Writer: Patrick Gleason, Peter J. Tomasi / Artist: Jaime Mendoza, Doug Mahnke / DC Comics
Previously on Superman: The Man of Steel faces his biggest challenge yet, fatherhood. Oh, also (and in no particularly order): The Eradicator, Doomsday, dinosaurs, Manchester Black, various interdimensional beings, Deathstroke, Sinestro and Parallax, Damien Wayne’s questionable influence on Jon Kent, and other assorted things.
Previously on Imperius Lex: The Kent Family found themselves on an unplanned excursion to the ravaged husk that is Darkseid’s War World. Lois managed to find questionably good company with Granny Goodness. Jon freed a bunch of dogs. And Clark is dealing with the immediate fallout of Lex revealing that he’s been masquerading as the new king of Apoklips and brought Superman along so he could be the actual king.
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s talk about Imperius Lex’s final issue.
When Apokolips Freezes Over
The issue opens with a cold husk of the once fiery Apokolips. It’s a sets a somber tone for the rest of the story as Superman continually tries to grapple with being a paragon of virtue in a place that has a history rooted in tyranny and a present rooted in lawlessness. While he finally faces that prophecy Lex dragged him here to fulfill, we see the Kent family rally. And it’s honestly a shame that Lex starts the issues knocked out after last issue’s fantastic banter.
Nevertheless, Gleason and Tomasi have constantly floored with me with how easily they develop fascinating narratives where Superman’s powers aren’t enough to save the day, and that it’s his genuine compassion and moral compass that allows him to save folks. They have done an equally incredibly job showing how Lois is also entirely capable of galvanizing the world around her. And this all shows not only through their dialog and story presence, but with Jon Kent keeping stride in earnest.
Pictured: Good boys & Good Boy, Jon Kent
The anticipated final battle follows familiar beats, but Manhke and Mendoza’s artwork is such a joy to examine–between the dynamic perspectives, classic costume design, and gorgeous set pieces. But really, it’s the quieter moments as the arc wraps up that really stand out. The pacing felt a bit off at points, especially as they hint at the next arc, but the stills are iconic in their own right.
As such, Imperius Lex in large part has been a return to more iconic elements, with the larger focus on both Apokolips and Lex Luthor and the eternal question: what does one do with all that power? It’s certainly a fun way to start the end of the year.
8 “Prophecies (Redacted)” out of 10
Reading Superman? Find more of BNP’s coverage of the Man of Steel here