Written by: Max Landis
Art by: Jae Lee, June Chung and John Workman
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: February 17, 2016
This book is one of my favorites out right now and while you don't really know what to expect each month, I go by the motto, "In Max Landis We Trust." That is a total turnaround from how I felt before that first issue came out, but of course, that was before Landis blew my mind. This series has transitioned from fairy tale to dark and gritty and then last month gave us pure hilarity. All the while giving us more heart than any main Superman book has shown since the beginning of the New 52. So, It's with a smile on my face that I start this month's issue...Let's see if it's still there at the end.
The issue opens with Clark in Metropolis competing for a spot on the Daily Planet's Charlton Memorial Laureate Program and we see right away that he is a fish out of water who is going to have to learn how to walk real quick. The best part of the opener is when he tells his Mom that he is up against some guy named Louis Lane. I'm sure there will be some reviewer out there that will get on their soapbox about the joke, but I thought it was a great way to not only shock and embarrass Clark when he finds out the truth, but to go full circle when he finds out how kick ass LOIS is.
I didn't mention that the Daily Planet has sent the students to the Cerberus Summit to get a couple of interviews. It may not sound like much on the surface, but when we learn that the interviews are with Oliver Queen, Lex Luther and Bruce Wayne, the whole thing gets pretty damn exciting. This issue is set up to be an issue of awesome first meetings and it kicks right off with Lois.
She is awesome, but what else would you expect. Landis nails the intelligence and confidence and brash confidence that is Lois lane, but it goes beyond that. After Clark gets his awkward greeting out of the way, Landis works his magic and within a couple of panels it is clear that Lois and Clark are beginning a beautiful friendship right before the readers eyes...whether Clark wants to or not. Like so many great moments with these two, Lois is in full control. Then things get even better.
Up until now, the books in this series seem to be distinct chapters in Clark's life that run together, but have little carryover from issue to issue. That changes when Oliver Queen (fresh from his speech) recognizes Clark...or should I say Bruce Wayne. How great is that? When I read this issue's solicit, it didn't even cross my mind that Oliver would recognize Clark from the last time he saw him...posing as Bruce Wayne for his birthday party. It's a slow burn joke that really paid off and had me laughing out loud. It also was the in that Clark needed as Oliver whisks him away in his helicopter and after learning his true identity, grants him an exclusive interview. On a side note, how great is it that one of Superman's first secret identities was Bruce Wayne?
We quickly find out that this Oliver Queen has grown up quite a bit from last issue and also that while Clark is a bit of a greenhorn, he absorbs everything.. While Oliver talks of being a new man of charity after his time on the Island (yes, the Island), it seems like it's as much as an instruction manual to Clark as an interview for the Daily Planet. That continues when Lex also grants him and interview.
It seems pretty obvious that Max Landis loves Lex...or does he hate him? I guess it's not so obvious because Lex comes off as both a visionary and an asshole with each word that comes out of his mouth. It's all very believable and also fitting that Lex already feels so superior to Clark and everyone else in the World that you can only smile thinking how much Superman is going to "screw with him" and his big, bald head. It's not just what Lex says, but how he says it in this meeting that makes the scene so good and then when Lex ends it by dropping Clark off in the buildings daycare center, it is pretty much perfect. I hate to say it, but it goes down a bit after this.
It all starts when Clark meets a really young Dick Grayson in the daycare and it starts to feel like we are playing six degrees of Superman. I liked the idea of Clark getting his Bruce Wayne information from Dick, but everything felt too forced. When Dick tells Clark that The Batman is the dark who needs a light it was a bit too much. That continues when he goes back to his hotel room to write up his interviews and is visited by a very special visitor. It's easy to guess who it is, but it ends up in a scene that may give both a little more information about each other, but again, felt really forced and maybe even presented to mimic a scene in a certain upcoming movie. It's not that I didn't like the scene, I just wish it would have been a little more subtle. There was one last awesome moment at the end that showed that Lois always works every single angle and is simply awesome.
I liked this issue, but I didn't love it as much as the first two. Don't get me wrong, it is still better than any of the main Superman titles that DC is putting out these days, but because it felt a bit forced, It loses some points in my book. Lois is the best part of this issue and Landis gives us just the right amount of her to make it work so well.
I have a feeling that Jae Lee's art is going to be very divisive when this issue is discussed. I hated it. I am not a fan of his style at all and while I really liked his Lex Luthor, I hated almost everything else. I'm sure that some people reading this are getting mad at me right now, but I will no fake the funk and pretend to like something I don't. This is a huge don't!
Bits and Pieces:
I liked this issue, but after loving the first two, this one fell a bit flat. The setup was there for a kick ass issue, but it was overly forced and I didn't like Jae Lee's art one bit. Still, seeing an alternate take on Clark's first (well, second in Ollie's case) meetings with three of DC Comics biggest names was cool and still better than most of what is on the shelf these days. This one still gets two snaps, but not the twist.