[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Andy Kubert
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Colors: Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
“You made me weak!” Superman to Clark Kent. “You never made me strong!” Clark Kent to Superman.
While Superman searches the galaxy for a kidnapped girl, she retells the tale of the Man of Steel’s race against the Fastest Man Alive! Then, the human and Kryptonian sides of Superman clash as the hope of finding the girl becomes increasingly unlikely. Originally published in SUPERMAN GIANT #9 and #10, Superman: Up in the Sky is Tom King’s perfect love letter to Superman!
The Race…. This one has been going on for a long time. I find that any mention of technology that could even capture Superman and the Flash running at a top speed is ludicrous. But it is the comics, and somehow people are watching! I’ve never seen sweat pouring off the Man of Steel in this way. Tom King’s words make you feel every mile and the urgency needed for Superman to even finish the race.
Tom King highlghts an ongoing questions that was first broached in 1967, visited again in 1976, and has been a reoccurring theme as of late to 2017. But this time, it is through a child’s eyes. The very child that Superman is trying to find and save. Alice, the small child that was kidnapped and started Superman’s inter galaxy quest. King never lets us in on who is recounting the tale until the last frame. And it is told from an “older voice”. I mean what child can recount Lex Luthor’s motives at the age of the child in this comic.? Alice can and her faith in Superman is incredible. King actually had me in full blown Daddy concerned mode with this script.
And if Andy Kubert is not tugging at your heart strings in his display of this Alice, in chains, clutching her action figure of Superman like a teddy bear while other alien prisoners are shackled around her. This is agonizing.
Tom King brings us closer to the end of this journey as we are seeing the realism of her plight set in. But that one strand of hope remains…in Superman.
Positives (even more)
That age old story… The Man in the Mirror…The only one holding you back is staring right back at you in the mirror! The conclusion of Up in the Sky is getting near. It is always darkest before the dawn, and King recounts that in a inner confrontation between Clark Kent and Superman. One hailing from Smallville, Kansas and one from Krypton. This chapter screams of philosopher Immanuel Kant and the Greater Good. How can this one mission, one life, one girl be more important than guarding the Earth? Kryptonian logic is as sterile as Mr. Spock and his Vulcan heritage. But fortunately, Ma and Pa Kent had other things to say about it.
Batman has his duality in himself and his nemesis Two-Face. Superman comes to the realization he cannot save Alice without Clark Kent. And Clark realizes he cannot save Alice without Superman. As Superman recounts to Clark “Hope is a myth used to motivate men to do what they cannot!” Tom King is a genius!
The Giant Issues have the entire story if you have not read it yet! But Tom King has captured a myriad of levels of Superman. The only negative is that stories this good have to come to an end!
He’s been beat up physically and emotionally. He’s been tested to his limits. And now he faces the race to end all races and the struggle within himself. Again, the old story about a kid throwing star fish into the ocean. It makes a difference to that star fish he tells the old man. And this story makes a difference to Alice…and to hope!