by David Lapham, Lee Loughridge
The Adventures of Superman title began with several one-shot stories, but has since transitioned to have an equal number of multi-issue arcs. David Lapham, of Stray Bullets fame, takes over on both writing and art for issue #19, the first of a two-part story. With a very curious title and accompanying title page image, the opening of the story finds a man standing out on the ledge of a building in Metropolis as he reflects on mankind and Superman.
Lapham offers a very intriguing reflection here. It is unclear if this is a character or the author’s own perspective on how the character is dismissed by the public, but the commentary on the subject is engaging nonetheless. The book, however, travels quickly down a completely unexpected path and ends up addressing a much different topic than what originally seems at play. While the opening setup seems grim, it in no way comes close to Lapham’s real focus.
The art in the book is suitable. There are many well rendered images and a majority of the book sticks to relatively simple panel layouts and page designs, allowing the reader to focus more on the story than the visual elements on display. Lee Loughridge’s coloring is bright and energetic and a great aesthetic for most Superman stories. With the tone of Lapham’s story, though, the images seem to be at odds with the subject matter, though this could be an intentional misdirection. There are a few panels that are uneven. Superman, at times, ranges in age between late forties and early twenties from one panel to another. The final visual product, however, is hardly a problem.
Because of the very strong subject on display here and the impact it has when it is left unspoiled, it is difficult to parse out the latter half of the issue. After the next chapter, and once this story concludes, it will be worth looking at and discussing as a whole. For now, suffice it to say that this is a bold and dark story that deals with idols and hero-worship in a somewhat twisted way. Readers may not find themselves struggling with how to process what Lapham addresses here, but it is to no discredit to the author. It’s a curious issue and one that is especially unexpected in a Superman comic.