Superman: Space Age #2
Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 27, 2022
Cover date: November 2022
“Superman: Space Age – Book Two”
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Mike Allred
Cover: Mike Allred
Variant Covers: Dave Johnson and Nick Derington
Reviewed by: Marc Lax
It’s 1972. Superman stops a pimp from killing a prostitute.
Clark and Lois are at The Seagull Bar discussing the Watergate Break in.
Lois has an interview with Superman.
Superman saves Earth from an Asteroid.
Superman happily signs a lunchbox with his S symbol on it for a young boy then buys flowers for Lois before their interview. The interview with Lois doesn’t go well. She tells him since the disarmament the world has another threat… Superman. With all his power how can the world trust him?
Superman seeks advice from the Jor-El hologram at the Fortress. He tells him the universe has much bigger threats to deal with than just Superman. We see Brainiac destroying a world.
Batman patrols Gotham. After the destruction of Coast City he (Bruce Wayne) stepped down as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. The streets of Gotham are more important than sitting in a leisure suit in a boardroom making decisions. He must wear another suit to combat the cities problems. He later questions his decision.
With the departure of Bruce Wayne as CEO of Wayne Enterprises Maxwell Lord is placed in the position of CEO.
Batman patrols Gotham in the Batmobile lamenting Maxwell Lord’s decision of building suburbs outside of Gotham making people abandon the city, slowly killing the city and its people. All because he, as CEO, wasn’t there to protect them.
Meanwhile buildings in Gotham are being burned down.
At the Hall of Justice the heroes are deciding what they can do for the people of Earth. After Wonder Woman remarks that not killing people should be one of their core policies Green Arrow remarks how they kill people every day just by the decisions that they make. Choosing who to save and who not to save. Batman and Green Arrow quit the League in disgust.
While Batman stakes out Wayne Enterprises he thinks about what is called The Trolley Problem. A trolley is heading full speed toward five people who’ve been tied to the track. The only way to stop it is to switch the track. But if you switch the track it will kill an employee working on the other track. Would you trade five lives for one knowing you had a hand in a person’s death? Batman says yes. Not to save lives but to deny the person who tied them to the track, letting them know they failed. That way they always fail. Challenging to say the least. With that he breaks into Wayne Enterprises and finds the files he needs to incriminate Maxwell Lord.
Superman questions the existence of the League and the Hall of Justice. He encounters The Flash who is diffusing a bomb. Many times in his exploits he has to save people from a bomb but then what do you do with the bomb? So he’s practicing at the Hall. Better than his apartment.
Clark returns to the Daily Planet only to be told he’s off The Watergate story. Lois wants it. After accidentally giving her some info he gathered she runs off to deal with the story.
While saving a ship at sea Superman deals with the trolley problem. Do you save the five at cost to the one? No. You should try to save them all. Even if you fail you remain the kind of person who would do whatever it takes to save six. You must be the person who refuses to play god even if you have that kind of power.
Clark goes back to Smallville to see his folks. Girl problems. He tells Ma that when he’s with Lois they seem to understand each other but when he’s with her as Superman she seems to understand him even better than he understands himself. Clark starts thinking about secret identities and why they’re important. After some great advice from his mother he decides to try another interview with Lois who sees the kind of person Superman really is when he flies an old woman to her apartment because the elevator’s broken. While having tea with her Superman tells Lois no matter how hard people’s problems are he is there to show them somebody cares. Later they discuss the war. Both their fathers served. Superman relates a story about his father which explains why he feels it’s important to give people hope.
Interlude: Earth 832654-z. The Superman of this Earth wonders why he stays on a desolate planet sucked dry by Brainiac. Brainiac returns to elicit Superman’s help because someone is destroying the Multiverse. The Anti-Monitor. Superman refuses. He sadly continues to walk the desolate Earth.
Back on this story’s current Earth, Green Lantern tells the League (along with a reluctant Batman) about the coming of Brainiac. Superman realizes that just by his very existence it proves that there are powerful beings in the universe. They must prepare to fight Brainiac now.
Superman takes off into space to investigate. He finds planet after planet stripped bare by Brainiac.
REVIEWER’S NOTE: As you can see this story is just as epic as last issue and we’re just barely halfway through. While this issue seems to be a more Superman/Batman issue, Clark/Superman still takes center stage as we learn more about his relationship with Lois and his career at the Daily Planet. It shows us the early workings of the Justice League. While most members seem to want to make a difference, Batman is reluctant. Thinking they’re wasting their time he quits. Superman and Batman are on two very different sides early on in this issue and their different solutions to “the trolley problem” illustrates this quite well. Though no matter each one’s take they both want the same thing.
Lois and Clark’s relationship starts to blossom, though slowly, it shows how well they work together. Though in the end isn’t it Lois who gets the story? But she starts to see another side of Superman. Not as an all powerful, dangerous being but as someone who’s really here to give hope to humanity. The scenes between Brainiac and Superman on the alternate Earth is very interesting. We got a hint of the Crisis last issue and this scene illustrates how important it will be to this story. The League is now going to face its first major threat. But are they ready?
Back to synopsis…
Superman and Lois yet again have an interview. He tries to explain who he is more clearly. Then tells Lois about Kryptonite. He explains that radiation from Krypton’s red sun can effect rocks, metals, anything absorbing the red sun radiation. He tells Lois this because he wants her to understand that if anyone goes to the trouble of looking for it than he must have done something to deserve it. He tells her they must trust each other.
Later at the Daily Planet cafeteria several of the Washington correspondents complain that their credentials got pulled because Perry “let a dame” work on the Watergate story. Lois’ investigating has Washington spooked. After they give Lois the business Clark lays into them. But good. They end up walking away with their heads down and Perry announces that he’s found a new editor to replace the outgoing… Clark!
Later at the Seagull bar Lois and Clark discuss what happened and how much they’ve gone through and realize that after all these years they both love each other.
Later Batman catches a couple of crooks torching a building. In the ensuing fight the Molotov cocktail explodes burning some of the crooks and burning the building that Batman tried to save to the ground. Next morning at breakfast Bruce Wayne reads the paper. He sees the story he handed the paper about Maxwell Lord and the corruption at Wayne Enterprises wasn’t taken seriously. So Bruce has to come up with another plan. He throws a fundraiser at Wayne Manor. Inviting Lord and all of Gotham’s elite. Later Batman puts his plan in action. Alfred playing Bruce Wayne while wearing Bruce’s suit is thrown through the window of Wayne Manor with a hood over his head. Batman follows and threatens “Bruce” and everyone at the party. After roughing Lord up he gets him to confess. Then he blows up Wayne Enterprises and Wayne Manor showing Lord that for every building he blew up that night Batman would blow up two of his.
1974. Lois and Clark stop at a newsstand where the headline is Nixon resigns after Lois reveals what happened at the Watergate Hotel. What no Woodward and Bernstein? I like it better this way. Anyway, before Clark can reveal his identity to Lois she does it for him. Clark asks how she knew. Well she is the investigative journalist that broke Watergate after all. You think she wouldn’t guess?
They marry. A year later Clark takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude for the first time along with their baby son where they both meet the algorithmic copy of Jor-El. After he shows them the bottled city of Kandor Jor-El gets a bad feeling. Brainiac is here.
Brainiac goes right to the Hall of Justice and confronts the League. He threatens Earth but before he leaves he tells them about the Anti Monitor and how he’s destroying the Multiverse. He asks Superman for help but when he refuses he attacks the Hall taking the League unawares. His skull ship turns into a red sun and he zaps Superman weakening him. At some point during the meeting Flash sped away to Brainiac’s ship and planted all those bombs he was practicing on. It barely delays Brainiac who shows up in a smaller ship. Green Lantern confronts him and is killed. Suddenly the ship is attacked. Batman has come to the rescue. After Brainiac sees that he’s outmatched he flees. Later in Brainiac’s ship he talks to other Brainiacs throughout the Multiverse telling them again he was refused by a Superman.
The heroes later gather at Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan’s funeral. They say Bruce Wayne, who is now back at the helm of Wayne Enterprises, is going to rebuild the Hall of Justice. Batman tells them he knows. Later Clark goes to the Fortress where he’s greeted by Lois and his son.
End of Book 2.
Story – 5: Well that was some issue! I mean I haven’t enjoyed a book like this in years! I’m enjoying the current Super books. But nothing can beat this story. The second half of this issue brings everything together that started in the first half. Bruce’s realization that as helpful it is to be Batman he can also do so much for Gotham in the boardroom as long as he’s running it. Clark learns that laying everything out on the table with Lois and gaining the trust of the people of Earth is honesty and truth. He must keep his secret identity but as Superman he will bring hope and honesty and show how there will always be someone on their side. While I like the interplay with the Justice League they don’t seem as organized as you’d think they’d be after being together for several years. But they never had to face anything like Brainiac before. Hopefully they’ll work better together for the coming Crisis.
There are several Easter Eggs along the way. The Seagull (Siegel) Bar. Joe’s shoe store (Shuster). There’s even a “Golden Girls” reference I think. The new suburb outside of Gotham is called Shady Pines. If you’re familiar with that show you will definitely get that little nugget.
Superman seems almost ineffectual in the beginning. Oh he’s still the great hero but he’s still finding his way. The joke about him saving the Earth from an asteroid goes a long way. It shows what he can do because of his power but he realizes there’s so much more. The development between Lois and Clark’s relationship is beautifully done. Between last issue and this you can see, despite a rivalry, the two are slowly falling in love. I’m glad they showed the marriage and birth of Jonathan in this issue so they could get to the heart of the matter next time without the “will they or won’t they” interplay. Batman blowing up Wayne Enterprises and Wayne Manor to prove that Maxwell Lord is a criminal scumbag? Wow! While we recognize our heroes Russell and Allred give enough twists to their characters to make it fresh.
There is so much to love about this book, it’s hard to get to it all. Read it yourself. I know you’ll feel the same.
Art – 5: Allred rarely disappoints and this book shows some of his best work. As fantastic as the premise is there’s a certain realness about his work here. Truly fabulous.
Cover Art – 4: The cover does not disappoint either. Though it’s your typical “heroes running at the reader” cover it still looks fantastic.
1:50 Variant Cover Art – 4: Superman fighting robots? Need I say anything else?
1:25 Variant Cover Art – 5: When you think of Superman this is the image that comes to mind. The heroic pose while crushing through rocks. Classic!
Check out the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.