[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Artists: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Ray McCarthy
While Superman, Superboy, and Robin search for the missing Batman, Lois is left waiting at the Kent farm, when she discovers that the large oak tree on their farm is on fire. Lois doesn’t know that this is where Jon and Damian had a run in with Kathy Cobb last issue.
Lois checks with the Cobbs, who claim to know nothing about the fire. She hasn’t heard from Clark or Jon for hours, so she heads into town to look for any sign of them. While she doesn’t find them, she discovers that several of her friends and associates in town have been monitoring her family’s private lives, and they don’t appear happy that she has found them out. Lois flees in the Batmobile, but soon finds herself face to face with Branden Cobb.
Meanwhile, Superman searches the mysterious house in Deadman’s Swamp, discovering miles of corridors that run under the town. He explores further, finding a number of people being kept alive in suspended animation tubes, including Batman, Robin, Frankenstein, and Lady Frankenstein.
The action in this issue centers around Lois, with Clark not showing up until the last two pages and Jon entirely absent. Often Lois is absent from the title or only appears with either Clark or Jon (or both). It is a refreshing change of pace to see Lois get some solo time in the spotlight. We are reminded that she can investigate a mystery on her own and can fend for herself without Clark’s aid.
It’s also a nice callback for Lois to make use of the Hellbat gauntlet that she kept as a souvenir of their fight with the Eradicator in Batman’s moon base. And it was amusing to see how it manages to let her override the Batmobile’s anti-theft security.
Well, this issue makes it more apparent that the Kent family’s idyllic country life in Hamilton County is drawing to a close. It seems that much (if not all) of the town is involved in some conspiracy that has been monitoring and interfering in their lives. When this current storyline ends, there may not be anything left for the Kents in Hamilton County anymore.
This saddens me somewhat. I had hoped that they would stay in Hamilton County for a while anyway, and maybe split their time between life on the farm and living in Metropolis.
Also, it seems that the Cobbs are at the center of this conspiracy. I had quite liked the depiction of Jon and Kathy’s friendship, and had thought that Kathy might be a lifelong friend, like Lana Lang is to his father. However, I might be getting ahead of myself, and maybe there will be some way in which their friendship can continue.
This was an exciting and suspenseful issue that has me eagerly awaiting the story’s resolution. I may be somewhat regretful that the Kents are headed for the city quite so soon, but I have faith that the title will remain just as enjoyable regardless of its setting.