Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Superman Unchained #9 Review

Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Jim Lee and Dustin Nguyen
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 5, 2014

Super Ending

I could start this review with jokes about how late this book was, but I won't.  Unfortunatley, this is the final issue of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's run and after reading it I have to admit, I'm a little sad.  I have enjoyed every issue so far and this one is no exception, but I can't help but wonder "what if".  What could have been an iconic run ended up being a nice one that reeked of wasted potential.  That being said, it was still really good and was part of DC's effort to get Superman back on track in the New 52.  Too bad it has to end just as the plan is coming to fruition.

In the last issue of Unchained, Lex Luthor told Superman and Friends (Superman's, not his) his plan to save the Earth from the massive Alien Armada gathering in Space.  For Earth to live, Superman has to die.  Leave it to Lex to make such a devious and self-centered plan look like the best option.  While everyone else wants to explore different options, Superman knows what must be done.

Through a great flashback to Clark's youth and Lex's monologue, Scott Snyder really explores what it is to be Superman and a hero in general.  There is no instruction manual or easy button to make the right path clear.  Nope, being a hero is trial and error and trying to do what you think is right.  While Lex gloats that Superman isn't perfect, we realize that's what makes him so great. He doesn't always know how to save the day, but he'll do whatever it takes to find out.

This has never been clearer then right now.  Superman takes on the Armada head-on and it doesn't look good.  However, right before the unthinkable happens, another Hero steps in to right his wrongs.  It was unexpected and awesome.  The book ends with a low key discussion between Lois and Clark.  I love the banter between these two, but it's Lois telling Clark to rest a bit that I loved the most.  After everything that happened in this series, Superman deserves a rest.

As the end of a really good series, I enjoyed this issue a lot.  Yes, it seemed a bit rushed, but in the end Snyder finished what he started...a look at what makes Superman a super man.  Like I said in my intro, I am sad for what could have been, but I'm also glad for what we got.

Jim Lee's arch nemesis may be a deadline, but man he can draw.  Everything looks so good and if this is the last full book he pencils in a long time, it's a great swan song.  I also have to give kudos to Dustin Nguyen for his dream-like flashbacks that really pack a punch with their look and atmosphere.

Bits and Pieces:

While this may not be the original ending Snyder and Lee had in mind when this series started, it was a fitting one nonetheless.  The combination of story and art is second to none which only makes this finale all the more bittersweet.  However, I will focus on what we got instead of what could have been because what we got was so damn good.


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