Superman Unchained #2 - Introduction to WRAITH
COVER ART: 5/5
JIM LEE does another fantastic job providing this weeks (07/07/13) best, or at least top 3 covers in comic land. The detail is just phenomenal and there is great patriotism with Superman holding the tattered flag.
STORY ARC: 5/5
SCOTT SNYDER brings the heat onto SUPERMAN in this 2nd issue of Superman Unchained. There are 4 main developments going on in this issue.
1) The immanent escape and plans of LEX LUTHOR.
2) The true plans of the Techno-Terrorist group ASCENSION.
3) The developing trust relationship between BATMAN and Superman.
4) The introduction of the Super Powered character WRAITH who Superman has been looking for.
The first page gives us a glimpse of Lex Luthor in his "prison cell" with a miniature version of METROPOLIS. Why do they let Lex Luthor have anything is so silly to me. Don't they know how brilliant he is? We move on to a classic "Superman saves the day" crisis in DUBAI. The Techo-Terrorists Ascension have set loose upon Dubai an advanced machine designed for construction. Superman has only seconds to save roughly 36,000 people. He wouldn't be Superman if he couldn't do it, and then take care of the rouge machine. We still don't know what Ascension wants, but they are causing a real mess globally.
We move to the BATCAVE, with CLARK KENT coming to pay Batman a visit. Batman is testing Clark by playing "Marco Polo" with him. Batman developed a special suit after their initial meeting using technology to mask Batman's presence, making him invisible to Superman. This is a critical part of their relationship. Batman trusts Superman enough to show him some of his tech that he developed in case he would have to take down Superman, and Superman asks if Batman will be getting rid of the suit now that they are friends. Ultimately, whenever Batman tries to get rid of the suit, ALFRED and his own knowledge of Superman and his own conscience won't allow him to do it. Batman, Alfred, and Superman knows that if Superman ever lost it, the best person to take him out and save the world from Superman, IS Batman.
Superman gets a lead from LOUIS LANE to head to the middle of the desert in UTAH. He is met there by GENERAL LANE. General Lane is cocky to Superman, and rightly so. The General shows Superman a very impressive array of tanks modified with special BLACK HOLE LASERS & BLACK HOLE BULLETS, that have LIGHT VACUUMS inside them. And the General has a LOT of these tanks. A false confrontation causes a trigger happy tank soldier to fire upon Superman. General Lane realizes Superman's retaliation is coming soon and commands his tank squadron to fire again at Superman. We see these tanks do in fact have a profound effect on Superman, as Sups describes immense pain, the inability to control his powers, and then we see him on his knees blood spewing from his ears, nose and mouth. Before the second round can hit Superman, Wraith comes bursting from beneath the surface and blocks the attack from Superman. Wraith, powered by the yellow sun just as Superman is, seems much more powerful than Superman, as the tanks had little to no effect on him and they almost killed Superman. Wraith apparently wants his own shot at fighting Superman, so saving him was just a pause in Superman's punishment.
Scott Snyder leaves us there and takes us to Louis Lane, in an airplane sabotaged by the Ascension. She is going down, and we see Lex Luthor has used his miniature city model to build himself and exosuit that has freed him from his prison.
STORY ART: 5/5
Jim Lee never lets down. This story is brilliantly penciled. The initial battle between Superman and the machine is just flawless, and Lee's rendition of the Batcave was breathtaking. He drew Batman's "invisible suit" fantastically and every splash page delivered 100%. His camera angles, the background detail, the facial expressions, everything was 100% what you would expect from a Superman title and Jim Lee.
Scott Snyder and Jim Lee bring Superman out his comfort zone and test his strength and merit early in this series. I recommend this above all other Superman titles and all other DC titles. This is the book to be reading right now. I can't wait to see where this story takes us.
Next issue: Superman Unchained #3: Who is Wraith?