[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Art: Andy Kubert & Sandra Hope
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Clayton Cowles
On a seemingly impossible mission through space to find a little girl abducted by aliens, Superman has been running into some strange encounters. After falling through a hole in time and space and sharing a World War II adventure with Sgt. Rock last issue, the story in Superman Giant #9 takes us in a different direction. At first it seems that Superman is reliving a memory or experiencing another space/time jump. The reality is far more moving and emotionally charged.
Superman and Flash are racing for charity. It’s not looking good for the Man of Steel, so Lex Luthor calls the charity and agrees to throw in an extra billion if Superman wins in an attempt to make Big Blue feel bad about losing. The thing is, Superman’s always listening for Luthor, and he hears Lex’s pledge. Now, he knows he’s got to win. No. Matter. What. Superman digs deep and pulls off the impossible…which forces Lex to contribute that billion.
But, this is not Superman’s memory, it is the memory of the little girl who’s been abducted. We finally see that this little girl is chained in a prison with various aliens, possibly already dead and she’s holding on to her one hope of rescue as she remembers the impossibility of Superman’s victory and that he is often capable of the impossible.
Utilizing the little girl as the narrator in this issue turns out to be an extremely effective way of telling this particular story. A Superman/Flash race while always fun may not seem at once to be an appropriate chapter for this story. However, it’s more about the hope that Superman inspires in others in his ability to overcome the impossible. With the little girl narrating, we get her point-of-view as well as a lot of backstory on this little girl’s fairly unhappy life.
The final page is a harrowing and sad image. As much as the little girl wants to be rescued by Superman, now the reader feels that desire more so. With this issue the little girl has no become real. She’s not a generic plot device, but a character that evokes a lot of sympathy in the reader.
As always, the art is right on point from a splash page with unique ant’s-eye-view to some pin-up worthy pages of the Flash, Superman and even Batman. The final page, again expertly communicates visually what the narration has done throughout- expertly convey the fear and hope this little girl is experiencing in a far off alien prison.
Don’t forget this issue also contains some great reprints from Superman/Batman #9, Green Lantern (2005) #9 and The Terrifics #9!
Nary a negative! The Superman/Flash race turned out to be an excellent vehicle for communicating the backstory of the little girl.
What could’ve been an odd aside in the Superman/Flash race turns out to be a masterful character issue imbuing the abducted little girl with a real presence and personality. This story continues to be emotionally engaging and insightful. This issue expands on this and evokes some real sympathy for the little girl. Come on Superman, save this kid!