Review: SUPERMAN #27
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Colours: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Superman #27: A cosmic-level threat has come to Metropolis! Synmar has traveled across the galaxy to unleash hell on Superman, and our hero must learn that this creature is so alien that he will have to reinvent how he’s going to fight! To that end, Superman goes to the source to learn where this new nemesis came from, only to find himself in a corner of the galaxy he’s never seen before, way off the map—and he may find the return journey even harder than getting there! Featuring an appearance by the Justice League and a new foe unlike anything the Man of Steel has ever faced.
Superman #28, the penultimate issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ run, features the continuation of Superman’s fight against the Synmar Utopica. The one facet that makes this foe than most others that Superman has faced is his uncommunicativeness. Superman is thrust into a fight with no hints as to who this creature is or what his motivations are. And worse, there is no avenue for negotiation or cessation of hostilities.
But, it sees that Superman starts to make some inroads this issue. First, he manages a brief respite while they exchange names. Then the Synmar Utopica leads Superman back to his home planet. The good news is that the Synmar Utopica is able to communicate with Superman. The bad news is that the Synmar homeworld has an orange sun, which severely reduces Superman’s power level.
In a few pre-Crisis Superman stories, it had been established that Superman’s powers are diminished by about half under an orange sun. It may be coincidental rather than intentional, but I like that this hearkens back to those stories. I am also curious as to what effect other suns would have on his powers. If his powers are depleted under a red sun, and halved under an orange sun, then logically they should be increased under a white or blue sun. I would like to see a future writer explore this possibility in future stories.
Meanwhile, Lois receives a visit from Lana Lang. Lana seems somewhat bothered by things Clark had said when she recently interviewed him. Instead of responding to Lana’s concerns directly, Lois hands Lana the manuscript of the book she has just completed. It seems to me that Bendis is hinting that this book will figure largely in his final issue next month. Perhaps it will hold some big revelation that ties together Bendis’ entire Superman story.
Personally, I’m hoping that Bendis will pull a Roseanne, and that Lois’ book will be Lois’ fictionalized version of her life, revealing that most of Bendis’ changes to the mythos never took place. Jon never aged seven years in a few weeks. Nor did he move to the 31st Century. Clark never revealed his secret identity, and the next month’s issue will written by Peter J. Tomasi, picking up right where he left off.
However, this almost certainly won’t be the case. I hope it does in some way manage to tie up Bendis’ run in some way that makes the run not entirely pointless, but I don’t think that’s also somewhat doubtful.
Also, the solicitation text mentions is somewhat misleading. It promises an appearance of the Justice League, who are noticeably absent from Superman #27. I suspect that Bendis originally planned to conclude this story this month, but that was pushed back to next issue. This isn’t really a major beef, but if you’re just buying this issue for the League appearance, then you’re wasting your money.
Ivan Reis and Danny Miki’s art is stellar in this issue. From Superman’s battle in space to Lois and Lana’s conversation in Metropolis, all of it was perfect. I especially loved the half page image that depicted Superman and Synmar in front of Saturn. I would love to see a poster of that image.
This was a somewhat interesting Superman story, with a fairly unique villain. I am also intrigued by the significance of Lois’ book, even though I suspect that it might prove anticlimactic. Bendis’ stories have been somewhat hit-or-miss, but Superman #27 has proven to be one of the better issues of his run.