“It’s not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It’s about character.”
Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are a dream team worthy of any DC character. After delivering us a Batman and Robin run worthy of legend, the two separated briefly to tackle Detective Comics/Superman and Robin: Son of Batman. While all of those books were good reads in their own way, the two clearly excel when teamed together. Superman #2 isn’t the kind of comic that just excites or entices, this is the kind of comic readers dream about. Every panel delivers amazing dialogue and iconic images that emphasize one thing: Superman is in the right hands.
While a looming threat grows in the background, Tomasi and Gleason are going for the slow-burn by taking their time on this first arc. There’s more quiet character-building in these pages than in almost the entire run of the New 52 iteration of the man of steel, outside of Grant Morrison’s excellent Action Comics run. Seeing Papa Supes help his son Jonathan with his powers, while simultaneously saving a Submarine crew and mercifully saving a Kraken, is the kind of boy scout multitasking Superman is known for. Much like the the team behind this comic, including Batman and Robin alums inker Mick Gray and colorist John Kalisz, he makes it looks easy.
Gleason’s pencils are exquisite as always. Like Superman #1 this issue is filled with iconic images, not the least of which features Jon taking on a more official role as a memorable character. Gleason knows exactly how to frame a panel, choosing to focus on characters’ expressions even when facing a massive creature. Everything from the fear and worry on Jon’s face to the smile on Superman’s is drawn to perfection. Kalisz’s colors also add life and power into already breathtaking images. The handling of the heat vision, in particular, leaps off the page and burns a metaphorical and unforgettable hole into one’s memory. With the red of their eyes and the blue ocean setting, every inch of the comic bleeds Superman.
The growing threat bears a striking resemblance to the villain of Tomasi’s New 52 ending arc, “The Final Days of Superman.” However, not much is known as little of the enemy is revealed until the last page. The fact that the villain’s appearance is left for the end of the comic shows that Superman and son are at the center of this first story. The art team does well to give a distinct look to the new big bad.
Considering Tomasi’s relationship with Morrison it’s no surprise he has a distinct talent for the Fatherly dynamic. Jon Kent’s emergence is just one shining moment in Superman #2 that still has Superman at the forefront. He does everything he can to sacrifice of himself, while saving every living thing in this issue. It reminds us we’re back to the boy scout in the not-so-red-shorts. In Superman: Rebirth #1 our current Kent-in-residence builds a monument to the deceased Superman of the New 52. That monument isn’t visible in this issue, a testament to the creative team’s desire to move on. Hopefully the character’s sacrifice isn’t lost on the Kent family, or the readers. It took the death of a Superman to “fix” the New 52, but if these are the caliber of stories we’ll get because of it perhaps the loss was a necessary one.
- Family Dynamic
- Gorgeous Art
- Patient, Emotional Storytelling
- Not Enough Pages!