writer: Geoff Johns / pencils: John Romita, Jr
While there isn’t much debate that since the creative team of Johns and Romita took over Superman, that the book has become not only coherent and entertaining again, but something worth looking forward to each month. It hasn’t had a whole lot of fireworks thus far and that is intentional. Johns has been more concerned with building Kent’s new status quo just as much as Superman, and his introduction of Ulysses has been deliberate and hand crafted. The lack of big bang though, is probably ending with this issue, as the inevitable “Superman is gonna have to do something about this well-meaning meta-human” storyline we all knew was coming, is here.
The issue itself revolves around Superman and Ulysses dealing with the fallout of the Machinist attacking them and using an innocent (but I guess already dead?) man as his proxy. Which is a little convenient since Ulysses put that hot shit through his chest last issue, but I guess we can work with that explanation. As I’ve pointed out before, I do like how Ulysses does have a unique powers set compared to Superman, which serves a couple of purposes. Unlike Superman vs Zod, it won’t just be about how Superman breaks the stalemate of their identical powers, but when the fight happens, we may see some uniqueness in how the battle goes down. But in another way, it shows the limitations of Superman by showing what he CAN’T do. It’s a nice card trick from Johns.
This really is a collaborative book with Johns and Romita, Jr because the art is just as responsible for the good things this book does. Conversations have diversity between the frantic newsroom to the water cooler talk and the action as always, is handled well.
Ulysses gains the self-awareness we all knew was coming, but the team has taken its time building his character for this turn in the narrative. No matter how this is resolved, it does seem that Superman will have a moral and physical challenge in this arc, which is always the best place to find Superman in any conflict.