[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Art: Andy Kubert & Sandra Hope
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
It’s not often that a “fight” issue is also equally as much a “character” issue, but that’s what the lead story in Superman Giant #5 proves to be. For his next task in his quest to find the alien abducted Earth-girl, Alice, Superman must face off against Mighto in a 12-round boxing match in order to gain more knowledge about Alice’s abduction.
While the story seems to simply be a fight, it goes deeper as Moto appears to be stronger and faster than the Man of Steel. Mighto wins round after round, forcing Kal-El to barely make it to the bell a number of times. It’s not until the final round when a very bloody and clearly struggling Superman makes it clear to Mighto that for him, there are no limits. At this point Mighto realizes that it’s a whole different mindset for the Man of Steel, Superman has something he’s fighting for. It’s not just an ideal in this case, but the life of an innocent little girl.
These Walmart exclusive Giant Comics continue to prove to be winners. While it’s obvious that the reprints are quality, the new lead stories are not simply filler. Tom King’s “Up In The Sky” demonstrates that it’s possible to capture the essence of Superman’s character while in a shorter page count and with a lot less hoopla.
Superman is not one to give up easily, and in a nutshell, this is the heart of this story. Despite the fact that he appears to be outmatched physically, it is his indomitable will that is showcased in his match with Mighto. Even his alien ringmen provide some comic relief as well as inspiration in their coaching as a bloody and beaten Superman seeks a moment of respite between rounds.
Kubert, Hope and Anderson succeed in communicating not only Superman’s determination, but also extent of his injuries in the boxing match. For a character more suited to the wide angle, the art team does a fine job of executing closeups and Point-of-View shots to heighten the drama of the match. It’s only 12 pages, but they go a long way. It’s particularly evident in the moment when Mighto realizes that he’s misjudged Superman’s limits and the pacing of the 12 rounds in the 12 pages. There’s no mopey, wishy washy Superman here, he’s not giving fighting for what he believes in.
As always, these Giant issues contain some fine reprints, Superman/ Batman #5, Green Lantern #5 and The Terrifics #5. You can’t say you don’t get a lot for your $5!
There’s no real negative here as the story is direct and straightforward and zeroes in on the makeup of Superman’s character. The strong character work elevates this “fight” issue to something more.
Pound for pound, this is the best Superman title out there right now. Make the effort and hunt down this Walmart exclusive, not because it’s harder to come by, but because it gets the Man of Steel right. You’ll feel the lump in your throat as Superman refuses to submit and Mighto realizes he doesn’t have the will power to defeat Superman.