By Gene Luen Yang, Howard Porter and HI-FI
One of the biggest knocks about the character of Superman is that he’s not relatable. How can anyone identify with someone who can do anything? This has been something DC has been trying to fix in recent years, and they may have finally found a solution. Clark is no longer the strongest man alive; he’s operating at less than 100%. There is an actual struggle for the Man of Steel these days. If you can’t relate to him now, you never will.
Gene Yang has been decent during his run on Superman so far. Yang has been trying to make Clark more appealing and accessible, which he has. This issue Yang gives us a look into Clark’s thoughts for most of the book. This is a good and bad thing. At times it can be too wordy, but it is cool to hear what Clark is thinking. The idea of Clark joining a WWE style fight club is pretty lame. There is no way around this, he’s Superman, not the Ultimate Warrior. Where Yang does succeed is showing how desperate Clark is. He’s a man without a job, hardly any money and no friends. Yang allows this to show through in this issue and it works well. Another area where yang has continued to find success is in the trepidation regular people feel towards Superman. They are not sure if he is friend or foe.
Howard Porter takes over for John Romita Jr. on the pencils and Hi-Fi lays down the colors. Porter really kicks ass this issue. He gives Superman a boost in the art department. Romita Jr.’s pencils didn’t seem like a good fit for this book, but Porter comes in and revitalizes it. Lines are a lot smoother, there doesn’t seem to be dreariness to the art like there hasd been with Romita Jr. We get a lot of new characters in this issue and Porter gives them all a distinct look. A character like Shahrazad could look very bland, but Porter gives her a cool pink streak in her hair and she looks like someone you want to know about. The colors by Hi-Fi also greatly contribute to livening up this book. They are very vibrant and leap off of the page at you. The art department makes this feel like a completely different book.
Story wise, this is a bit of a let down. The plot for this issue is a bit cheesy, but it’s enjoyable enough. The main topic of conversation should be about the artwork. Porter and Hi-Fi really do make this book look a lot nicer and deserve a ton of credit. If you can get over the goofiness of the story, you should be able to enjoy yourself.