Friday, April 8, 2016
Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #3 Review and **SPOILERS**
I’m Going Back to Krypton, to Krypton, to Krypton
Art By: Neal Adams, Buzz and Josh Adams, Tony Aviña
Lettered By: Cardinal Rae
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 6, 2016
**NON-SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Last issue, Neal Adams slid his erect member into our ears and proceeded to thoroughly fuck our skulls until our brains were the consistency of milky oatmeal. So what does he have for act three? Well, I imagine he’ll peel back our skull caps and sink a spoon into our cranial sludge and lap away at heaping spoonfuls of our grey matter. I feel like Neal Adams creates this comic with the same panache as a street huckster fleecing rubes with his Three-Card Monty shtick: “Watch the queen, you know what I mean, take a peek, there she goes, take a look, KALIBAK!” He’s got decks of cards stuffed up his mile-long sleeve, and they’re all marked. As a responsible comic book reviewer, it would be wrong of me to suggest that you huff a bunch of spray paint or drink a bottle of absinthe before reading this comic book, but if you happened to do these things, I wouldn’t call law enforcement. Me, I’ve got to take this comic book like I take my antibiotics: stone cold sober. And rectally. It’s a long story. Read on for more about this comic and less about my prostate!
If you’re jumping on this book at issue three, I’d like you to contact this website and let us know what compelled you to enter this mind-bending fray already in progress. Indeed, you could start reading this miniseries now, but you would need to take several odd things at face value: there are three other Supermen, besides Superman, and they all have stupid haircuts. Our Superman, Clark Kent, is threatening them in the ruined office of Lex Luthor, demanding to know where Kalibak has taken Rafi, who is some little kid with a dog that Clark stole from a Middle Eastern battlefield two issues ago. To be fair, it was at the behest of a winged demon-alien that’s been hanging around, that only Superman can see. Usually. Anyway, the three-man Superman Fan Club explain that they are Kryptonians, though weaker than Clark, and (with the fanged satan-monster’s backup) say that they are from New Krypton, a planet exactly opposite from Earth but in the same orbit, revolving around the Sun at the same rate. This was a storyline in Superman and Action Comics about eight years ago: Kandor and its inhabitants are rescued from Brainiac, and (after they mill about on Earth for a while) the city itself flies to a created planet just opposite of Earth. It is sort of weird to see this arc get resurrected again, but also kind of cool because I always liked the fact that the Kandorians finally got restored and that there was something new happening in Superman’s world. I also have a predilection for Flamebird and Nightwing, so sue me.
The three Supermen Stooges whine to Clark about Darkseid having invaded New Krypton, and that they can’t beat those nasty Parademons because they fight dirty. Superman is sort of incredulous about this, and I like it; he’s not an out-and-out prick to his also-rans, but he does pretty much say, “well, what are you dumbasses doing here, then?!” The horned humanoid-insect has a conversation with Clark, but now it seems like people can see and hear him? So they’re just cool with this monster lurking around, giving Superman advice? Clark says he’s going to go to New Krypton to get Rafi, and (as the giant green were-demon teases out of him in some strange conversation) will use one of Lex Luthor’s spaceships so he can bring Rafi back. This leads to an unnecessary but hilarious confrontation between Superman and Luthor, because Luthor is more than happy to help, being that he was busted colluding with Darkseid, but Superman still breaks his balls and holds him up by his collar. At the end, Luthor exclaims, “Do you have any idea how much I hate your hair?”
We arrive at New Krypton, half of which has been taken over by Apokolips. There’s an all-out space war in progress as Clark approaches New Krypton, so he worries for Lois who, of course, stowed away on his ship before it left Earth. He tries to eject her in a spherical space pod, but she points out that he will need her to take care of Rafi while Superman is busy rescuing cats from trees. What is it with this Superman and his total lack of forethought? He admits Lois is right, and settles her back into the ship just in time to start blowing away Darkseid’s space fleet with the weapons on Lex Luthor’s ship. Jeez, Lex, what did you plan to do with this thing? Play real-life Space Invaders? Ground Control on New Krypton tells Clark to back off so they can turn on their space taser, disabling the bad guys’ ships long enough for him to land his craft. On the surface, New Krypton looks pretty nice, and Clark is greeted by three dudes: Torb-Al and two other members of the council who probably have even stupider names. When they see Superman’s omnipresent demon-ghost friend, the council bows, to the confusion of Lois and Clark. And the reader.
Suddenly, there’s an attack by Parademons, and Superman takes off like a shot. He and his Kandorian pals smack the tar out of them for a while, then a Boom Tube open up and they flee. Superman determines to take the fight to them and flies through the Boom Tube, despite assurances by his comrades that this is a trap. It is, indeed, a trap but not a very good one because it involved Superman being overtaken by some wolf beasts and some more of Darkseid’s crew, which isn’t happening. Speaking of Darkseid, back on Earth he’s hanging out with Lex Luthor in his destroyed office, hammering out the final details of their deal, which I guess is what happened when Kalibak stole that miniature sun from Lexcorp? Doesn’t seem like much of a deal…anyway the best part of this scene is when Lex tries to exert force on Darkseid with the use of some hydraulic gloves that makes his hands look like Frank Miller hands, and Darkseid turns up the gravity so that Lex collapses to the ground and his super gloves spew hydraulic fluid everywhere. Back on New Krypton, Superman is just taking Kalibak to pieces, which has become a running theme in this series. He’s asking after his pal Rafi, but Kalibak would rather be a punching bag than answer questions. Clark sends his Kandorian friends away and continues beating the snot out of Kalibak, when Orion shows up and tells Superman that there’s got to be a better way!!!
So is this PTSD? Is this what I’m feeling? Because this comic book sure makes me feel funny. It’s so off-the-wall and fast-paced, it’s difficult to criticize: by the time I formed a cogent thought about one scene, I was already so far removed from it in the story that it didn’t seem relevant. There are some weird—and I mean weird—exchanges in this book, almost too many to mention, but it all fits with the Bronze Age styling that this miniseries has had thus far. Except for that introduction of New Krypton, that’s a more recent thing…what are you playing at, Neal Adams? As for the artwork, Adams has forgotten more about drawing and plotting comic books than some people will ever know, so it looks great. In fact, I think the inking is better on this issue than in the previous ones…and the lettering is good too. Seems like there are rotating teams of finishers on this series for some reason? I feel like that’s unusual somehow, but I’m okay with it.
Bits and Pieces:
You could sum this issue up as Superman's fist just punching through everything and everyone until its final page. Superman kicks major ass and behaves in a very heroic fashion, despite being a little curt at times. All of the characterizations seem spot-on, and of course the interiors by Neal Adams look so dynamic. My only misgiving is that we don't have answers to a lot of questions lingering from the first issue, and we've compounded our questions since then. So I'm guessing issue six will actually be an hour-long video where Neal Adams explains how much psilocybin he was on when he wrote this story.