THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Issues #1 and #2 of Superman Unchained seemed to promise a lot of action this month. However, Superman Unchained #3 does not deliver on this promise and is, without a doubt, the weakest of the three issues so far. With Scott Snyder and Jim Lee at the helm, it’s disappointing to see this dip in quality. But even at their worst, these two still produce a good comic.
Lee’s art is really starting to shine through in Issue #3. Lee has quite a bit of experience in the field, and his style is recognizable to almost every comic enthusiast, but from comic to comic, artists have to change their style based on the subject matter. Lee’s style for Unchained is really coming together, and it is awesome to see such a great artist adjust ever so slightly for this run.
In a notable scene, General Lane describes his disgust for the Man of Steel, stating that he thinks Big Blue is a coward for not taking out dictators and despots across the world, instead deciding to “save cats from trees.” It is an interesting scene cut short by an ascension attack.
The comic has decided to focus on Ascension, the anti-technology group that seemingly crashed the satellites into Earth back in Issue #1. The group has hijacked an exorbitant amount of armed robots from Japan, and is using them to lay siege to Tokyo. The comic ends with Superman and Wraith arriving on the scene, ready to take on the drones. While Ascension isn’t the most interesting group of rogues around, the focus means we might see some actual forward movement in the so-far exposition heavy comic.
It’s nice to see Superman get mad. Being a boy scout sometimes works for him, but it is always refreshing to see emotion from the Man of Tomorrow.
The issue teases a good Issue #4. Wraith claims to be assigned to kill Superman, the Luthor and Lois storylines continue, as Luthor has now seemingly kidnapped Jimmy Olsen, and Lois and her plane crew were saved from drowning by a mysterious man with a glowing crystal. Hopefully issue #4 will deliver the action and excitement one would expect.
The comic begins where issue #2 left off, with Superman injured and at the mercy of General Lane and Wraith. After a small fight with Wraith (where Supes gets kicked halfway across Utah), for some reason, Lane, Wraith, and Superman become hunky-dory and Lane explains the whole installation in the salt flats to Big Blue. This is an abrupt development that doesn’t make sense whatsoever. Lane has been hostile and bent on telling Superman nothing at all, but all of a sudden, decides to tell Superman everything. Not only is it nonsensical, but it leads to the comic being an exercise in straight-up exposition.
The beautiful art and interesting story are great, but it is still exposition heavy and still contains the decision to make General Lane forget that he wanted Superman to know nothing about his Salt Flats installation. Hopefully Issue #4 explains this nonsensical change in the character.