Comic Review – Superman #6 (DC Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

I had a few different books to choose between for this week’s review, but ultimately Superman #6 stood out far above the rest. Issue 6 is the final part (aside from the epilogue) of the ‘Son of Superman’ arc, written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, with Gleason on pencils, Mick Gray on inks, colours by John Kalisz and letters from Rob Leigh.

superman-cover

Cover art by Doug Mahnke & Wil Quintana

The Eradicator has followed Superman, Lois and their son Jon to the moon on his deadly mission to purge the human impurity from Jon and preserve the legacy of Krypton. After destroying Batman’s moonbase over the course of their battle (because of course Batman has a moonbase), Superman finally gains the upper hand with a little help from the souls of the dead from his home planet. But is it enough to defeat the Eradicator, protect his family and gain the trust of his new world?

This creative team has been working together for a while now, and everything I’ve read from them has been of an incredibly high standard, with Batman and Robin #18 back in 2013 from Tomasi, Gleason, Gray and Kalisz being as close to a perfect comic book as I have ever read. Since Rebirth, their take on the Man of Steel and his family has been one of my favourite titles and this issue was a fantastic climax to the Son of Superman story. Putting aside the slightly confusing history of this Superman (with his family the survivors of the pre-Flashpoint universe, now taking the mantle of Superman after the New 52 Superman died. I think), Tomasi and Gleason have been weaving a terrific story about family, responsibility and belonging with some note-perfect character work for all three principle cast members. This finale continues that, with a satisfying conclusion to Clark’s fight with the Eradicator that packs a huge emotional punch too. I’m not going to spoil my favourite part, but anyone who knows me could probably guess it after reading.

superman-interior

Art by Gleason, Gray & Kalisz

Gleason’s pencils are some of the best in modern superhero comics, packed with detail and expression that manages to retain a classic aesthetic while remaining decidedly current. His superb facial work is only trumped by the gorgeous action, both of which are given ample opportunity to be shown off here. It is clear that Gray and Gleason have been working together for a long time, because the inking is of the same level of quality, bringing a clear boldness to all of the line work, and heavy shadowing that somehow makes the book feel more epic in scale (it is after all, a punching match on the moon). This art team is rounded off with Kalisz’s rich and vibrant palette, a far cry from the grim overtones of much of the DC Universe (or the whole movie universe) with bursting primaries that bring a joyful and adventurous sheen to the story.

Of all the Rebirth books I have checked out, I wasn’t expecting Superman to be my clear favourite. But after 6 issues, I’m hoping that we’re going to be treated to this creative team on the Man and Boy of Steel for a long time. Superman #6 is a gorgeous and shining example of superhero comics, and if you’re not reading it you should definitely pick it up at your LCS or all 6 issues digitally now.

Score: 9.5 Lunar Modules out of 10

Comic Review – Cyborg #1 (DC Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I picked up Cyborg #1 from DC Comics, part of their new ‘DCYou!’ initiative that has seen the launch of a few new titles in the wake of Convergence with a focus on underutilised or slightly more eclectic characters that haven’t had a great deal of focus since the line-wide relauch in 2011. Despite being a member of Justice League line up since then, Cyborg hasn’t had his own book like all the other leaguers until now. Cyborg was written by David F. Walker, pencilled by Ivan Reis, inked by Joe Prado, coloured by Adriano Lucas and lettered by Rob Leigh.

Cyborg opens on a battle in a distant galaxy between two tech-based alien races, the Tekbreakers and the Technosapiens, with one group retreating in the face of an insurmountable enemy that seems able to absorb their defeated prey. Throughout the issue we return to this fight, as a few survivors escape and their pursuers analyse the tech they left behind. This action allows the Earth based scenes room to breathe and to be far more character focused, something that Victor Stone has been lacking in the past few years. Here we see him arriving at STAR labs, against the backdrop of protesters outside, to discuss some of his recent upgrades with his father and his team, and to figure out why his tech seemingly evolved in the face of his impending (or actual) death. While Silas Stone fusses over the intricacies of his implants and what they mean, Victor feels more like a lab animal than a son as his father fails once again to truly pay attention to him, focusing on the science of his son rather than the human being that he still is.

By having all of the action and suspense in this issue take place on a different planet, Walker deftly weaves a narrative around the actual character of Cyborg that takes elements that have been touched on very briefly before and constructing a real emotional core for the book. Victor talks about how he would rather be seen as a monster than totally ignored, and struggles with the fact that his father does just that and hardly seems to notice. Talking to his friend Sarah, who treats him like the man he is, allows him to open up and relax, and we get to see how affected he is underneath his stoic JL member facade. Reis’s pencils are strong here as usual, and while the STAR labs scenes look great it is in the action scenes between the Alien/Thing-style Technosapiens and the soldiers that look particularly good. Prado and Lucas finish the art off really well to give a beautiful looking book.

Considering how every other founding member of the current iteration of the Justice League has had a solo book since the DC relaunch and are now all in the low #40 issues, this series has been a long time coming. It’s nice to see then that the first issue of Cyborg indicates that this is the book the character deserves, with a strong emotional resonance and great character work and art. Pick this up at your LCS or digitally now.

Score: 8.5 Operating Systems out of 10