Review: Superman #41

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

Writer: James Robinson

Artist: Ed Benes

 

Summary

“SUICIDE PLANET” part two! Superman and Superboy battle the alien extremists of a world on the brink of disaster in the hope of saving them from themselves!

 

Positives

Superman and Superboy are trying to save a planet about to face the same threat as Krypton. However, the population of the planet does not want to be saved. Unlike Krypton, where the ruling Science Council refused to believe that their planet was in peril, the denizens of this planet acknowledge the fact. But they feel it is their god’s will that they should die.

However, this world also has its “Jor-El” in Klain. Unable to save his planet or its populace, Klain plans to take the eggs that will hatch into his and his late wife’s offspring. Superman has to settle for saving this species by keeping these eggs safe and delivering them to their new planet.

As a side note, I like the look of the blue mask part of Jon’s air supply apparatus. It might be a good idea for Jon to adopt such a mask as a further safeguard for his secret identity.

However, the high point of the issue is Clark and Jon’s heart to heart about religion. Jon doesn’t know whether he should believe in Rao or God, or not in any god at all. So, he asks his father about his beliefs. Clark tells his son, “Honestly, Jon, I’ve seen too much not to believe in ‘something.’ But this is the important part… ‘something’ isn’t everything.”

This is somewhat cryptic, but it makes sense that Superman would believe in some form of supreme being or force, as Superman has met gods, demons, angels, and all manner of mythological beings. We may debate whether there really is a God or not in the real world, but God’s existence is an established fact in the DCU, in the form of the “Presence”.

 

Negatives

On the other hand, some could see Superman’s answer to Jon’s questions as a cop out. Given that Superman would almost certainly would have been brought up in a Christian denomination by the Kents, and that Superman has met the Spectre, who is literally the agent of God’s wrath, you would expect that he might be certain of the existence of the Judeo-Christian God.

Also, atheists might equally expect that since Clark has met gods from various pantheons might be doubtful that any god is a Supreme entity that rules above them all.

In either case, it does seem a bit weak that Superman doesn’t make any definite statement. By not trying to anger any particular group by declaring any definite belief, they might anger both atheists and believers. I feel that any such reaction would be misguided.

 

Verdict

Although the idea of a world facing the same fate as Krypton on the anniversary of Krypton’s destruction strains credibility a bit, this story leads to a thoughtful and touching father-son bonding moment, that makes this a particularly enjoyable issue of this series.

 

 

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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.