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Superman #10 cover
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Superman’ #10 is a return to the Wild West

It’s no country for old Supermen.

A year after the launch of the Dawn of DC, DC Comics has been enjoying a new era. Every book feels like it came straight out of the original comics, but all have a modern twist that leaves them engaging to audiences of today. Modern art and modern storytelling combine with classic characters in a great melding of eras. Some things have changed, but that has stayed the same. The cover may not say “Dawn of DC” anymore, but Superman #10 certainly still feels like a Dawn of DC book.

After Superman took a trip to the Wild West in Superman #9, Joshua Williamson, Bruno Redondo, Caio Filipe, Adriano Lucas, and Ariana Maher have taken pains to show off just what DC’s version of the era looked like. Desert sands, classic shoot-outs, and a futuristic take on an old steed. The setting itself feels ripe for exploring. Unfortunately, the issue really doesn’t do it.

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Superman enjoys a short exploration of the Wild West, but he never actually takes a look around. In the span of a single issue, he finds a way home and gets back to the modern age at a moment’s notice. The train robbery from issue #9 — which was begging for an explanation — is never actually depicted. Nighthawk and Cinnamon don’t even appear.

A spread featuring Superman in Superman #10

DC Comics

It’s easy to assume that you missed an issue between #9 and #10. I can speak for that myself, having just flipped through all of Superman #9 twice, because I was convinced I’d lost some pages. Instead, to fully understand the story, it’s worth just shutting the brain off momentarily and following it through to the end, which is also, admittedly, somewhat oddly paced.

It feels like everything in this issue is simply rushing towards a pre-planned ending with little regard for the details. Characters, like Moonlight and a surprise villain, have moments that are checked off of boxes as the story rushes to get Superman back to the future. There’s a plot to catch up on, so Clark can only spend about an issue and a half trapped in the past.

It’s a disappointing development for anyone really looking forward to the Western arc and raises the question of why this was necessary at all. If Superman had never gone into the past, he could have discovered Moonlight’s story some other way, and nothing would have been missed.

Superman and Marilyn Moonlight in Superman #10

DC Comics

That isn’t to say that everything in the issue is disappointing, of course. Some charming elements help to elevate Superman #10. The art, for instance, remains fluid and helps to capture the hot and dismal atmosphere of an old Western movie. Dulled colors and a red tinge on the faces ensure that every character is weighed down by the ever-present sun, which sets up Superman’s moment of triumph.

The civilians also often act like real people with earnest reactions. There are also some hilarious beats, which help to distract from the pacing issues. The panels, which are often homages to old Western movies, do an excellent job of developing the setting at well.

Marilyn Moonlight is another saving grace. It’s hard to go wrong when she’s on the page. Every detail revealed about her character makes her more engaging, and she is also doing a great job of properly setting up the history of Metropolis. Gotham City’s historical influence may be felt in every Batman issue, so it’s about time that Metropolis is offered the same moment in the moonlight.

Superman #10 may not flesh out the Wild Western Superman quite as well as Superman #9 implied, but it is a fun issue that cuts to the heart of its concept well. Despite some clear flaws, the excellent artwork feels like a genuine means of honoring Westerns without getting caught by any of their typical trappings. It would have been nice to spend more time in this setting. Still, it will be nice to finally get to see the story behind Superman’s newest enemies, as he inches towards concluding this arc.

Superman #10 cover
‘Superman’ #10 is a return to the Wild West
Superman #10
Superman #10 may not flesh out the Wild Western Superman quite as well as Superman #9 implied, but it is a fun issue that cuts to the heart of its concept well. Despite some clear flaws, the excellent artwork feels like a genuine means of honoring Westerns without getting caught by any of their typical trappings. It would have been nice to spend more time in this setting. Still, it will be nice to finally get to see the story behind Superman's newest enemies, as he inches towards concluding this arc.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.8
Any time with Marilyn Moonlight is well spent.
Superman retains the core characteristics that make him Superman. Good-hearted as ever.
The comic just didn't spend enough time in the Western setting.
There were no stakes to the central fight of the issue.
7.5
Good
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