I’m officially worried about this eight-part “Final Days of Superman” story event now that we’re five issues in. The first few were fantastic, but the story is dragging a bit. How is part 6? Is it good?
Action Comics #52 (DC Comics)
Superman is dying sure, but what does the official summary say?
“The Final Days of Superman” continues as two Supermen meet at last: pre-New 52 Superman meets the current Kal-El. But solar Superman wants to be the only Man of Steel left standing. And divided they may fall as one Clark Kent must choose the safety of his family before either version of himself.
Why does this book matter?
Peter J. Tomasi is writing every issue of the event, which doesn’t happen quite like this very often. It’s not every day you get a single writer writing an eighty part story over eight weeks, and it’s dealing with a heavy issue–Superman is dying! Tomasi has managed to make you care about the character even though he’s died and been resurrected before. To make things even more complicated though, there are multiple Supermen flying around.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Superman is definitely getting worse and Tomasi manages to keep the reader sympathetic toward the hero. It’s starting to feel like the real deal at this point, with no way of saving his life. It helps that Batman and Wonder Woman are by his side and are concerned. There are three issues left and the story is moving forward here as it introduces a new character that readers of Lois and Clark will be giddy to see. At the same time, Tomasi manages to cram some character into this other Superman. Though he’s glowing yellow and seemingly on fire, he’s sure he’s the real Superman. Sure, he’s somewhat nuts and very dangerous, but it’ll be interesting to see if he’s truly a villain by the end of this series.
Superman is not looking so good.
Artist Dale Eaglesham and Scot Eaton do a fantastic job on pencils. Clark looks a bit younger this go around (and older a few issues ago), but it gives him that innocent boy charm that makes it harder to swallow the fact that he’s dying. Batman has a bit more of a classic look which is pretty retro, but they’ve outdone themselves with the other Superman. The solar flare around him is quite nice to look at and goes a long way in making his very presence feel chaotic. The Superman from Lois and Clark looks absolutely perfect too–strong, built like an ox, and the kind of Superman you want to see when he’s retired.
There are some inventive panels throughout too. Take one of Lois screaming for Clark and the panel she’s in has a line that zig-zags right into Superman’s ear to convey that her screams are reaching him. In another we get the POV of Batman as Superman slams into his Bat-jet. Cool stuff.
The colors by Tomeu Morey are solid throughout, especially with our other solar Superman.
It can’t be perfect can it?
While there’s a bit of a throwdown in this issue it is overall a bit light on action. The action leads to a cliffhanger that doesn’t have much buy-in, either. We’re expected to believe this insane flaming Superman is going to get his way? Oh well, I suspect the next chapter will swing things in an entirely new direction.
Damn Clark, how much do you weigh!?
Is It Good?
The cliffhanger may not have me at the edge of my seat, but dang it, this is good storytelling. Superman continues to pull at our heart strings as he slowly dies and the story has gotten a hell of a lot more interesting with multiple Supermen converging.
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