While beautiful, the current arc for Superman is losing the plot’s logic.
Crap is hitting the fan for Superman. While trying to put his life back together after Rogol Zaar’s attack, Earth has been sucked into the Phantom Zone. During the transition, mass hysteria is let loose across the planet, causing Superman to step in. The Justice League also works around the clock to help the Man of Steel, but something is wrong. One by one, the League begin getting sick, soon leaving Superman alone to save the Earth. While all of this is going on, Rogol begins plotting his revenge. What will happen to Earth now that they only have one champion left?
**Some Spoilers Below**
The world continues to spiral out of control in the Phantom Zone. While rioters and villains begin to lash out, Superman struggles to keep the peace. While meeting with some of the smartest scientists in the world, he learns that the atmosphere in the Phantom Zone is poison. If things couldn’t get any more dire, Rogol Zaar has been on the move. He finds Jax-Ur, one of the first people sentenced to the Phantom Zone. Not taking kindly to visitors, Jax has an army attack Rogol, who easily beats them. Rogol then convinces the Kryptonian criminal to work with him to kill Superman.
The story’s significant shortfall is that nothing is explained. The story provides answers to why the League is acting weird and what is happening where Earth is, but we don’t get explanations. How is the Phantom Zone poison? What caused the shift? Questions like these are pushed to the side for the sake of action. I expect this sort of storytelling in Action Comics–a story that has these big cinematic moments that we can shut our minds off and enjoy. While I do enjoy good action, there are just too many questions left to enjoy.
Along with that, it’s becoming obvious where the story is heading. The end of the story arc is beginning to take shape and is unfortunately predictable. From the opening with Martian Manhunter to Superman’s interactions here, it’s obvious we’re going for a “uniting under Superman” theme. While that isn’t a problem per say, it’s something we’ve seen before. There could be a curveball coming, but I’m not counting on it.
While the story might have left me wanting, the art goes above and beyond. Ivan Reis illustrates this story and shows why he is a master at it. His two page spreads across the book are epic; something that should be seen on a movie screen. Alex Sinclair does a great job on colors as well, making each drawing feel alive. Overall, the art is excellent and, at the moment, is the only thing keeping me invested in this Superman story.
I want to like this story. I really do. There’s just so many problems holding it back. A comic needs more than beautifully drawn action sequences to keep readers invested. Even comics that are dedicated to action over all else knows this. There is still time to surprise me, but as of right now, it might be best to skip this one.