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The cover of Superman #6
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Superman’ #6 unravels Lex Luthor’s secrets

Even Superman makes mistakes.

Editors Note: This review incorrectly listed the wrong artist. That has been corrected.

After a long break for Knight TerrorsSuperman is finally back. Continuing to explore the story of Lex Luthor, SuperCorp, and the mysterious Project: Chained, Superman #6 reintroduces DC readers to the Man of Steel. In the process, Joshua Williamson and Gleb Melnikov show off just how well they understand Superman.

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Superman #5 left off with Lex Luthor on the edge of death after being attacked in prison. With Superman unable to hear him, he is completely and utterly defenseless. Issue #6 might have picked up there, but it instead jumps forward, and that decision makes it much more accessible.

The issue manages to recover from its long break rather well. Knight Terrors may have derailed the book, but it already features a built-in time skip that helps it weather the situation well. Lex’s coma serves as a natural point of tension for Superman, but the very idea that Superman’s nightmare could also be playing into his melancholy is compelling. An event adding extra layers to characterization is always welcome, and this book — however incidentally — uses that well.

Lex Luthor in the hospital in Superman #6

DC Comics

The characters also recap the events of the book fairly well. Even a month can let the minute details in a comic escape readers, but Superman takes care to not let the months-long gap between issues affect anyone’s ability to read.

It also serves as a refreshing look at who Superman is. Even when his actions could be viewed as naive, he still strives for kindness. Even when he is haunted by his own failures and the disappointment of Metropolis, he still works to protect people. Even when he doesn’t want to talk, he never takes out his anger on those around him. He just helps. That right there is Superman, and it’s why he has been such a beloved character for so many years.

Melnikov’s art is also an incredible aspect of the issue. There is one pair of panels that features Superman melting bullets with his heat vision, and it is a truly unique way to depict that aspect of his powers. Instead of a ray of light, Melnikov simply depicts the bullets bleeding away from one panel to the other. It progresses time brilliantly and shows just how powerful the Man of Steel can be.

Superman flying in Superman #6

DC Comics

The Daily Planet aspects of the book also continue to be a highlight. Clark is as charming as ever, and Lois’ stresses are palpable. If anything, it’s disappointing to only get two pages with it — especially after an arc that just delved so deeply into Jimmy’s romantic life. After such an important change in Jimmy’s life, it’s somewhat bizarre that he only appears as a cameo. Of course, with so much going on in the issue, it makes sense not to delve too deeply into a relative side character.

There is one serious issue with the book, however, and it is Superman’s complete impatience. As much as he likes to do good at all costs, he could have done slightly more research before charging head-first into the central twist of the book. Lex may be comatose, but that doesn’t mean that Superman isn’t capable of doing slightly more.

He is supposed to be a deeply intelligent character with more cognitive capacity than any human. Instead, he feels more like the much younger and more inexperienced Jon Kent. He spends more time acting than thinking, and it feels less like a character beat and more like a contrived scramble to make a pre-planned storyline work. The book attempts to lampshade the issue by making other characters call him out on the decision, but that doesn’t make it any less strange. Superman can — and should — make mistakes, but he can also recognize what every single member of the audience will: That his actions are ridiculous.

Superman #6 is a lovely return to the typical world of Superman and the Dawn of DC. While some of Clark’s actions do seem strange, they are still always rooted in his character. With incredible art and good character work, it is absolutely worth a read. After months of Knight Terrors, it’s just nice to get back to continuing the mystery of Lex’s history and Project: Chained.

The cover of Superman #6
‘Superman’ #6 unravels Lex Luthor’s secrets
Superman #6
Superman #6 is a lovely return to the typical world of Superman and the Dawn of DC. While some of Clark's actions do seem strange, they are still always rooted in his character. With incredible art and good character work, it is absolutely worth a read. After months of Knight Terrors, it's just nice to get back to continuing the mystery of Lex's history and Project: Chained. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
9
Innovative art featuring a new look at Superman's powers.
Works incredibly well with Knight Terrors, despite being temporarily derailed.
Introduces a compelling villain and seemingly insurmountable stakes.
Superman's actions would be questionable even for an impulsive teenager.
It would be nice to spend more time with Jimmy after his arc.
8.5
Great
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