Another week, another installment of Adventures of Superman. Check out this week’s DCN review!
This week in Adventures of Superman sees the conclusion of J.T. Krul and Marcus To’s story featuring Mongul, General Zod and Superman himself. The creative team is tasked with wrapping up their exploration of Superman’s role as the protector of mankind, and the responsibilities that he should (and should not) take on. In a tale that has played with readers’ expectations of character roles, Krul and To manage to slip another surprise or two into this issue.
There are two types of writers in comics: those that know how to write Superman and those who do not. J.T. Krul falls squarely in the former category. This issue, combined with his work on the Superman Beyond digital comic, demonstrates that the key to a great Superman story is not a flashy splash page, but allowing the core of the character to shine through to the reader. Superman is an example for us to follow, as he is here. Despite the constant goading from Mongul and the ghost of General Zod, Superman is able to make a decision neither character anticipated. This leads to a surprise cameo by a fan-favorite character which is sure to generate a few smiles.
There is a scene later in the story that cements Superman’s morality firmly in the lessons learned from his Earth parents. It’s done subtlety, but effectively. I am glad that the creators saw fit to include this, as it is an aspect of the character that is often overlooked by fans and creators alike. Superman is an all-powerful, God-like being from another planet, yet the virtues that he lives by are those of man. Bravo to Krul’s script and To’s art for bringing this to the page.
A common issue of these multipart stories in Adventures of Superman is that the concluding chapter feels rushed. This issue unfortunately suffers from the same ailment. The story as a whole feels very compressed, and would have benefited from either an increased page count or an increase in number of issues. I feel that the General Zod content was this story’s strongest aspect, yet it was sadly underdeveloped.
On the art side, the complaints I’ve had in the previous two issues have carried over to here. Namely, Superman looks too young, even if it is early in his career, and the backgrounds are sparse for most of the issue.
Adventures of Superman #18 is a good, if unspectacular conclusion to J.T. Krul and Marcus To’s take on the Man of Steel. The artwork is solid and the story contains many elements ripe for discussion. While the issue suffers from uneven pacing, the story will please both casual and hardcore Superman fans.