[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Penciller: Jorge Jimenez
Our story begins with Superman having a typically busy night. First he helps a space station with some emergency repairs, then he gives some help to a few of his (mostly) grateful Justice League teammates.
Finally, as evening becomes morning, things have calmed down. So, Clark heads back to his family. Asking them about their plans for the day, Lois tells him that she plans to take Jon to the Hamilton County Fair. Clark surprises them by declaring that he will join them, and that they can spend the day getting acquainted with the town they live in.
Lois is doubtful that Clark can go the whole day without leaving to deal with trouble as Superman, but Clark promises to restrain himself, even going so far as letting her hold onto his cape.
The story jumps ahead to that evening at the fair. The Smith family (they adopted this last name to use in Hamilton County) run into Jon’s friend Kathy. Although Jon doesn’t seem too interested, they promise to stop by to see her grandfather’s cow being judged for a blue ribbon.
Elsewhere at the fair, we see a trio of thugs paying suspicious attention to the fair’s ticket booth.
Returning to the Smiths, Jon is attempting to win one of the fair’s games. Then the family heads to the science exhibit put on by Jon’s school. Clark and Lois meet Tony Martinez, Jon’s teacher.
The Smiths encounter a representative from the local newspaper, The Hamilton Horn. While Lois discusses job opportunities with her, Clark and Jon head off for food.
One of the three robbers, now wearing a clown mask, is pushing his way through the crowd and literally runs into Clark. Clark is apologetic, but the clown tells him off. Suspicious, Clark uses his X-Ray vision to discover that the clown is carrying a gun and cutting tools. His super hearing tells him that the robbers mean to rob the ticket booth when the fireworks start.
Clark and Jon then continue on their quest to get some food, and meet Lois at the Blue Ribbon contest in time to see Kathy’s grandfather’s cow being awarded first prize.
Kathy’s grandfather introduces the Smiths to Doc Brooks, the local pediatrician, who displays some interest in Jon which makes Clark visibly uncomfortable. As the adults talk, Jon continues making friends with Kathy.
When a loudspeaker announces that the fireworks are about to start in five minutes, Clark feigns lactose intolerance and leaves, promising to meet Jon and Lois at the roller coaster in a few minutes.
Clark starts to change to Superman, but realizes Lois has his cape. Then he spots a medieval costume exhibit with some capes on display.
Clark rejoins Lois and Jon just in time to get on the roller coaster with them. Lois is suspicious, but Clark maintains his lactose intolerance story. Unfortunately, two fair employees are discussing the robbery foiled by a medieval cape-wearing superhero with heat vision over the loudspeaker.
I love it when a comic title takes a break from the action and shows us the hero interacting with their supporting cast on a personal level. Most of the time we might get a page or two of this in a story, but sometimes the subplots are ignored for several issues on end. So, it’s great to see how Superman and his family doing something more down to Earth than defeating the Eradicator together.
Also, it’s great to see Hamilton County being fleshed out a little. It seems clear that Kathy is going to figure big in Jon’s life, but it’s nice to also see some other inhabitants of the area. It’s a minor point, but I am pleased that Clark apologized for his overreaction when Kathy’s grandfather brought an injured Jon home to his parents in issue #2. Finally, I am interested to see how Clark and Lois deal with the local pediatrician’s interest in Jon. Will they have to let him in on their secret, or find some way to pull the wool over his eyes.
Again, there’s very little to complain about. However, one thing it would be nice to get cleared up is what Jon’s age is supposed to be. Going by this issue, I would guess his age to be about 8 to 10, but in some issues, he looks like he could be 12 or 13. But, this is a minor quibble, especially considering that there seems to be a number of years missing from the DCU timeline.
Another great issue. Again, Superman is my favourite title of the month – and given the quality evident across the whole DC line right now, that makes it quite special.