Is it just me or has it been ages since the last issue of this book? Since like, before Villain’s Month? I dunno. Anyway, it’s good to have it back and to have actually good Superman comics on the shelves. In this issue, Scott Snyder moves all of his various subplots forward very nicely indeed, and even starts to tie some of them together, showing that this really is one, big masterplan.
Let’s start with the man on the cover of this issue, the one and only Lex Luthor. He’s still obsessed with origami for no real reason, but his main role in this issue is to torture Jimmy Olsen, talk about how he thinks Superman will die, and who he think will kill him, and in the end, reveal that it will be Jimmy who kills his Pal, as Lex’s torture is going to turn him into some kind of monster. Jimmy Olsen transforming into something monstrous is one those iconic Superman things, so it’s going to be cool to see that done here, in a more realistic (if you can call anything in Superman realistic), more modern way. I like the way Snyder is writing Lex, although, as I said, the origami thing is kind of strange.
As for Superman himself, he’s in Tokyo, fighting against some evil, Russian robots (that can fire bullets that harm Superman) that are being controlled by The Ascension, alongside Wraith. These were some great action scenes, the kind of stuff where Jim Lee’s art really comes into his own, and Snyder also made sure they served a purpose. This was not just mindless punching, Wraith was demonstrating to Superman new ways for him to use his powers (like blinking when using heat-vision to fire in bursts, or even a sonic boom) and showing how much further he can go, and maybe even trying to recruit him to the US Military? If only so he doesn’t have to kill him. Wraith continues to be a fascinating new character, and there’s still a lot of mystery about him and his past, Superman asks him where he’s from, but we don’t get an answer. My guess is… he’s actually just from Earth, and that the army experimented on him. Wraith and Superman defeat The Ascension, but then, before they can do anything else, Clark gets a call from Perry White, telling him that Lois is missing after her plane crashed.
Lois’ plot in this issue was probably the most interesting part, she talks to the weird, eyeless guy with the magic crystal, who tells her that he used to be in The Ascension, and that this shard of crystal is really powerful and really important, and that it’s worse than Kryptonite, which is, you know, strong words. This mystery man gives Lois the shard, but before they can get to safety, he is hit by an Ambulance (that has no driver) and Lois is captured by the Ascension. The back-up story, with excellent, moody art from Dustin Nguyen reveals the big twist behind this story, that The Ascension are the creations of none other than Lois’ father, General Lane. This changes a lot of this story around, is Lane still controlling them? Or have they gone rogue? Why did he have them attack Wraith and Superman? So many questions that I can’t wait to see answered, and there’s even more when you factor in how Lex seemed aware of what’s been going on, is he in on this plan? Oh man.
This was another strong issue of this title, it was very action-heavy for sure, but when you have Jim Lee on pencils, that’s what’s best for business. Each plot is becoming clearer now, and as I said, the revelations about The Ascension turn everything on it’s head and raise a hell of a lot of questions, it’s just a shame it might be a while before we get any answers. Come on Jim, draw faster!