Superman: Villains #1
Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 12, 2020
Cover date: May 2020
“Clark Kent Told the World He is Superman”
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction & Jody Houser
Artists: Michael Gaydos, Riley Rossmo, Scott Godlewski, Bryan Hitch, Cully Hammer, Steve Lieberman & Jim Mahfouz
Cover: Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair
Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
Superman heads to the Kent Farm after what seems like forever. Jonathan jokes about being kidnapped by one of Superman’s bizarre enemies but Superman smiles. He tells Jonathan and Martha he has kitted out the farm with cloaking technology that the Bat Cave uses. Jonathan then asks one final question that puts the Man of Steel on the spot.
Superman, Lois & Perry meet with Daily Planet publisher Marisol Leone. Superman asks that his reporters salary is donated to the Firefighters Association of Metropolis. Leone refuses and instead offers to make a larger one time donation from the Daily Planet. Lois realizes it’s a move to hide the fact Leone pays a paltry salary to her journalists and asks Perry to intervene.
In the newsroom Superman tries to apologize and reach out to his colleagues about the new status quo. Trish Q quashes the conversation by offering the support of the Planeteers. Firefly chooses this exact moment to attack Metropolis and Superman readies to stop his attack.
In Lexcorp, Lex activates his smart speaker assistant O.T.I.S. and is tortured by message after message from the Joker. As he stares at the morning edition of the Daily Planet the headline is the absolute last straw.
Toyman remembers when he used a giant cat bot robo suit to attack Metropolis. Winslows mulls over why Superman revealing he was formerly Clark Kent is torturing him. The villain reveals that he had always thought Superman was condescending but now he realizes he was reaching out to him to be better as just another guy. The fact he had a secret identity was something he had never considered.
Now sitting in prison he is contacted by Checkmate who recruit him to take down Leviathan. Thinking back to Superman’s coming out speech, Winslow accepts.
Perry meets Lois and Superman on the roof of the Daily Planet building and Perry reveals Leone’s offer of a raise when she bought the paper suckered him in. He never suspected it was part of a plan, thinking she was rewarding him for his years of service to the paper.
Lois surprises Perry by handing over Luthor’s Dark Gift. The evidence to expose Marisol Leone as a crime boss and suggests he publish it before the Daily Star does. Steve Lombard meanwhile struggles with the fact Superman was Clark Kent and how it affected him. Elsewhere Perry stares out over the city and realizes there is only one choice and with it, Lex Luthor wins.
On Warworld Mongul intercepts an Earth broadcast and asks one of his minions to explain it. When told that Superman had chosen to live as a human but was now coming out as Superman full time, Mongul is enraged, a being with the power of a god, who is one of the few to ever have defeated him had chosen to live his life as a mortal. Why would he want to be one of them when he could have ruled them?
While enraged he is distracted and murdered by his own son who promptly declares himself the new ruler of Warworld. He then decides to defeate the man who caused his father distress… Superman!
In National City, Supergirl watches Superman’s coming out speech and is enraged. She felt Superman forced her to become Kara Danvers when all she wanted to be was Supergirl full time. After forcing her to live a life she never wanted he comes out as Clark Kent?
As Kara hovers over National City she overhears Ben Rubel lamenting the loss of Kara Danvers and his feelings of betrayal that she was not dead all this time. He feels that he didn’t matter to her and Kara’s realizes this is actually true.
She’s no more Kara Danvers as much as Superman is no more Clark Kent. Living life as a human, living by their values, morals and rules makes Kryptonians weak.
Kara, under The Batman Who Laughs’ infection swears a terrible revenge and decides to begin where Clark Kent was ‘born’. In space, Bizarro World airs Superman’s speech and in warped logic, Bizarro struggles with his own identity.
Lois approaches Leone with her story as one last attempt to reach out to the publisher. Leone is uncooperative and uninterested, her attitude proves to be her downfall as Lois publishes the exposé. Within seconds it goes viral and nothing will be the same again…
To Be Continued in Superman and Action Comics…
Story – 3: Essentially at its core this issue is a waste of your time and money. This issue suffers more than “Superman: Heroes #1” as the narrative is absent this time. None of the cut scenes connect in any meaningful way. Not only that, due to behind the scenes editorial issues most of the ‘revelations’ have already come to pass in the regular books meaning this issue is the equivalent of a sitcom doing a flashback compilation episode.
Mongul has been on the attack for two months. Mongul is dead replaced by Mongul junior? Okay. Who cares. Why does it matter? This change was done to address why Mongul speaks differently now? Really?
Supergirl’s plan has been in the off for four months and in fact is only one month away from cancellation rendering her ‘threat’ all bluster. Not only that, Wonder Woman is the one taking her down. Some revenge plot against Superman…
The logic that Jonathan and Martha are in a now cloaked Kent Farm is bizarre. How does it work? If a villain looks up the location that is recorded on land registry and finds it gone, they’ll know it’s cloaked and kill them. Are the Kents prisoners? Any time they want a coffee with friends or need to head into town for shopping they’ll be exposed. How far does the cloaking extend? Now villains know Superman hails from Smallville surely if the Kents can’t be found the population of Smallville are equally under threat?
It was nice to see Jonathan & Martha back of course but I’d like them to do more than just hide in their farm waiting on visits from Superman. They were fully fleshed out characters before, not comic relief.
The only real interesting story is one that we’ve been waiting for since Dark Gifts ended last year. Leone, the Red Mist and the Invisible Mafia being taken out is a positive thing as none of their stories have really worked. Still this issue’s six pages was not worth the pay off.
Rant over because I know none of this will be addressed and I’ll be accused of looking into the story too logically.
Art – 3: The art is all over the place. No segment really gets enough to showcase the art talent. I’m being generous with a three as I know how hard it must have been to put this issue together. The Daily Planet scenes had a certain charm to them but aside from that it was a difficult read as every single scene was cut into tiny chunks, forcing a disconnect with the reader where it should flow narratively and visually. The return of the Kents was by far the most rounded and well done, short, sweet and a personal favorite.
Cover Art – 4: I’m incensed with this cover. It’s cocky, it’s cool, it promises an explosive confrontation. In one respect it’s a fantastic piece of art but in another it’s a huge lie. The promise of said scene is enough to upset any fan expecting to see Superman face off against the Legion of Doom and instead, the pay off is Joker laughing at Lex over voice mail… The only reason I’ve rated it high is because it actually looks fantastic as a piece. As a cover it’s full of promise. If you’ve read the issue and disagree, I’d love to hear about it.
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