Superman #39 Review

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writer: Geoff Johns / artist: John Romita, Jr / DC Comics

After the first story arc from Johns and Romita, Jr wrapped last issue, this issue basically serves as a one shot and breather before the next arc begins. As far these types of issues go, it’s pretty good one. Superman, after discovering his “solar flare” ability is left without powers for a full day and he spends it with Jimmy Olsen. After revealing that he (Clark Kent) is indeed Superman to Jimmy, Clark spends the day being Clark, which includes some trivial but cool things like feeling the cold and experience paper cuts. Where this issue succeeds is showing the humanity of Clark and emphasizing that he helps people because he wants to help people, not because his powers remove the risk involved. His standoff with a gunman puts a fine point on this as he does knowing that if the criminal doesn’t subscribe to the Superman mythology, he could certainly kill him. It’s the kind of issue that highlights why Superman is still one of our favorite superheroes and Johns does a good job of showcasing that. We also got a much cooler explanation for why people don’t assume Superman is Clark just because he puts on the glasses.

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Romita, Jr handles a pretty straight forward issue well. There’s no real action to speak of and the narrative is pretty linear and easy to follow, but he handles scale and scope well. Especially is it pertains to Clark juxtaposed with other characters. He still feels like Superman, even without the powers. Some hubbub may be made about the costume change, but I don’t think there’s too much meat on that bone. The cape comes down over the shoulders and makes it look like he could be Praetorian Superman, but there’s nothing negative about it or revolutionary. You can’t really mess with Superman’s costume too much.

This was a good, humanizing standalone issue of Superman. It leads into what I assume will be the last arch for Johns before Gene Luen Yang takes over later this year. Personally, I’m looking forward to the next developments, but it’s been nice having the main Superman title be good again.

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