Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman Special #1

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Superman Special #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 16, 2018

Cover date: July 2018

Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason/Mark Russell/Ian Flynn
Artists: Scott Godlewski/Bryan Hitch/Kaare Andrews
Cover: Jorge Jimenez & Alejandro Sanchez

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

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“For Those Who Serve”

Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Artist: Scott Godlewski

Jon is unsettled when he wakes from a troubled night’s sleep to see Captain Storm’s wooden leg.

When Clark returns home, Jon expresses his dismay that they may have made a mistake leaving the Captain on Dinosaur Island.

Entering the Fortress they activate Manchester Black’s energy cube.

On Dinosaur Island Captain Storm has grown tired of fighting for his life against the endless hordes of monsters, when Clark and Jon arrive, literally in the belly of a beast he is more than happy to leave, but not before Storm makes one last trip to the Loser’s Cave.

First stop in the present day is a visit to Victor Stone aka Cyborg at S.T.A.R. Labs to replace Storm’s leg with a new cybernetic one.

Storm reveals what he retrieved from the cave to Jon and Clark; the dog tags of his fallen team. They need to be returned to the soldier’s families so they may finally rest in peace. Storm bids them farewell and tries to adjust to the modern world as he begins his quest.

Jon looks proudly at the wooden leg as his first trophy rather than a broken promise, while Clark has some explaining to do about sneaking off to the past without telling Lois.

The End.

5Story – 5: The Captain Storm story was something that always seemed bitter sweet and a loose end but here we find that his story finally has a more satisfying ending. It is nice to see Jon has his father’s determination and as this follows up on Manchester Black it shows progression in his character. This is not really a Superman story, this is about the legacy of The Losers but that doesn’t mean the Kents play any less of a role.

The effects of the journey with Storm show that there are long term effects and ramifications to their decisions. I loved the scene with Lois, it was short, sweet and brings the story full circle. Jon finally feels what it’s like to be a hero and Gleason and Tomasi deliver a wonderful story in the process. Of the three stories presented this was my favorite, only Krypto appearing would have made it even better!

5Art – 5: A beautifully illustrated return to Dinosaur Island. Godlewski does a great job revisiting the Island that Doug Mahnke built in the original story. The color really adds to the optimistic feel of the story, adding more weight to the adventure aspect of journey. There is something so emotional seeing Jon distraught over his broken promise, then again when he examines the dog tag later that only the art could bring to the story.

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“Strays and Strangers”

Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Bryan Hitch

A giant bug has found its way into Metropolis attracting the attention of a weakened Superman, returning from a mission in space.

The public urge him to kill the creature but Superman refuses, his mind wanders to when he asked his father to do the very same to a stray dog that had snuck onto the Kent Farm in Smallville. Jonathan reminded Clark that all life is precious and Superman decides to investigate the ‘monster’ more closely.

The poor creature is from Atlantis and panicked by losing its way. Clark helps it return to the ocean but discovers it caused a building to become structurally unsound. Everyone has evacuated except an elderly man trapped inside. Superman races to the rescue of course but the old man begs for his photographs of his wife to be retrieved before they are lost forever.

The building begins to fall but still Superman goes in. He is shocked to see a frightened puppy desperate to escape.

With Clark not back to full strength he has to make a choice…

5Story – 5: I am broken. As a pet owner, I was praying out loud for the puppy.

It was nice to see Clark remembering a lesson from his father, I wish we had more of these moments to see how the Kents directly impacted the life choices of the Man of Tomorrow. You might not agree, but I felt he made all the right choices even with the giant bug. The fact he didn’t dash in with fists flying or heat vision blasting shows just how Russell really understands the core of the character.

5Art – 5: Hitch had a memorable run in Justice League and I can’t get enough of his rendition of Superman. Just as Godlewski understood how to convey adventure, Hitch knows how to channel emotion and the iconic feel of Superman. Often Clark is lost to his costume by many writers who see him as a set of powers rather than a fully fledged character. I’m glad as a fan I got a chance to see Hitch make Clark take centre stage (even in the cape).

“Split Decision”

Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Kaare Andrews

Since Lena Luthor’s attack on Metropolis (in the pages of Superwoman) the Atomic Skull has become an invaluable asset to the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit under the mentoring of Maggie Sawyer. When Skull escaped Stryker’s Island he did so with the help of the villain named Shockwave and the MSCU has finally tracked him down. Skull is shocked to find he must team-up with his only nemesis, Superman, to complete the mission.

His memories of humiliation at the hands of the Man of Steel resurface, but after building a new life Albert tries his best to keep them at bay.

When they confront Shockwave, Superman is dealt a punishing blow of energy. The villain has fine tuned his power enough to kill Superman and it is up to Atomic Skull to save him. As Skull watches Superman weaken more and more he finds himself able to absorb Shockwave’s power and turns it on his former friend. Superman gets a second wind and defeats Shockwave and as he takes the criminal into custody he thanks Skull.

Albert struggles with the new status quo with Superman and as he watches the hero fly away he looks down at his hands as they crackle with his new powers.

What could this mean for the future?

4Story – 4: This story is obviously setting up something in Atomic Skull’s future and that will be interesting to see. Phil Jimenez gave his character a new dimension by allowing him to progress and turn over a new leaf. I’m a bit sad that Superwoman was not at this story’s core as Skull has moved on so much from his days as a Superman foe. It is ambiguous what may happen beyond this story but aside from a slight examination of his feelings and Superman’s optimism this didn’t really go anywhere.

Time will tell, I guess…

4Art – 4: There was a lot of action and the potential for a lot of visual punch, it just doesn’t feel like that was explored enough. The inking was overly heavy at times and a lot of the panels relied on the coloring. Andrews handled both with expertise but I wish there was more of a balance in the composition.

5Cover Art – 5: Jimenez does it again with a cover bursting with fun and adventure.

I cannot fault it because this is Superman at his best. Jorge Jimenez makes no secret that he has a passion for the character and you can really see it. Would have been nice to see Jon flying alongside Clark but this is still one of my favorite covers – BRAVO!

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