After failing to rescue several South American villagers,
and following suggestions in the media that he could use his
powers against mankind, Superman is growing unsure of his
place in the world. Can he put his self-doubt aside in time
to save Jimmy and Lois - and himself - from the threat of
terrorists, the cybernetic OMACs, his imperfect duplicate
Bizarro, and a deadly new incarnation of Blackrock...?
graphic novel brings together the stories originally published
in issues 217 and 221-225 of the Superman comic book.
The reason for the absence of 218-220 is one of story consistency.
The events in issue 217 effectively prequel the events that
follow in issues 221-225, such as Superman's creation of a
new Fortress of Solitude in the Peruvian rainforest. The volume
also includes the Bizarro/Zoom race sequence (four pages)
from Action Comics issue 831.
title of this book refers, of course, to the emotional journey
that Superman must undertake. He's certainly been having a
tough time of it lately. Apart from his failure to save the
Peruvian villagers, Clark has recently lost his job, his marriage
has been under strain, he has been used as an unwilling pawn
of Maxwell Lord, and Wonder Woman's response to Lord's actions
(depicted in the graphic novel Sacrifice)
has brought the superhero community into serious disrepute.
Jimmy Olsen also undergoes a journey of his own. Having taken
Clark's old job, Jimmy initially disrespects his colleague.
He soon learns the error of his ways, though, first of all
when Lois knocks him down a peg or two, and secondly when
he fails to manage the kind of workload that Clark was capable
of (after all, Jimmy doesn't have the advantage of a super-fast
Writer Mark Verheiden is no stranger to interpersonal angst,
having worked as a staff writer on the "teen Superman" show
Smallville. Lex Luthor's back-story takes a distinctly
Smallville turn during the penultimate chapter. Here
we learn that Lex was transferred to Smallville High School
when he was 18. During his Smallville days, his only real
friend was a farm boy called Clark. Sound familiar? This chapter
cuts between the physical trials that Lex and Superman are
separately undergoing, comparing and contrasting their thoughts
and methods in a way that would not have seemed out of the
place in the recent Lex
Luthor: Man of Steel graphic novel.
other villains are fairly impressive, though Bizarro's dialogue
has taken an even sillier turn than before. Rife with mirrored-meaning
contradictions, it's often hard to tell what he is supposed
to be saying. Neither Bizarro's story arc nor that of the
OMACs is resolved in this volume.
art is generally good, though a little inconsistent as several
other artists aside from Ed Benes and Thomas Derenick contribute.
A noticeable and slightly unsettling trend is the way in which
the artists exploit the female form. For instance, we are
treated to detailed views of Lois's tight tracksuit bottoms,
new Daily Planet employee Kelly's various revealing
outfits, Supergirl's midriff and micro-skirt, and the new
female Blackrock's barely-there rocky costume. Not that I
mind personally, but this is only going to lend support to
the widely held misconception that comics are read only by
Journey is OK, though it isn't as Earth-shattering as
certain other recent volumes. Worth making the journey to
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