Thursday, November 5, 2015
Justice League: The Darkseid War – Superman #1 Review and *SPOILERS*
Written By: Francis Manapul
Art By: Bong Dazo, Hi-Fi, Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 4, 2015
*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
What happens when a being with the powers of a god becomes a god? Well, they probably don’t have to spring for a new wardrobe. So it is with Superman, who becomes the god of strength in the pages of the Justice League during that title’s recent event, The Darkseid War. Does absolute power corrupt Superman absolutely? Or does it just corrupt him a little bit while leaving his sense of fair bartering intact? I guess we’ll never know! Thanks for tuning in…wait a second, there’s a review of this very comic book following my preamble! What luck! Read on!
As I’ve already explained in my reviews for the Justice League: The Darkseid War tie-ins with Batman and the Flash, I have not been reading the main book. You can check my review of Justice League: The Darkseid War – Batman #1 to find out why, but the benefit is that I can read these tie-in issues and gauge their accessibility to new readers. I’d say that, of all the tie-in issues, this is the most accessible. You don’t need to know a ton about the New Gods, or Darkseid, or even the Justice League. All you need to know are the basics about Superman’s life in Metropolis, and to get the idea that he’s become a god of strength for some reason. And to make that last point clearer, it’s explained outright in the very first caption of the story.
One side effect of becoming the god of strength is that it has turned Clark “Superman” Kent into a photo negative version of himself, but otherwise he looks pretty much the same. We open our story with Supes having returned to Earth after being gone for a while, and to prove that he wasn’t just screwing around, Clark comes back with the battered exo-suit of a bounty hunter in tow. In fact, he slams it into the Daily Planet building, presumably so their Human Resources department will mark him as “on leave” instead of “absent.” Superman plucks the errant alien from his exo-suit, and of course he’s some little green slimy thing that Superman finds beneath his contempt. He walks away, feeling his point has been made, because he has a hankering for some pie.
I’ve got to try the apple pie at Melvin’s Diner in Metropolis. I’m a decent fan of pie as it is, but this stuff must be like manna from heaven, because Superman abandons a crowd of citizens worried that he didn’t beat the slimy alien enough to go get some. The little alien does take off in an escape pod, though, leaving some viscous black goop in his wake. Meanwhile, Superman is down at the diner demanding pie and telling everyone to leave him alone. I mean, this pie must be fucking incredible because he practically rips off Jimmy Olsen’s head for talking to him while he eats it. While Superman is munching away, the black goop issued by the slimy alien has taken over all over Metropolis and stopped everyone in their tracks, a point Superman notices once he has eaten his third slice of apple pie.
You can see Clark wrestling with his god of strength overlay, but ultimately he convinces himself that he should save Metropolis simply because he is awesome. He blows his super-breath over the city, freezing the black goop to brittle hardness, then shatters it with one big punch that must have the force of ten apple pies behind it! Then, as the crowd below stares up in reverent shock and fear, Superman flies away to spread the word about Melvin’s Diner’s apple pie: so good, you’ll delay saving an entire city for it!
Manapul gets his shot at writing one of these tie-in issues, after providing some beautiful covers for the series (go check them all out, they’re great), and does a capable if not entirely memorable job. The storytelling is almost too cookie-cutter, though I’d prefer that over confusing and experimental layouts. There are several great single and two page spread splash pages, which makes this the quickest read out of all the Justice League: The Darkseid War tie-in issues. The simple nature of the story, however, makes this the uninitiated reader’s best bet if they just want a slice of the series but don’t want the whole pie. Damn, I want some apple pie.
Bits and Pieces:
When one of the strongest beings in the universe becomes the god of strength, well you know there’s going to be apple pie involved. Superman takes to being a god with all of the contempt for humanity and egomania you would come to expect with such a station, I’m sure Ma and Pa Kent would be proud. Luckily, this story gives us Supergod’s Kryptonite: apple pie. And uh, probably Kryptonite, too. And come to think of it, his shitty attitude is kind of his hubris, as well. You just can’t find good omnipotence these days!