It’s Superman vs. Ulysses in Superman #38 by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr. on pencils, Klaus Jansen on inks, Laura Martin w/ Ulises Arreola, Dan Brown and Wil Quintana on color, and Sal Cipriano on lettering.
Superman and Ulysses duke it out after Superman forces Ulysses to send everyone back to Earth, and his world gets destroyed (he was going to use people to stabilize/stoke the planet’s core I believe). Romita’s artwork skids between absolutely unappealing (the cover on my issues) and atrocious when drawing people with their Cro-Magnon skulls, but his action is rather gorgeous; energy, rain, environments and buildings, especially his landscape oriented action shots are actually extremely beautiful and dynamic as they’re getting destroyed. Maybe he should stick to environments and special effects and that’s it. The coloring on this book is also very appealing as well, highly stylized and makes his art look much better than it actually is. That always gets my attention.
Superman, in his fight with Ulysses displays a new superpower (perhaps the first in a long time) unleashing a solar flare from his entire body. It’s a good power, one that makes sense with Kryptonian’s solar powered MO (being said you’d think Superman and Starfire would be better friends) and in the process his Lee designed Nu52 costume gets destroyed. What replaces it, revealed as he reveals him being Superman to Jimmy Olsen, is more or less the same but less armored looking and leaning slightly more to his more fabric based costume. It’s not very different and I doubt it will register as such much when drawn by other people.
This story isn’t anything new but the coloring here is really really nice during the action scenes. They get boring again when it’s more domestic. The reveal of the new power is neat and the costume change is so subtle it’s almost not new at all, a little less fussy and detailed and more classic leaning, but that’s about it.
Jimmy Olsen what are you wearing. Comic book artists you really need to look at some fashion blogs, tumblr and or current TV shows, so often fashion for young people is always 10+ years out of date. Jimmy would not be dressing like that in 2015, not to work either. Romita’s artwork like I said is very hit or miss. The swirling energy of Superman’s solar flare, the battle in the rain, they were all really nice, everything else is pretty sub-par. Again the coloring team on this really saved it by making those action scenes so nice.
Great coloring but Romita’s spotty artwork make this both a strange pleasure and eye stabber of a book. Johns knows how to write pretty classic stories that are neither great nor sub-par. This issue may be remembered for introducing a new power to Superman and has some great moments, but otherwise it’s not particularly a stand-out outside of those moments.