Written by: Ardian Syaf
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 18, 2015
I have to admit, while the "Superman's Joker" story intrigued me at first, the reality of it has been a bit underwhelming. That changed for the better last issue when it was revealed that the bullets being used to target people around the world were actually warriors from the bottled city of Kandor. How cool (and crazy) was that?!? The issue ended with Batman, Superman and Supergirl (with the help of awesome Ray Palmer) finding Kandor in Iceland and a glimpse of some pretty pissed off warriors. The way the issue ended (and the fact that we only have two more issues left in the arc) made it feel like we were just about to find out who the villain behind it all was. Do we find out and is he or she worthy? Let's find out.
This issue opens up with a little history of Krypton and Kandor in particular. It's pretty cool even if we've all heard it a thousand times, but then things take a different turn...against Superman. It's subtle at first, blaming Kandor's recent plight on Superman's dedication to Earth, but then the reader realizes that the narrator is actually the mysterious villain behind this whole arc.
Greg Pak did a great job of setting up the reader with information and then turning it all against Superman. That was nothing compared to what he does next. When Superman tells Ray Palmer to get Batman, Supergirl and himself into Kandor, I had a huge smile on my face. Thank God for shrinking technology!
When the trio get inside, Superman stumbles on some information that is very personal and very disturbing. His Aunt and Grandmother are alive and in Bottled City and the whole history of Kandor's demise has been perverted...by Xa-Du. Yep, every fan who read the Doomed story knew the Phantom King would eventually return, but he didn't even cross my mind when I racked my brain on who Superman's Joker was. That's not saying that he isn't worthy. In fact, with his personal hatred for Superman and the Els, it makes so much sense. The issue ends with Xa-Du looking badass and ready to spread some of his Living Death to Superman and Kara.
I really like Xa-Du so when he was revealed I was pretty pumped. However, this issue was basically setup for next month. I'm not saying it was bad because that's far from the case. It was really good, but just felt incomplete. Batman and Supergirl were basically window dressing while Superman went through a series of poses. It didn't matter too much, though, because if the job was to get me salivating for the finale...mission accomplished. I just wish we got a little more this month.
Ardian Syaf continues to show why he should be on this book. The art is stellar throughout save for one little problem. His Lois Lane was not good at all. In fact, in one panel, she looked like a guy. One of the most beautiful woman in all of comics should never look like a guy. It's only a couple of panels so it didn't ruin anything, but it still bothered me.
Bits and Pieces:
Greg Pak finally reveals who Superman's Joker and I really liked it. It's someone with recent dealings with the Man of Steel and makes so much sense. Ardian Syaf draws the hell out of this issue, but in the end, it's all just setup for next month's finale. However, it is a hell of a setup and has me wishing it was March already.