The Story Formerly Known as Super LeagueWritten by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Ed Benes, Alex Sinclair, Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 27, 2016
Here we are, at the midpoint of the Super League story...or is it the Final Days of Superman? It makes me think that during an editorial meeting, someone (probably a lowly intern speaking out of line) mentioned, "I really like seeing these Final Days of Superman" which caused Mr. DC to spit out his coffee (which smelled a lot like Irish Whisky, btw) and yelled, "Stop the presses!" like only he can do. Thus, the Final Days of... banner on the top of this issue looking like it was supposed to be there all along. My other theory involves elves in a tree that bake cookies on the side so you see why I went with the first one. While I think that the name change was last second, reading the first three chapters of this crossover showed me that the story was not. Peter J. Tomasi (I've always wondered what the "J" stood for...I'm going with Jaguar) is taking his time putting the pieces together to give us a really good story to send us off into Rebirth. Sure, there have been some issues here and there, but we are asking one man to right all the wrongs that have plagued the Superman books for years and when you cook that kind of goulash, the kitchen is bound to get a little bit messy. This issue picks up after Wonder Woman showed up at the Fortress of Solitude looking for some answers and boy, Superman has some 'splainin to do. Does that make another great issue of (insert the name you prefer here) ? Let's find out...
While I was hoping there would be more of an explanation to why Clark didn't go talk to Diana earlier, it ends up being a "saving you for last" line that many women I know would have laughed at, but Wonder Woman takes hook, line and sinker. That doesn't mean that the entire scene wasn't awkward...Kara is still hanging around and excuses herself twice, yes twice. With everything that is going on right now, I felt it odd for Superman to barely pay attention as she leaves with a , "just go ahead and reach me" line. I said last week that Tomasi was forced to figure out how to get Supergirl in this story, but this beginning negates what felt like something important. Plus, what about the D.E.O? Shouldn't Superman go back and apologize, maybe help clean up his mess? Maybe I was wrong saying that Superman has changed back into being a better guy afterall.
Once Supergirl is gone, Diana and Clark get to the heart of the matter and while I just knew that Batman spilled the beans, the actual explanation for it was a bit less nefarious than I thought. He thought she already knew...that makes Clark look like more of a jerk, doesn't it?!? Maybe my idea of Batman moving in on Diana is true!
We then get a couple of pages that we have become accustomed to...Diana wants to help Clark get better, but Clark has accepted his fate. Like I said, we've seen this every issue, but this one ends a bit differently when Superman and Wonder Woman kiss. I know that a lot of people have had an issue with these two as a couple for numerous reasons and while I have supported the whole thing, I hated this so much. Why? Because of how bad it makes Diana look. She stood by Clark the entire Truth story and he treated her like shit. Okay, I know that at points Clark wasn't himself (the Black Mass stuff especially), but for the most part, he was himself and was a big dick to everyone including Diana. Actually, he was the worst to Diana. I understand that she still cares for him as a friend, but to go this far really seems forced and like the whole Supergirl thing last issue, an attempt to whitewash everything we've seen over the past ten months. All of this is interrupted when the two get separate calls about the parolee Superman being taken to Argus.
That's when Superman gets his first look at the new "Superman" who kind of has a mean streak to him. Tomasi continues tying in the past stories by having them make a connection between this split personality Man of Steel and Superman's newest power, the Solar Flare. I for one, hated the Solar Flare thing, not just because I found it ridiculous, but after bursting onto the scene with promises of being the reason for the whole Truth story, it was put away in mothballs until now. Of course, if we're going to dredge it up, we might as well reintroduce Ulysses as well.
While Diana and Steve Trevor watch over the parolee, Superman goes to see his old nemesis and like Supergirl, I am just left wondering why he didn't do this during the past ten months of the Truth. Especially because, like I said, at the beginnings of the story, everything pointed to the Solar Flare as at least one of the causes of his depowerment. Of course, Ulysses isn't happy to see Superman and when the parolee (I wish I could come up with a better name to describe him...maybe the Eradicator???) busts out of his cell and causes the power to go out, it's round two between the old foes. The issue ends with the new Superman getting away after showing more and more that his bad self and his Superman self are merging and Ulysses realizing the real Truth...Superman is dying.
Sometimes, when I'm done a comic, it takes me a bit to absorb what happened, what it was trying to do and so forth. I concentrate on that even more when the issue is involved in such a big crossover like Super League/Last Days of Superman. This issue is a setup issue and I don't count that as a negative if what it sets up is good. I found most of what we got here to be very forced. From Clark and Diana's kiss to the mention of the Solar Flare and then Ulysses, things are thrown at the reader with little explanation and then we just move on. The issue ends with the parolee escaping and little else to take us into the next round of the story.
Ed Benes' art was okay here. I thought his Superman looked a little on the young side and some of the action scenes got a bit confusing. However, I loved his Wonder Woman and thought his Ulysses was pretty kick ass as well. I also want to point out the whole green eyes thing going on with Superman. If it's supposed to go back and forth between blue and green as part of his problem, let us know. Plus, there is a panel this issue where his eyes are actually purple.
Bits and Pieces:
This was my least favorite issue of whatever DC wants to call it so far. At the end of the day, this issue was just setup and really didn't need to exist to keep the story moving forward. We get a forced reunion between Clark and Diana, a power and a character I hoped we were done with and the newest Superman back on the streets. I am still enjoying this crossover, but my enthusiasm is fading a bit.