writer: Geoff Johns / artist: John Romita, Jr
In the second issue of this New 52 Geoff Johns Superman Era, the bold pledge of welcoming a second hero into Metropolis from the first issue is delved into deeper this month. We get a lot more of Clark than we get Kal-El this issue, but its done well and keeps the plot moving forward. Clark is forced to make some concessions and compromises in his quest to find out more about the mysterious Ulysses and his origins and it works well with tying in the Daily Planet and all its characters as well. You can tell that this book is setting up to include a large cast of characters that will become important to its story similar to Wonder Woman, but the exposition is done well enough where the story doesn’t drag.
Near the middle of the book, I was dreading the “super-powered being that must be taught everything about earth” trope as we got more engagement with Ulysses / Neil, but that was quickly turned on its head when Clark makes a startling realization about Ulysses’ parents. While last issue developed a lot of parrallels between the two heroes, this issue showed just how different they are. Ulysses / Neil isn’t an alien like Clark, he has returned to his home and has much more reason to call it home than Clark does. One wonders if Ulysses will become a point of conflict in addition to the androids that keep appearing in Metropolis.
Romita’s art works very ell with the story as well. The poses of the heroes do a good job of showing their similarities and differences in very subtle tones. I especially like the ability to show Clark blend with same model that makes him Superman, something not all Superman artist have achieved before.
While we haven’t had a large scale conflict that we expect in a Superman book, Johns is setting the ground work for some three dimensional storytelling. This book isn’t hitting a home run, quite, yet, but the first two issues have been solid with some good potential for what’s to come.