Art by: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Mark Irwin, Sean Parsons, Scott Hanna, Wil Quintana,
Ulises Arreola, Tomeu Morey and Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 16, 2015
The Truth Hurts
Well, the arc that I thought was an event is coming to a close across the the Super books and while I haven't been a huge fan of what we've got so far, this issue has me intrigued. Last issue, Superman went off to visit the President and after an odd run-in with Parasite, was given the whereabouts of his captured friends. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman was a step ahead of him and the issue ended with a strange scene of Wonder Woman using her lasso to find out what each of them knew about what happened to Superman. It ended with Lois Lane being interrogated and my mind raced with ideas of Lois spilling her guts about her love of Clark...to Supes current girlfriend. Oh snap! Well, did Lois dish and did she live to tell the tale? Let's find out...
The issue starts off right where we...actually, it starts off with Firestorm. I know...Firestorm! It's good to see the Nuclear Man and we quickly see that Mr. Bend is a big fan...of his power source. One quick "ingest" and Jason and Ronnie are in real big trouble.
We then head off to Wonder Woman and Lois, but it's not pillow talk going on. The funny thing here is that I thought Wonder Woman was asking the questions (Tomasi did lead us down that path) and when Lois responds with such flowery words as "idiot" and "moron", I was waiting for her to receive some Amazonian payback. However, we quickly see that while Wonder Woman has her lasso around Lois, a scientist is asking the questions. We don't find out much that we don't already know including that her and Clark didn't have a relationship. Why didn't they just ask if she loved Clark?
I always like seeing a tough Lois, but this was a bit over-the-top for me. I'll chalk it up to being captured and detained by the Government for knowing one of the greatest superheroes to walk the Earth who is now looked at as an Enemy of the State. If I had a nickel...
Speaking of pissed off, when Superman enters the scene through the hole he just made in the wall, he isn't too happy to see Diana there. She has some splainin to do and I like what she tells him. Steve Trevor told her where Supes' friends were and she was helping the interrogation to prove that they all weren't planning on taking over the world. That's all fine and dandy, but after Superman explains that Steve gave him the location as well, it is really starting to look like a setup.
As they look for the others, Superman really gives Diana the business. He is so angry at her for being there that he starts coming off like a jerk. However, he was quickly outdone by Steel in that department. When Superman frees them, John Henry shoves the restraining device they put on him in the scientists mouth and everyone gets a chuckle out of it. It really felt off. Perry then tries to reclaim the biggest jerk prize, but I still give it to Steel.
Up until now, I may not have been a fan of some of the characterizations, but at least the story was moving forward and I was following everything just fine. Boy, that changed. While Steel realizes that something is wrong with what the facility is doing with some of Superman's biggest enemies, some kind of monsters (maybe versions of the Shadow Monsters from Action Comics???) show up out of nowhere and attack. They take the villains with "internal energy" and are also about to take Supes until Wonder Woman saves him. Are you glad she's there now, Clark? After a cool scene where Jimmy, Lois and the rest act like badasses, we find out.
Superman is not glad and again, acts like a real jerk. He tells Lois and Diana that they betrayed him and heads off to the Watchtower alone. I'd love to think that this was just part of a plan that Superman has cooked up, but I don't think it is. The issue ends with Obama firing Mr. Bend, but the reader finds out that Chief of Staff wasn't his only job. If you have been following the whole Truth story, the last page will make a whole lot of sense and even made me smile.
I mentioned it earlier, but the characterizations of almost everyone felt off. Superman came off like a jerk and Lois was not far behind...and don't get me started on Steel. As for the story, I hope we get an explanation for those different shadow monsters because they just seemed to show up without warning.
Another thing that bothered me about this issue was Superman's powers or the fact that they are pretty much intact all of a sudden. This book seemed to be the one where he was most depowered, leading to the whole "I can't have you worry about me" dynamic with Wonder Woman. However, we see him busting through walls, ripping open high security doors and fighting off inter dimensional beings. Superman's powers coming and going (mostly based on convenience) has been a real problem during this arc and this issue was the biggest offender, if you ask me.
I did like the art in this issue. That may sound like a simple statement, but when you look at the amount of people on the art team, it actually is. Four inkers and three colorists on an issue usually means transition issues galore, but everything flows nice and smooth. Doug Mahnke's pencils are really good and everything goes from there. The highlight for me was seeing Mahnke's kick ass Firestorm.
Bits and Pieces:
This was an odd issue for me to rate. While it didn't infuriate me like some of the other Truth issues, the characterizations felt off and the story was surprising, but in a "I don't understand what's going on" sort of way. It did end with a scene that readers of the entire Truth arc will surely enjoy, but Superman acts too much like a jerk before that for me to recommend it.