I can’t decide whether I made a good decision or not in dropping Scott Lobdell’s Superman book. Now, on the one hand, the book itself was mediocre and probably still is, but on the other, now it’s crossing over with a book I’m still reading, Action Comics, and I have little to no clue about what’s going on. This issue is part of some storyline called ‘Psi War’ and even though the emotional heart of the story here still rang true to me, I had little reason to care about it. I just want this fill-in era to be over, and Greg Pak to start up, how long is it until that happens?
Basically, this issue has Superman coming into conflict with the new version of the classic villain, The Psycho Pirate, who now looks really stupid and has some complex back-story involving Brainiac, HIVE and Hector Hammond. I’m guessing all of this is from the pages of Superman. Psycho Pirate for some reason needs to get control of Superman’s mind, so he zaps him with some psychic snakes, and the rest of the issue is spent inside Clark Kent’s memories. We see a young, T-Shirt era Superman go up against the military, and Psycho Pirate manipulates it so Clark thinks humans will always hate him. Then we zip back even further, with Clark as a kid, about to have his first kiss with Lana Lang. Clark almost fights some bullies, and just as you think Pa Kent is about to give another platitudinous speech, Psycho Pirate rears his head again and has Pa tell Clark they never should have taken him in. I actually really liked that moment, it was nice and twisted. Finally, we flash-back even further, to Clark’s memories of his actual parents, as a baby, just as he’s about to be blasted off from Krypton. In this state, Psycho Pirate is able to finally prise open Superman’s mind until… a super-powered Lois Lane shows up. Why is Lois all blue? Why was she in a coma? I don’t know, and that’s my fault, but I also don’t care. I just want Pak.
Anyway, even though I only really understood half of this issue, the trawl through Superman’s past was fairly well done, and I did enjoy Jesus Merino’s artwork a lot, he’s normally seen as just an inker, but he’s a great penciler in his own right. Man, it’s come to something when you miss Villain’s Month.