I really, really don’t enjoy Superman.
But I LOVE Superman. Or at least I have over the last three months.
The storyline we’ve been following thus far in Action Comics has been called Truth, and it’s been dealing with the fallout that a mostly depowered Superman has to experience after Lois Lane revealed his secret to the world. This was a major point of contention for a lot of people – no way would Lois Lane ever reveal the truth about Clark Kent! Why, Lois was never one to chase a story and publish something, damn the torpedoes and screw whoever got caught in the flotsam and jetsam!
This was a particularly fun argument to follow on Twitter, as people – before they’d read a panel of story – had jumped to several thousand conclusions about how this was going to ruin Superman and how they had well and truly broken the already fractured relationship between Lois and Clark.
I’m included in this, bee-tee-dubs. I went to the wild opposite end of the spectrum – screw the relationship, this was Lois Freakin’ Lane we’re talking about here! Intrepid investigative reporter – the woman who never let her feelings or emotions get in the way of the story! By God, if Lois Lane found out that Clark Kent was Superman (and they weren’t in a relationship), then hell yes she’d release the story! Burn it to the ground, Lois is awesome and she’s going to Expose. The. Truth.
It’s funny, because the storyline is called Truth – and the truth of the matter is, the truth actually falls somewhere in the middle of those two divergent beliefs.
While Action Comics has been dealing with the fallout of the big reveal, Superman has conversely been dealing with the lead-up to the reveal. We’ve met a new villain who has discovered Clark’s secret – Hordr_Root, and have seen Clark slowly start to lose his powers. Through this, though, we’ve seen the tightknit bond that Lois and Clark share – when she found out that Clark was Superman, she was rightfully angry – he’d been lying to her, after all, and she’d almost fallen in love with him. But, with time and space, she realized that Clark and Superman – no matter who was in front of her – were the same person. That even if he was born on another planet, he was at his core a Kansas farm boy raised by loving parents to make the right choice, even when it’s the hard choice.
Which Lois has to do in issue #43.
There’s some great character moments in this particular issue, and you can really sense the depths that the connections between Lois and Clark go. And, in the end, when Lois has to make that hard choice, there’s some great splintering of that relationship – with Lois delivering the ultimate verbal haymaker to Clark. In all honesty, this is as close to a classic Lois and Clark story as you’re to get in the New 52, and it’s a really strong take on the two characters. Dialogue wise, there’s no real misfires for the main players of Lois and Clark, though I’m not the biggest fan of the villain’s speech pattern, or the way Jimmy and supporting cast member Condesa interact. It feels a bit forced, but it’s most likely because it’s lined up against the verbal juggernaut that is the Lois and Clark issue.
From an art perspective, the Superman comics have been some of John Romita Jr’s strongest, and while I’m not usually the biggest fan of his work, I’m pleased to say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last three issues. The inks are sharp and crisp, but where the book really triumphs from an artistic perspective is the coloring process – a lot of the colors feel almost water colored, with a lot of deep hues present to show shading and folds. It’s a small thing, but it adds so much depth to the page that the weight of each character, despite being flat paper, is felt and experienced.
Is this issue perfect? No. But when taken at with the rest of the Before Truth storyline running through Superman, it’s a strong placesetting issue that has a hell of a final act to set up where we go from here. This was a logical, well paced comic that really brings things into focus for the next arc – and, for the first time in decades, I can’t wait to read a Superman comic.
Up, up and away!