Superman the diplomat. That's the first thing I got from reading the first few pages of the latest issue of SUPERMAN by Scott Lobdell, illustrated by Kenneth Rocafort. The issue opens with a very concise recap of what has happened thus far, but before that though readers are introduced to Lex Luthor. It's a really well written scene, so far, that reminded me a little bit of the Lex we saw in ALL-STAR SUPERMAN years ago (and yes, that is a huge compliment).
One of the highlights for me in this issue was the interaction and dialogue between Superman and Superboy. It feels really natural and flows really well. From the start of this issue we see a different side to Superman. He's not a push-over, he's strong and he'll respect other people in power, but he will get what he wants. I think the dialogue in the scenes at the start of this comic are key and were, for the most part, really well written.
Lobdell really captures the snarky and superior nature of Lex Luthor, even after he's been "shackled" at Superman's request. It's a great scene that really plays up on this idea that these two characters are bitter rivals. The dialogue here is great and will really draw you into the story -- I was really impressed with the interactions between characters in this issue.
The final scene in this issue was a little bit cheesy. Although it's nice to see Lobdell give a nod to the current status of Superman's romantic life, I don't know how necessary it was. Additionally, some of the dialogue felt really forced when Superboy talks about being a member of the Teen Titans. Aside from these two moments, though, this was a solid issue.
I think the only thing I would change about this issue is the fact that it doesn't stress enough (in my opinion) the idea that the Superman could potentially get his biological parents back. He could bring back his home planet, turn back the hands of time and live a life on Krypton. Either that or save Earth. I think Lobdell could explore Clark's character a bit more through this dilemma, and I expect that he will in the coming issue (or at least I hope he will). Other than that there is a lot of really strong dialogue here, and a lot of great character development between Clark, Lex and Superboy. This is one of the best issues of SUPERMAN I have read since the start of the 'New 52,' and it reminded me a lot of the Superman and Lex relationship we saw in ALL-STAR SUPERMAN.