The H.I.V.E. has started an all-out war on Hector Hammond, and Metropolis is the battleground. Superman’s psionic weakness is put to the test in Superman #22!
Old threats have resurfaced in Metropolis and a battered Superman may not be able to stop the impending doom. The H.I.V.E. Queen and Hector Hammond have come together but instead of siding with one another, they have become foes. Superman found himself in the middle as these two telekinetic beings ripped through Metropolis. As the chaos unfolds, it seemed that nothing could stop the war from taking place, and the Man of Steel is in trouble.
Scott Lobdell continues his run on the Superman series by bringing in as much disorder to Metropolis as he can. The action sequences are well scripted and the vision that Lobdell sought out has begun to morph before the readers eyes.
I admit I was upset by the inclusion of Hector Hammond in this arc. However, Lobdell has made it a point for the reader to understand that Superman has conquered psionic villains before, but when there are multiple foes, it tends to skew Clark in a way that hasn’t been done before in the New 52. The writing does a decent job of raising the bar in difficulty and riskiness for Superman with each release, although certain aspects are beginning to fade.
Kenneth Rocafort fans will not be pleased that he isn’t a part of the artwork for Superman #22 after the cover art. Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira take his place and it has mixed results to say the least. The action sequences are very well drawn, and the colors bounce off the page. From the glowing yellow ooze that the H.I.V.E. Queen bathes in, to the Pink lightning that surrounds Hector Hammond’s powers, every page is bleeding with creativity. It adds a welcome new vibrant style that is more reminiscent of Green Lantern than Superman comics.
Lobdell had a promising first issue to this arc, but his new storytelling direction has completely disappeared from the latest issue. The mystery noir thriller style has been cut in favor of more action and very busy pages. Although the pages are very pretty, there are sequences that we’ve seen before and it doesn’t feel as innovative as Superman #21. The comic felt rushed and it appears that things are progressing faster than originally intended. It also doesn’t help that the Superman series may have a possible change in the artwork department.
Although the DC comic website lists that Kenneth Rocafort draws the next issue as well as the cover, it appears that Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira will be drawing Superman #24, after villain’s month has taken place. Whether this is a permanent change or something temporary is yet to be determined. Barrows and Ferreira draw action very well, but they stumble on certain facial expressions. They draw Superman beautifully but Hector Hammond and the H.I.V.E. Queen look strange and less impressive in comparison to Rocafort’s style on each character.
Hector Hammond in particular looks very strange; he almost always wears a half-smile. The Rocafort Hammond never smiled, and always had a condescending expression on his face. It added to the character and how highly he saw himself, and the artwork in this issue simply fails in those aspects.
Although Superman #22 has a great deal of action, the parts preceding those scenes deflated. With the possible exit of Kenneth Rocafort, it may be harder for readers to dive into Superman. That being said, the next issue in the Superman series promises a wide scale fight, the likes of which we have yet to see.