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Superman #7 - To Hel and Back Review

4

There seems to be a 'new direction' happening as we see some minor changes and Superman prepares to finally face an opponent worthy for his appearance in the "New 52." Could this be what we've been waiting for?

The Good

It's not a secret that many of us have been disappointed in how SUPERMAN has been progressing. Especially when you compare it to ACTION COMICS, we've been left wondering why Superman got so…boring in the five plus years between the two titles. Touted as the beginning of an 'insanely epic arc,' it's a little odd that that there's a feeling of taking a few steps back since we're only seven issues into this reboot/revamp/reset/whatever. That being said, things are indeed looking up.

Seeing Superman in action is what we want to see. There is some interaction and reaction from the public whose lives he's trying to save. While it could be a little annoying, it also served to inform us what their opinion is on the Man of Steel. Too often Superman was portrayed as the savior to everyone. The public loved and adored him. That may be the case for many, but it makes perfect sense that some might be skeptical or even fearful. For me, the greatest part in this first battle was the tiny detail of his cape withstanding blasts from his opponent. We saw in ACTION COMICS #2 that it's pretty much invulnerable and its little details like this that can bring a smile to my face.

Clark is finally showing up for work at the Daily Planet. This is where things get a little confusing. I was under the impression that the Daily Planet as a newspaper was pretty much finished. Or more that we haven't really seen mention of it as the focus has been on the television network. Lois had been given a promotion and was pretty much running the digital division of the new network. Jimmy has been running around with the news crew, reporting to Lois rather than taking pictures all the time. Yet we see Clark working at a computer at his cubicle with Perry White barking orders while Lois is off to the side trying to talk to Clark along with Jimmy. I'm not exactly sure what this means in terms of the television station angle but Clark working a beat for the Daily Planet is one thing that I'm happy to see. He made it clear in the first issue that we didn't agree with the merging of the two companies. The beat he is assigned to will make things fun and interesting to see.

Then we have the main villain. If you've seen the solicits and the text on the cover, you know Superman will be facing Helspont. This former WildCATS villain should prove to be an interesting opponent for Superman. This reinforces the merging of the DC and Wildstorm Universes and opens the door to new possibilities for Superman. Helspont arriving definitely is an improvement over the nameless alien villain of the month we'd been seeing in the first few issues.

The art looks good here. Artists have to be conscious to draw this slightly younger Superman rather than rely on the standard familiar depiction we've seen for decades. Like it or not, Superman is younger and that needs to be shown. The details during the battle and the environments were nice to see. Jurgens and Merino are getting into their groove. We have the updated Superman but there is still a feel of the classic Superman stories I read when I was younger.

The Bad

I mentioned the public's opinion. We know in the pages of last week's JUSTICE LEAGUE that the public is overjoyed anytime the League shows up. I did enjoy the differences in opinions but some of them started getting a little ridiculous.

I felt a little confused at seeing the bullpen in the Daily Planet with Lois and Jimmy running around. They may not work directly for the Planet and it is possible they could head over to whatever floor the paper is being run on but it's not something we've really seen in this series. It's great to have this familiar feel back but I felt like I missed something.

We are finally getting a decent villain for Superman to fight. Unfortunately that fight doesn't quite take place just yet. Superman does have to fight some others before that fight can happen. It is an improvement from what's been going on before but still feels like a build up filling in the time for the big event.

The Verdict

I've been sadly losing interest in this Superman title more and more each month. Finally it appears that the sun is coming out. Things are looking up for this series. With the intention of a new direction (or at least new story arc), there aren't huge drastic changes but you can feel that an effort is being made to up the ante for this book. That feeling is much appreciated and having Helspont around the corner is enough to get me excited for future issues (I cannot wait to see what he has planned for the DC Universe). This is starting to feel like the Superman comic I've been waiting for.

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