Superman #29 Review- Not Even Superman Is Immortal
Clark and Jon Kent defend the Earth from repeated waves of assaults from extra-dimensional creatures. Amidst the barrage, Superman finds himself still trying to connect to his son who has recently just returned from the 31st Century and the Legion of Superheroes. A harsh truth and possible future lie ahead for the Superfamily as the forces behind the extra-dimensional creatures conspire against them. A new direction is set forth in this new era of Superman!
Golden Age Part 1
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Pencils by Phil Hester
Inks by Eric Gaptur
Colors by Hi-Fi
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Phillip K. Johnson starts off with a surprisingly quiet issue despite the assaults from another dimension. Instead, the issue focuses on the relationship between father and son and sets the stage for the future. I liked that Johnson opted for this instead of some massive action set pieces. Yes, there is action in the comic but this allows for the reader to become reacquainted with the cast. In my case, I haven’t read a Superman comic since Superman Reborn. This issue gives me a solid footing for the series.
Johnson’s voice for the characters is on point. There isn’t much dialog in the comic, instead Johnson opts for a narrator for most of the issue, but there is a brief conversation between Jon and Clark that worked really well. The conversation focused a lot on the gulf between the two that has grown during Jon’s adventures and Clark hasn’t came to terms with it yet. It felt earnest to me as someone who has grown distant with is family over the last few years. A lot can change in a short amount of time. Superman is trying to reach his son but not doing too well. Additionally, we get insight to Jon’s anxiety and dread of being the son of Superman and knowing what the future holds for his dad.
Hint: It isn’t nice.
The main selling point for me on this comic was Phil Hester’s art. He brings a style that is best described as cartoony. It is wonderful look for Superman. I prefer my Superman comics to have this more animated look to them. It isn’t a book that realism works well for as Superman is a bit of a ludicrous character when rendered in a realistic way. In his animated style, it allows for a more dynamic and expressive piece. Hester delivers that here. The inks by Gaptur help complement Hester’s style and sells the angular aesthetic. The way they both utilize hard angles and shadows to create just a gorgeous comic. This whole issue clicks for me. There are moments where Hester doesn’t detail the faces as well but that is understandable for the style and is fine by me. The rest of the comic looks wonderful that a couple under rendered faces don’t detract overall.
The layouts employed by Hester are visually dynamic. Hester consistently breaks panels and overlays others in a way that just pulls the reader’s eye across and is stunning. Panels are often composed in ways to provide maximum effect to complement the more personal story going on among the dimensional brawls that bookend the story. I love to see this in a Superman comic, and it makes it absolutely a joy to read.
Superman #29 was a solid start to a new era. The struggle between father and son is an angle visited a lot by Superman stories in the last decade or so. Mostly, because it is a good beat to follow on Superman and is visited often in the various media. Johnson presents in a different way here with it focusing on Clark and Jon. It reverses the usual role of Clark being the son in a way that I am interested in seeing where it goes. The threads that Johnson lays out for the book promises to be interesting.
The various conspiracy and secrets harken back to an older era of Superman. It is good to see them try to establish longer running threads. I like to see this more often in comics but especially Superman. I would be remiss to not touch back on the art in this issue. Hester and company’s art is fantastic and I am glad to see Hester getting more high profile work. Absolute blast to see his art in comics. They provide a style that I, personally, enjoy seeing in Superman.
Final Score 8.5/10
Note: I will be saving a review of Tales of Metropolis for the future. I enjoyed the back-up by Sean Lewis, Sami Basri, Ulises Arreola, and Dave Sharpe. It focused on one of my favorite Superman supporting members: Bibbo! It is a wonderful back-up but I want to see more on the direction of these back-ups before commenting on them as a whole. Still, wonderful. It has Bibbo!