Review: Superman #4

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Mick Gray

This issue picks up where the previous issue left off – the Eradicator has just killed Krypto while attempting to eliminate Jon Kent’s human DNA. This breaks the uneasy truce between Superman and the Eradicator, and they resume their earlier battle.

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Not wanting to give into the murderous rage he is feeling, Jon holds back from joining the battle, but Lois assures him that he embodies the best of both Earth and Krypton. This shores up his resolve and he joins his father in battling the Eradicator.

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The battle quickly goes against the Eradicator, however, which causes the spirits of all the Kryptonians contained in him to be released.

Then we cut to the Ace O’ Clubs in Metropolis, where we are reintroduced to Bibbo Bibowski. Bibbo has just purchased a “moon rock” which draws the Kryptonian spirits to it, bringing the Kents along with them. The rock appears to be a piece of Krypton, but seems to be hurting Clark and Jon, so Lois and Bibbo fight to get it away from them.

Superman then finds he can communicate with the Kryptonian spirits, who realize that they are now free of their imprisonment. Unfortunately, the Eradicator returns and begins recapturing them. Superman makes a strategic withdrawal with his family, as the remaining Kryptonian spirits attempt to stop the Eradicator.

As the issue ends, we see that Superman and family are retreating towards the moon, as Bibbo assures his friend and the reader that Superman isn’t running away, but that he has a plan.

The Positives

This issue contains one of the most important moments of the Son of Superman story arc. This is the moment when Jon steps up and accepts his destiny as Superboy. He doesn’t formally take on the name, but you can tell from his actions the exact moment that he commits himself to following in his father’s footsteps as a superhero.

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It was also nice to see Pa Kent again, even if it was only a brief glimpse in a vision. Family seems to be the main theme of this title so far, and Pa’s appearance reminds him and us of how the upbringing that Ma and Pa Kent gave Clark will continue on to the next generation as he and Lois raise Jon.

This also ties into one of the major themes of DC’s Rebirth event – the idea of legacy. The son has become the father, guiding his own son as he starts his superheroic journey.

The Negatives

Bibbo? Really? Well, I don’t hate the character, but he seems a rather odd choice of character to return to the Superman mythos. Generally, Bibbo was played as a comic relief character in the pre-Flashpoint era, which jars a bit with the serious themes in the title so far. However, this title has been so well written so far, that I will give the creators the benefit of the doubt and trust that they will use Bibbo to good effect in the series.

The Verdict

Still, it’s a very good issue. Even though he hasn’t officially taken the name yet, we finally see Jon in action as Superboy – a milestone in his continuing story.

4outof5

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.