Another week, another installment of Adventures of Superman with Issue #5. Read more after the jump!
Joshua Hale Fialkov takes the reigns of this week’s digital installment. Fialkov, who left DC following the cancellation of I, Vampire and creative differences about the future direction of the Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns titles, is given the opportunity to show what he can do with the biggest horse in the stable. This installment, titled “Slow News Day,” is a throwback to the classic Lois and Clark dynamic that many are familiar with from the live-action Superman show Lois & Clark—the premise here being a little friendly competition while pursuing the same story.
The greatest aspect about this series so far is that it allows creators to show off what Superman means to them. Here, Joshua Fialkov demonstrates that “his” Superman is informed by John Byrne’s Man of Steel. There is strong chemistry between Clark and Lois as competitive reporters working for a newspaper. Clark himself is shown to be a competent reporter, and not a bumbling fool as famously portrayed by Christopher Reeve. I’m a sucker for great dialogue, and the chemistry between our two protagonists is outstanding. Lois has a certain spunk and likeability that has been missing from much of the New 52 titles. For 99 cents, we’re given an reminder why Lois is one of the great, strong female characters in pop culture.
One of the overlooked aspects of Superman lore is Clark’s ability to balance dual lives. While other characters, typically at a rival publisher, are seen as “relatable” for struggling to juggle super heroics with a normal life, Superman is able to inspire readers even an issue like this. If Clark can intervene in multiple disasters and still hit deadlines for work, maybe I can pick up the dry cleaning and cook dinner. Also, there’s a cameo by Super-beard and heat vision shaving, which looks cool.
Great writing can save a story with poor artwork, and that was the case here. In the opening panels, I was confused as to why Bizarro was working at the Daily Planet, and why people were calling him “Clark.” As the story progressed, the artwork deteriorated until hitting its low-point, which was an awkwardly drawn headshot splash page. It looks like a witch doctor shrunk Superman’s head, as it’s so disproportionately smaller than his body. And this is the only time that Joelle Jones thinks to draw eyes on Superman. Seriously, Superman has no eyes in every other panel he appears in.
Now, I mentioned that Super-beard shows up, which is awesome. But it shows up inexplicably. One panel, Supes is clean shaven, and then the next he looks like a homeless guy on the streets of New York. Other than looking cool, there’s no logical reason for Superman to have a beard here. It’s a lazy plot hole that ultimately distracts from a well-written story.
Verdict – 3/5
Adventures of Superman #5 is a solid, character driven story. There’s a message in the outcome of this story which anyone can apply to their professional or social lives. The characterizations are perfect, but issue #5 is ultimately weighed down subpar artwork.