[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Art: Tom Derenick & Trevor Scott
Colors: Stephen Downer
Letters: Travis Lanham
Superman Giant #2 finishes up the two-part story Superman story “Edurance,” as well as reprinting the second issues of Superman/Batman, Green Lantern (2005) and The Terrifics. The reprints really hit two significantly differently eras as Superman/Batman and Green Lantern are at least 13 years old and The Terrifics is only 7 months away from its debut issue having come out of the recent Dark Knights Metal event.
Superman has about five places he needs to be at once in light of the tornadoes he’s encountering. He does a fine job of averting some direct disasters, but it becomes the secondary dangers that really drive the story. It mostly boils down to the kids who met Clark in the previous issue and are concerned about the out-of-town reporter that drive the story. Superman finds the mom and learns the two kids are unaccounted for in the aftermath of the twisters.
Not surprisingly, Superman finds the kids in time, and is able able to write a first class human interest piece about the people in Tornado Alley and why they continue to choose to live there.
One-off stories are usually of two different kinds: all action or an insightful look into the character of the protagonist. Long ago the former was the standard of the day. Today, comic readers are used to something deeper. Jimmy Palmiotti does a great job with the two-part “Endurance” to incorporate both elements. This issue’s tale doesn’t lack for a number of super-heroics, but also nails the core of Superman’s character in the midst of a natural disaster, almost pitting the Man of Steel against God. It’s not so much a conflict against the Almighty, but rather a treatise on how the individual deals with natural disasters.
While super-powered, the Last Son of Krypton’s genuine care for others is what comes through. There’s no impotent whining about “why,” only Superman doing what he can to alleviate the carnage and help those he can. It’s not only Superman, but the kids Superman must save are depicted with the same “best of us” characterization as they are trying to find Clark Kent whom they believe to simply be an out of town reporter. Even the super-rescue of the Hispanic man turns out to complex as his couple lines of dialogue flesh out what could’ve been a silent faceless character.
Lastly, this story features a classic Superman here, Clark there moment that has been at the center of Superman tales since his first appearance in Action Comics #1. This motif isn’t used as often anymore because so many characters are “in the know” about Clark’s identity now, but this revisiting is a welcome moment. And, let’s not forget that the story is wrapped up with a real human interest moment as Clark writes about the people impacted by the tornadoes and their reasons for staying in that area and never mentioning Superman’s role. How’s that for a classic spectacled wink!
Superman versus nature may not be the most exciting of plots, but the character aspects more than overcome this. He at least punches a tree, I think!
The very human aspects of “Endurance” dove tail nicely with the reprints from Superman/Batman and Green Lantern. Thematically, they go very well together. Character is at the forefront with all three. With the reprint of the very recent The Terrifics #2, a the highlight of the Metal fallout, this is an excellent package and a heck of a value for $5.