The origin of the Parasite has been revealed in Superman #23.4 and we are in for quite a ride.
Aaron Kuder takes the solo route in this Villain’s month issue. He wrote the story and the artwork for Parasite. When it comes to a creator working on both the artwork and the story, the overall picture is revealed exactly the way the creator wants it to and this issue delivered on both ends. The art style served its purpose on both the action and storytelling facets of the comic. Superman makes a short appearance in the book for a battle against Parasite. The scenes were outrageous, and it was because of the attention to detail in the character modeling of Parasite.
Kuder took the character and made it hideous. Parasite appears weary when hungry, and vicious when fed. The artwork excelled in making the villain look like an actual parasite as opposed to just a metaphor. Using that artistic direction gave the script a stronger body to build off of and benefited the comic in every way.
The New 52 Parasite is named Joshua Michael Allen. An individual that, although very unlikable, was able to get pity out of the reader in most circumstances. Joshua definitely didn’t have it easy and it was evident in the delightfully intuitive side notes that Kuder added to brand a particular scene with a specific word.
These words helped you not only see into the mind of Joshua but also the perception of innocent people through the eyes of a villain. Once Joshua became the Parasite, all the pity was removed and it was replaced with disgust for the individual he has become. The final page was absolutely haunting and it was a mirror image of the end of Joshua and the rise of Parasite.
Superman 23.4 delivers in most ways, but it does stagger ever so slightly. Villain’s Month was meant to showcase specific enemies that the heroes of the DCU had to face. Only a small number of them show the actual hero apart from the cover artwork. This issue contained Superman and although the fight scene was well developed and entertaining, took away from Parasite’s spotlight. Kuder did an incredible job of pulling emotions from the reader by creating a very unique character to take the mantle of Parasite.
An argument can be made that the issue could’ve been stronger if they hadn’t fought. The purpose was to display that even Superman was not immune to Parasite, but devoting three pages to that as opposed to an arc where Superman was placed in a very difficult circumstance would have been stronger. The positive side of that was that the origin and introduction of the character has already been pushed aside and does not need to be addressed in Parasite’s eventual arc. That being said, the reader will wonder at the end of the issue if Superman really needed to be in the comic or not and they shouldn’t when the final image was so vile that it should be the only thing to talk about after finishing the comic.
Superman #23.4 is a successful entry into the Villain’s month catalogue. The story and artwork blend very well due to Aaron Kuder’s handling of both ends. Parasite will linger on the reader and leave him/her excited to see what happens next. This comic will leave you with either disgust, pity, hatred, or all of the above.