By Mike Johnson, Jesus Merino, Eddy Barrows, and Blond
Superman #23 kicks off the Psi-War story arc that follows the Man of Steel through a couple of his titles. This is a story that was set up by Scott Lobdell, but this issue was not written by him, Mike Johnson pens it, and Jesus Merino does the art work with some help from Eddy Barrows.
When last we saw Kal-El, he was entangled with the H.I.V.E. queen, as she tried to take over his mind. This issue, we learn that Superman is not an easy man to control, as he tries to avoid her manipulation. Hector Hammond also returns, and as you might have guessed, we get a…psi-war. Hammond and the queen go at it, until there is a victor, but it may not be who you expect.
Mike Johnson replaces Scott Lobdell nicely, they have a similar writing style. Johnson does a solid job of writing Hector Hammond. There are moments where you’ll find yourself pulling for him, then he’ll do something terrible, and you’ll pull for him a little less, but he gets some good characterization this issue. The H.I.V.E. queen is sort of dull in this one, and it holds the story back a little. Johnson does a decent job of setting up the Psi-War storyline, but it may not be enough to push people to pick up the other issues in the crossover.
Jesus Merino has worked on this title before, and he is always welcomed back. For the most part, the art on this title has been excellent, and this issue is no exception. Barrows and Merino also have similar art styles, clean crisp lines and all. Merino has several nice panels, notably though are a ghosting of our hero as he crushes pillars, and a hilarious image of Superman with Hector Hammond head. The art in this issue really adds to a story that would suffer with a lesser talented partner.
Psi-War gets off to a bit of a slow start, which is fine, because tons of stories have set up issues. We do get a surprise cameo at the end of the book which should lead into an interesting second part. Here’s to hoping expectations will be met.