Never trust a guy whose head is on fire
So it turns out that even the steepest hill can regain its height. This review typifies my made up metaphor. Last issue was not what I was expecting and now, well read on to find out!
After making Superman witness a possible future, Helspont demands that the Man of Steel help him in his revenge against the Daemonites! Will Superman oblige?
· This issue starts off well with the induced vision Superman experienced of being pursued by Metropolis’ Finest allows for an interesting fight that is excellently portrayed to start the issue off as it displays one of Superman’s fears that he may end up becoming what he is protecting innocent people from.
· And this leads into the brilliant choice of villain for this piece: Helspont. A Wildstorm character incorporated into the New 52 DC Universe, Helspont serves as a poignant example of what Superman could have become. Giffen does a great job introducing Helspont to unfamiliar readers about the character, keeping the essence of his origin as a powerful Daemonite warlord whilst injecting some healthy change to the character, namely that he’s a more successful conqueror than he was before thus meaning that the Daemonites came to fear him and exiled him. Helspont’s dialogue is executed succinctly as well and his power means he comes across as a worthy threat for Superman to face. This is a good thing since Superman is always in need of a diverse, powerful rogues gallery.
· The main reason why Giffen succeeds in making this issue interesting is that he focuses on the dialogue and confrontation between Superman and Helspont. There’s hardly any wishy washy dialogue and Giffen doesn’t focus on boring, done time and time again situations like he did last issue. Instead he allows the opposite natures of Superman and Helspont to bounce off one another, creating great character exploration. In particular, Superman is finally handled with the attention he deserves in this book. At last Superman is portrayed showing the humanity that defines him so much. He talks about being adopted by Earth, being raised by his parents making him the person he is and why he will always stand for the values that mean most to us against those who would threaten them. Best part of this issue and indeed the Superman series so far.
· Inevitably, this leads to a Superman vs Helspont brawl. Given the fact Helspont squared off against Mr Majestic pre New 52, he’s just the type of guy Superman needs to fight. Energy blasts, telekinesis, near invulnerability, Helspont matches up to the Man of Steel in almost every way. This makes for an entertaining action packed slug fest that whilst not having a final victor, makes the end of this issue entertaining nonetheless.
· Jurgens and Merino’s art is at the same level as it was last issue. Rough at times and at range it doesn’t look its best. Despite this, the vibrant colours make the Superman/Helspont clash burst out of the pages and Helspont is once again rendered wonderfully. Then again a guy with a flaming skull is probably a fun thing to draw. And the other people in this issue are drawn well for the most part. Maybe I’m being harsh but I’ve seen better artwork.
· Once again, the cover steals the show. My favourite cover out of all of my comics. The image of Superman with a Daemonite creature burrowing into his mouth along with Helspont’s wonderful glare is pencilled with brilliant finesse by Ivan Reis. And the colours are immediately eye catching.
· However, there are flaws. For example, I don’t see why the Justice League couldn’t be shown taking on a ‘rogue Superman.’ It makes sense that they would be called in to take care of their most powerful member but all we see is a green light and name drops of “Bat guy” and “the Amazon”
· The Lois-Lucy scene was far too rushed as was Jimmy becoming Clark’s temporary roommate. Giffen doesn’t spend enough time on the sub plots in this issue, instead glazing over them incredibly quickly thus affecting the pacing of the story.
· Finally it was never clear where Helspont got to. It would’ve been nice to see where he ended up. Fortunately thanks to the power of Comicvine I found out that he showed up in later issues of Grifter and Voodoo, two of the main Daemonite starring books.
So a roundabout turn suffice to say. I’m still dropping the series to make way for other titles but it’s worth checking this issue out. Borrow it at least, it’s a fun read.