Adventures of Superman #20
by David Lapham and Lee Loughridge
Part two of the “Church of Superman” continues the story line from David Lapham that wants to tackle a very dark extension on the idea of idols and hero worship. Lapham has presented a twisted idea that a group of individuals have gathered together across the world through an online community sharing the collected belief that they will all be saved from death by the god, Superman. The end of issue one left its members climbing to the tops of buildings, ready to leap and test their faith simultaneously. Issue two focuses a bit more on the background of this group before coming to a head.
Lapham set up a very intriguing premise in issue one and left readers at a very scary climax. This time, the book seems to forget that all of these people across the globe were moments from jumping. Clark has time to disguise himself as a fan, track down the founders of the site, and attempt to uncover its roots. Regardless of how fast Superman can travel from place to place, it is hard to believe that he would have the time for these events. Additionally, as the truth behind this ‘church’ is explained, the writing takes a real dip. Lapham seems to put very little consideration into making these people and their motives feel organic.
As with the first issue, a majority of the book looks well drawn and colored. Even though the actual color pallet still seems brighter than this story may call for, it does not present as too jarring. The most impressive moment of the book comes when one member disregards Clark’s claims at being only human and not capable of fulfilling their belief. The man attempts to jump, only to be saved by Superman and what follows is fantastic page depicting a collage of faces. Lapham very brilliantly overlays Superman, clearly aware of the mistake he has just made, with dozens of images of the faces of these individuals now further convinced of their belief. The juxtaposition provides an amazing moment in the story.
The conclusion of the story is well pieced together. The seeds for its resolution have been well placed to make for a satisfying end. Much discussion could even be made of the reality of the final beats of the issue as they compare to the ideology and faith of this community. Lapham’s decision to fit in the opening sequence and feel the need to have an explanation behind the existence of such a community muddy the overall impact of the second part of this story. Addressing such a complex topic in so short a time is admirable but loses some of its effect to this misstep. Still, this two-part arc is well worth the time, even only for the discussion it could provoke.