Review: Superman #14

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

Writers: Peter J. Tomasi  & Patrick Gleason
Art
: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado

Summary
Superman, in his identity as Clark Smith, Hamilton County farmer, is driving his pickup truck through the night, until he almost runs into someone standing in the middle of the road.

It turns out the mysterious figure is Superman, but not one that belongs in the main DCU. Elseworlds fans will recognize this one as the Russian Superman from Red Son.

Clark changes to his Superman outfit to let him know that he is also a Superman. The Russian Superman warns Clark that someone called Prophecy has sent his Gatherers after him. He had escaped from the Gatherers. The Russian Superman had found Superman by homing in on a “blue glow” emanating from him. He also reveals that the Gatherers are after another Superman called Kong Kenan (from New Super-Man).

The Gatherers appear and attack the two Supermen, claiming that the Russian Superman and Kong Kenan are on “the Lyst,” and as such are commodities to be consumed.

The two Supermen temporarily stop the Gatherers with a massive double blast of heat vision. While the Gatherers are stunned a new group appears: The Justice League Incarnate. The group is composed of: the Superman of Earth-23 (Editor: this Superman is US President on his Earth, inspired by Barack Obama and Muhammad Ali), Mary Marvel of Earth-5, Aquawoman of Earth-11, Red Racer of Earth-36, Green Lantern of Earth-20, and Machinehead of Earth-8 among others that aren’t introduced – an assemblage first brought together in Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.

Clark tells them that the Russian Superman told him that the Gatherers are also after Kong Kenan, so they head to China where the New Super-Man is already under attack. Clark tries to keep the Gatherers from fleeing with the defeated Kong, but doesn’t succeed. The Justice League Incarnate tells him that once the Gatherers capture a Superman, there is no way to track them.

The JL Incarnate thank Superman and prepare to head home, but Superman insists that he’s coming with them to help save the other Supermen.

Next we see Kong and a number of other Earths’ Supermen being held in cages at a location only referred to as “Elsewhere.” We see Captain Carrot, who is essentially the Superman of Earth-C. being taken from his cell and placed in a mysterious machine. When the machine is activated, it transforms Captain Carrot from an anthropomorphised rabbit into regular animal.

Positives
Well, this brings in the Multiverse, and with a bang. Will Superman and the Justice League Incarnate’s adventures give us some hints at what’s going on in the overarching Rebirth story arc? With hints dropping in other titles, such as last week’s Detective Comics and Titans titles, it seems to make sense that this story line would also be related somehow. I eagerly hope subsequent chapters will clarify how this ties into Rebirth.

I also caught that the Superman of Earth-23 refers to Clark as an anomaly. Is he aware that this Superman came from another Earth, or does he know something deeper that Clark isn’t aware of?

Negatives
I was a bit disappointed that not all of the Justice League Incarnate was introduced to the readers. I don’t clearly remember if the unnamed members were introduced in Multiversity, and would have appreciated a refresher on who they all were. However, this is somewhat forgivable, as most of these didn’t have a significant role.

I was also a bit disappointed that neither Lois or Jon were in the story. I don’t know if they will figure in future chapters, or if we won’t see them until the story arc ends. However, Superman is the title character, so it makes sense that the book will mostly focus on Clark.

Verdict
What can I say? I have always loved parallel Earth stories, and it’s good that DC is once again bringing out this staple type of story. And where parallel Earths are involved, it almost certainly must tie into DC Rebirth.

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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.