Can you believe we're already up to chapter thirty? It feels like only yesterday my jaw dropped from the initial series of bleak twists and turns. Anyway, in this issue, writer Tom Taylor grabs our hand and takes us down memory lane. Instead of following-up on last week's violent turn of events, the writer is aiming to give us a break from the gloom and doom, much like he did with the Harley Quinn and Green Arrow team-up. Except instead of big laughs, he's taking us back in time, delivering a classic vibe and proving he's more than capable of writing an inspiring and humble version of Big Blue as well. We jump back to a happier time and, I'll be honest, it's a refreshingly pleasant and lighthearted ride. There's often so much chaos and imminent threats impacting the entire world, so it's nice to take a breather from all the madness and urgency and just see Superman doing what he does best: serve as a beacon for hope and inspiration. He may be one of the most powerful individuals on the planet, but that by no means places him above the rest of us. This chapter is an excellent reminder of that.
Without giving too much away, this issue revolves around Kal taking his time to help a kid out with a relatively minor problem. It's not life threatening by any means, but that's exactly the point. This chapter strives to show us Superman once cared about individuals and making a difference on a personal level instead of growing colder and focusing on "the greater good." The issue works because of Taylor's tight script (surprise, surprise). There's an interaction with Lois that's sure to give you a chuckle and it of course has an organic way of drawing us back into the present. It almost feels like this is Tom speaking from the heart about the alternate version of Superman he has to write on a weekly basis. Despite the world having Superman's back after the Apokolips invasion, this new character seems like how Taylor would have reacted if he was in the world.
Bruno Redondo's art helps bring this optimistic world to life. Everything from the child's awe as he first meets Superman to Clark's kind array of expressions definitely sells the moments in Taylor's script. The coloring team also does a fine job. The characters look good and all, but I think the colorists excelled when it came to the environment. The bright green grass, the sky turning to different shades as the sun set... it's all well done and creates a more immersive experience.
Assuming Taylor does dive into it, I think this chapter would be more effective post-Green Arrow. That's apparently a big deal for Superman and a new low, so reflecting on the polar opposite take of the character immediately afterwards could have been more powerful. And let's be honest: if anyone should write Green Arrow's death, it's Taylor.
While I don't mind the departure from the main narrative, I'm left wondering about Martian Manhunter. The video game's ending implies the character is alive 5 years from those events, so are we just supposed to assume he did indeed survive the previous ending which seemingly implied he died, or will Taylor follow-up on that? I suppose we'll have to wait and see.
Chapter 30 is a heartwarming experience that'll make you appreciate the classic age of optimism and even miss it a good deal. Sure, it's a total departure from the dramatic overall narrative, but it's a welcome one thanks to Taylor's sharp script and Redondo's solid work with lively emotions. Overall, it's a pleasant little break from the dire and tense events this series usually throws our way and it's definitely one you'll appreciate.