for some reason Jon isn’t progressing.”

Yes! Go push some planets, Superboy!

BMoore25
Editor

Yeah he’s way behind, he should be pulling freaking galaxies by now, at minimum blowing out Stars with a sneeze

toptom
Guest

It would be nice seeing Superman himself finally moving some planets instead of Jon :/
I wonder if we will ever see something like that…probably not with Tomasi

liheibao
Member

Too many years of keeping him in the pocket; they may no longer no how.

toptom
Guest
I really wish that you are right. I ,and i think most of the guys who read supes, want to see him as the powerful being that he is meant to be, i want to see him performing some amazing,big, bombastic feat like the one we’ve seen in this variant from Jimenez. With this i don’t want him to be invincible, from time to time he can met an enemy that is able to take him down even by brute force alone ( Doomsday,Zod,Superboy-prime…) but it is always beautiful as much it is rare seeing Superman doing something that Just… Read more »
Hailex
Member

I have been loving this run – the story, the art, and especially, Superman. Superman IS bright, bold, primary colors.

I did find it strange that a Kryptonian/Human child should be MORE powerful. I would think just the opposite (as has every other similar story I have read in the last 4 decades).

liheibao
Member
I did find it strange that a Kryptonian/Human child should be MORE powerful. I would think just the opposite (as has every other similar story I have read in the last 4 decades). Stories previous to COIE didn’t halve the abilities of the progeny as a rule. It became more of a staple after 1986, with the desire to keep Superman in the pocket. Still, readers tend to fall in lock-step with what is offered them, especially if they agree with it. Why would Jon be any less than his father or greater? It’s all new territory, just as being… Read more »
s-shield
Member

Maybe Batman’s theorizing that the Kryptonian DNA should be jump-starting Jon’s Meta-Gene (that’s still a thing, right?), boosting his power level. Or that a Kryptonian, cross-bred with a species that evolved under a yellow sun, would be better able to process said yellow sunlight, making them more powerful. But if that where true, wouldn’t it apply to Conner Kent, too? Hmmm. Just a few thoughts.

liheibao
Member
Conner was shown to become more powerful, and obtain more Kryptonian based abilities over time. Trouble is, his tactile telekenisis went out the window. In theory, and being with the ability to absorb solar energy like Superman, especially as he’s no limit to how much he can absorb, should become more powerful. Where Superman is unique, is the amount he’s absorbed from day one. I’m happy to see Jon Jon be more powerful than his father, as maybe then we can see some dynamic usage of his abilities, as opposed to what we’re given with Superman, which is usually little… Read more »
MattComics
Member
I was enjoying that initial idea that they were starting out with where his powers blink out on him from time to time. If his powers evolved at all like his dad’s he shouldn’t even be flying yet. But if his physiology is such that he can actually have the full range of powers at his age but it’s a little inconsistent because of his dual heritage until he reaches adulthood that’s kind of fun IMO. I don’t really get the thing of where he necessarily needs to be “more powerful” than Superman. Never really got that with Supergirl either.… Read more »
liheibao
Member
But if his physiology is such that he can actually have the full range of powers at his age but it’s a little inconsistent because of his dual heritage until he reaches adulthood that’s kind of fun IMO. It worked for Superboy(Clark Kent). However, the readership was younger. I don’t really get the thing of where he necessarily needs to be “more powerful” than Superman. Never really got that with Supergirl either. Just seems like randomly gratuitous compensation for them. Why does either character *need* to be more powerful than he is? What is the actual benefit to the character… Read more »
MattComics
Member
I think regardless of whatever the current yardstick for Superman, boy, or girls power level writers should be willing to embrace and work with that instead of bending over backwards to avoid it or hiding from it like a frightened turtle. I tend to enjoy him at roughly any power level (though when he can’t fly I admit it’s less fun for me.) If I have a preference it’s mainly just to not get overly silly with it at least outside of versions that aren’t meant to be expressly comedic or lean that way like The Brave and The Bold… Read more »
liheibao
Member

“He’s getting killed out there!”

“No he’s not. He’s gettin mad!”

That’s the Hulk. ;)

MattComics
Member

Hulk *Hogan* was in Rocky III not Banner. :P
That’d be one heck of a crossover with the Bill Bixby series: “Eye Of The Hulk”.

I was just saying that perhaps one way to approach it would be that there are levels of Superman’s power that he can tap into when he’s intensely pushing himself or getting fired up that maybe he wouldn’t just using his powers normally.

liheibao
Member

Since Superman is always holding back, wouldn’t it be that he just holds back less? Instead of pushing himself, he unleashes himself? The result would be the same, that the approach should be different.

Kal L
Member

I’m a bit behind on my readings this week, so didnt want to comment until after I had read the issue.
What I really want is, for Ma and Pa to be alive. And I know Conner died… Somewhat stupidly in the pages of the then N52 Teen Titans… But are there any plans to bring him back?… I like Jon, I love Kon-El more!

liheibao
Member

What did happen to Ma Kent? If Superman’s history has been merged, then Pa Kent has died as of the Brainiac story, but Ma Kent should still be around. Ma Kent is Oz!

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