As “Endless Winter” rages on, the third and final chapter out this week in the 9-part event takes place in the Superman: Endless Winter Special. Similar to The Flash #767 out this week, series writers Andy Lanning and Ron Marz are showing how depleted and overwhelmed the Justice League heroes are as the world freezes over. Superman is in a particularly difficult situation because he has a wife and parents to think of on top of his superhero duties that span the entire globe. As Superman attempts to save everyone, this latest issue peers into a state of mind many of us will relate to.
This issue is a strong story that literally everyone living during the pandemic today can relate to. Thanks to the cunning and well-written captions, the story delves into the mindset of the world hiding away from the cold and fearful for their lives as strange threats loom outside. There are multiple pages where the captions will ring true for many, like this one early on that reads, “We’re living in a dangerous time. It’s understandable that so many of us are ridden with anxiety, and weighed down by depression.” Sound familiar? Then later, “Right now we all feel like we’re fighting a battle that never ends.” It’s through these captions Lanning and Marz tap into the solitary and crushing nature of living in the world during the pandemic.
Amongst these captions are scenes of Superman fighting and somehow not coming out on top. He’s tired, getting worn down, and beginning to worry for those closest to him. The issue spans the globe, but spends time with Superman and Lois, and later Superman and his parents. Through these scenes, the writers get through to the humanity of Clark as well as the relatable nature of the story in “Endless Winter.”
The art by Phil Hester adds to the wholesome and relatable nature of the story. Superman has a simpler and cartoony style that plays up the outlandish and fantastical threats he fights throughout the issue. Hester is quite good at capturing the craziness of frost giants all over the Eiffel Tower, for instance, and the warm good vibes of Superman’s parents during his visit.
Similar to “Endless Winter” part two, this third part doesn’t have big-beat event moments. Instead, it languishes in the dread and crushing defeat the title hero is going through. For that, it succeeds in capturing the impending doom that will assuredly be vanquished, but it does so without pushing the plot forward narratively.
Marco Santucci takes on the flashback as he did in The Flash #767, which reveals important details on the Frost King. Up until this issue, he has remained a mystery aside from understanding his power seems infinite; here, there is some much-needed backstory on the character. It also helps show that the character is beatable on some level and that his villainy may be tied to something understandable. That should ease any minds that were anticipating a villain who is evil for evil’s sake. Santucci continues to in an old-school Conan the Barbarian style that aids in the 10th-century timeline and more ancient way of living.
If you had any doubts as to why “Endless Winter” needed to exist, read Superman: Endless Winter Special. This issue establishes a very relatable world to our own during the pandemic and offers up a shred of hope that is incredibly suitable given Superman is the lead character.
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