By Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair
Superman Unchained is a series that, like Marvel’s Hawkeye, hasn’t always had the best success when it has come to sticking to deadlines. It was meant to be already over by now way earlier in the year with Forever Evil, but both this book and DC’s mega event got dragged out way longer than they should have, and as a result we got to have Superman Unchained, a series that has had a divisive reaction among fans of DC’s premier superhero. You ever love this book, or you hate it. There doesn’t really seem to be any middle ground.
However, this reviewer is very much in the category of loving this series, because Superman Unchained has been one whirlwind ride of awesomeness after another, brought to life by Jim Lee’s wonderful artwork. Every page looks mind-blowing and there’s a reason why Lee is one of DC’s premier artists right now, everything just looks so good. There’s not a single page that disappoints here when it comes to artistic brilliance and Williams and Sinclair go a long way into making that possible with their inks and colours; respectively. The splash pages look exceptional and this is one of DC’s best visually looking titles on shelves right now, it’s just that good.
And then of course, you get to the script, which is also, as per normal from Snyder, brilliant. This book is largely devoted to a one on one fight between the Wraith and Superman, and it’s handled well, as you get to watch Superman pulling out all the stops to defeat a credible threat. This isn’t exactly the most intelligently plotted comic that you’ll ever see, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a blockbuster and there are some very awesome fight sequences going on here. For people who complained about the destruction caused in Man of Steel, Snyder wisely takes the fight scenes away from civilian areas and they’re largely in deserted territory. This allows for both Superman and Wraith to come at each other not holding back, and as a result we get to see both larger than life characters in all their glory. Snyder doesn’t make it such a one-sided fight so that you can predict the victor, keeping it tense and fulfilling.
The pacing is solid, and the title builds to an interesting cliffhanger that will no doubt leave readers desperately waiting for the concluding issue. Whilst the cliffhanger doesn’t quite match the awesome one that we saw in #7, it does leave things in an interesting place for the final act.
If you’ve enjoyed Superman Unchained so far, then you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of this issue. It’s not a perfect comic, but it’s still a pretty good one. There are problems, some minor, for example, the other characters are largely sidelined until the end, and the action may be too heavy for some, but if you’ve been enjoying the first seven issues so far then you won’t be disappointed.