Superman ’78 #3 [of 6]
Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 2, 2021
Cover date: January 2022
“Brainiac” – Chapter 3
Writers: Robert Venditti
Artist: Wilfredo Torres
Cover: Amy Reeder
Variant Cover: Lee Weeks
Reviewed by: Marc Lax
Brainiac hovers above Metropolis while his robots surround Superman. The good people of Metropolis stand up for Superman saying that in their city there are people from all walks of life. This prompts Brainiac to ponder whether he should excise Metropolis as well.
Superman steps in and tells the good people of Metropolis that while he considers this his city as much as they do he wants to thank them for their kindness and goes with Brainiac therefore saving the city.
After sending out some kind of “signal” that seems to only reach Lois, Superman and Lois say their final goodbyes. But not before ol’ Lex Luthor congratulates Brainiac on his capture of Superman. While a surprised Superman wonders what Lex is up to Lex gives him a slap on the back as a final goodbye. Superman seems to find this odd. Then it’s up to Brainiac’s ship with Superman.
Once on board Superman finally sees what Brainiac is up to, spying all the shrunken cities. At that moment a trapped Superman gets violently transported to one of the shrunken cities. Not realizing where he is Kal-El hears his name and realizes he’s face to face with his Kryptonian parents Jor-El and Lara.
Meanwhile at the Daily Planet building in Metropolis Lois is frantically working on the story of Superman leaving earth when Jimmy interrupts and tells her that the assignment can go to someone else because she’s distraught but she tells him it’s her beat and she’ll finish the story. Then she breaks down and cries.
Back in Kandor Superman hangs up the tights and puts on Kryptonian clothing to become Kal-El. Lara gives Kal the rundown of how they were transported to the bottled city just before Krypton exploded. While Kal explains how he was found by the Kents who raised him as their son.
Lara takes Kal for a walk to a zoo on Kandor where a Thought Beast reads Kal’s mind and shows an image of Lois. Lara is happy that her son at least found true love. They are interrupted by Jor-El who tells his son even with his own intellect he cannot fathom why Brainiac has done this. He tells him he’s tired and would like his son to takeover his duties in the bottled city. His son agrees.
Back at the Daily Planet Jimmy gives Lois an envelope brought by a special courier and tells her he misses Superman too. The letter informs Lois that this mysterious person knows where Superman is. She comes alone to the warehouse district where she’s quickly chloroformed. When she awakes she’s in the presence of Lex Luthor. But before she can pepper spray him he tells her that he knows how to get Superman back!
Story – 4: Wow! A lot happens in this issue. Things that were hinted at in the first issue are starting to be explained. Jor-El and Lara are alive and living in Kandor! I think we all expected this from the beginning but it’s nice to see it realized. Clark (excuse me) Kal looks good in those Kryptonian duds. The moments he has with Lara are lovely and show despite the circumstances mother and son have a bond. Lara understands his feelings for Lois and this gives us some insight into her character. While Jor-El seems pleased his son has “returned” I felt some coldness between them. Yes he wants him to takeover but it seems out of obligation. We’ll get more into Jor-El’s plans and the rest of Krypton’s citizens in later issues but I think it was a good introduction to these characters.
Lex what are you up to? Well we’ll soon find out. It seems obvious that he put some sort of “bug” on Superman’s cape (as long as he didn’t “tug” it. Ahem!) I suppose he’s tracking Superman so he can try to bring him back. With some nefarious reasons of course.
That scene with Superman saying goodbye to Lois and the look on her face was heartbreaking. This will take its toll on Lois. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as her reaction in “Superman II” after the Phantom Zone villains attacked. But that look of anguish on her face tells me this is going to be really hard on her.
I did enjoy the Easter eggs throughout. The Batman references most of all. And I guess Brainiac shrunk a Thanagarian city during his travels. Interesting.
Overall this was an emotional issue and nice introduction to the city of Kandor. The streets of Metropolis seemed right out of 1978. And the love the city has for its hero was very touching.
Art – 4: Torres is still on point with these characters. Again the likenesses are very good without being overwhelming. His Brando’s not too bad either. Bellaire’s colors are very vivid. There’s a scratchiness to it but it works with Torres’ drawing and inks.
Cover Art – 2: I’m not familiar with Amy Reeder but her Superman is really off. I like that he’s framed by Jor-El and Lara’s arms while holding hands but I just can’t get over her drawing of Superman.
Variant Cover Art – 5: This is a beautiful cover by Lee Weeks. It perfectly encapsulates the relationship between Superman and Lois. Both characters are drawn perfectly and the Daily Planet globe never looked better.
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