I actually had fun reading Superman #45 by Gene Luen Yang and drawn by Howard Porter. Picking up immediately where issue #44 left us, we find Superman still tracking down the criminal syndicate Hordr. Superman, whose identity as Clark Kent has now been exposed to the world, sets off cross country to find more answers on Hordr and most importantly–how does he get his powers back? Tracking Hordr thanks to an old friend at the Daily Planet, Superman heads to Oakland, California to find answers–except he gets dragged into an unexpected fight that actually leaves him with more questions.
Once again I’m a fan of Porter’s artwork. I love how well drawn the characters are and how vibrant the issue comes out. From the conversations we see Clark have to the fights in the issue, its clear from beginning to end what Howard wants to you to pay attention to. Yang compliments it further with impressive writing. Dealing with a not “super” Superman I thought would be dull, but Yang proves it otherwise. Although he doesn’t possess all of his powers Superman is now forced to rely on other means to survive. Primarily his reporter instincts that track down the crime syndicate Hordr, and using disguises to blend in with the public. There’s even a funny part about him having to catch a ride on a airplane to Oakland because he can’t fly anymore. I found that in particular pretty hilarious myself. Superman still hasn’t forgiven Lois for revealing to the world his secret identity–although she did so to save him. I hope eventually they come back to terms cause I’ve always been a fan of Lois and Clark–I have to admit it feels weird seeing them operate so independent of each other. There’s even a scene where while Clark is talking to a former Planet co-worker, Lois walks in the diner and Clark immediately leaves to avoid even talking to her. Although its a minor scene overall, Yang and Howard make it much bigger. Lois and Clark have been a team for years, so this particular moment struck a chord with me. Having Clark purposely avoid Lois shows that the situation that Clark is in as being very severe and if he can’t even trust Lois–who else is left to trust?
If I really had to pick out a negative from the issue it’ll have to be the level of Superman’s strength. We all know that basically Superman is one of the powerful heroes in the DC Universe but with his powers severely weakened it makes you wonder where exactly he ranks now? The reason I ask is throughout the fight scenes in the issue we see him struggle against other metahumans and he even says “ow” when he punches one, however I’d like to see a little more realism in the scene. I know it sounds funny saying “realism” in a comic but bare with me. I want to know is it possible for Superman to break a bone now? Can a particular opponent actually make him bleed? We see him get thrown through walls and such this issue, but I can’t recall a scene where we see him bleed. Although I’m growing to love seeing Clark go through his struggles at trying to get his powers back, I’d like for him to still feel more of what humans do. I have a feeling that the farther Clark goes in his quest, Yang will probably eventually incorporate this into his writing.
I thought Superman #45 was a great issue. It was an interesting read, and Yang and Howard did a great job on the action scenes–we all know I love those. Here we actually see Superman in a familiar element fighting the bad guys but its more difficult. No super-speed, heat vision, even his strength is almost not a factor– and I love it. At first I got to admit I was not on board but I was proven wrong. Superman #45 shows you that it takes more than powers and a cape to be Superman. It takes courage, conviction and belief to always place others above yourself. Clark hasn’t stopped doing that yet–and it makes me more of a Superman fan than before.