Review: Superman #34 (800th Issue)

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

Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason

Artists: Ed Benes, Dough Mahnke, & Jack Herbert

 

Summary

“IMPERIUS LEX” part two! As the conflict continues, Superman teams with Lex Luthor to bring peace to a leaderless and warring Apokolips as a new warrior enters the battlefield: Lois Lane, female fury. May Granny Goodness have mercy on all their souls…

 

Positives

This would have been issue #800 of Superman, had the title’s number not been reset to #1 for the New 52 and Rebirth relaunches. So, this issue fittingly presents the start of an epic storyline in which the Kent family find themselves stranded on Apokolips.

On top of this, Lois, Clark, and Jon are separated, which allows each of them to use their own skill set and approach to dealing with the situation. Neither Jon nor Lois are shoved to the background while Superman handles the crisis solo.

Although she is physically the weakest of the three, Lois shows her true mettle. She is taken prisoner by Granny Goodness, but soon earns a place in Granny’s Female Furies.

Next, we see Luthor unexpectedly rejecting the opportunity to install himself as ruler of Apokolips. Even more shocking, he presents Superman as the true successor to Darkseid – and the prophecy seems to indicate Superman actually is the person prophesied.

Finally, we see Jon run afoul of some Apokoliptian troops. He meets this threat as we expect an excitable ten-year-old with superpowers would – with brute force.

This issue is a real treat for fans of Kirby’s New Gods, using a number of the characters from the Fourth World. There is also a very obscure reference to Alianna Hubbard, a human who became a Female Fury in the 34th issue of the original Miracle Man title

 

Negatives

DC makes reference to this being the 800th issue on the variant cover, but this is not mentioned on the regular cover or in book. No extra pages or gimmicks are added to commemorate the occasion. Some would feel this would not be enough and might wish that DC had done more to mark this milestone. Personally, I feel the variant did this well enough, although I think they should have added at least a blurb to the regular cover as well.

This also brings up the issue of legacy numbering. DC restored Action Comics and Detective Comics to their legacy numbering with the Rebirth relaunch and Marvel is making a big deal of legacy numbering as well.

I don’t think DC should go crazy with their legacy numbering and apply it to every title like Marvel is doing, but I feel that Detective, Action, Superman, and Batman are the four titles that should carry their original numbering, as they are DC’s only titles that have been in continuous publication since their beginnings in the Golden Age. However, I don’t think this is a major complaint, and will continue to enjoy the book under whatever numbering system DC uses.

While this story fits in with the Fourth World as depicted in the Justice League: Darkseid War storyline, it doesn’t seem to fit too well with how it is shown in the Green Lantern titles, and certainly not with the events in the Mister Miracle mini. DC really needs to work out a cohesive vision for the Fourth World and make sure the different titles adhere to it.

 

Verdict

The story is set on a massive scale, where Superman and his family – along with Lex Luthor – may well be determining the future of Apokolips itself. Superman continues to be one of DC’s finest titles.

 

 

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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.