Review: Superman ’78 #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Wilfredo Torres
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Dave Lanphear of A Larger World
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Superman ’78 #5: Superman escapes from the Bottled City of Kandor to face down Brainiac one on one.
For many readers, Superman ’78 will conjure up feelings of nostalgia for the Christopher Reeve Superman films. It’s no surprise, for many Superman: The Movie was their first introduction to the character. Superman ’78 #5 goes a few steps better. It goes without saying at this point that Robert Venditti’s script is pitch perfect and Wilfredo Torres recreates that film world and the likenesses of the actors with seemingly unbelievable ease. (You know it’s not really that easy, right?) It really is amazing how flawlessly Torres does this!
In this issue there are lots of cameos and Easter Eggs and details that evoke many elements of the ’70’s. It’s an interesting aspect of the issue. As last issue carried a lot of emotion, this issue is more about moving the plot along. However, these added details are a real treat for anyone that has fond memories of growing up in the ’70’s or has a long comic book memory. The first one I’ll mention is that Jordie Bellaire’s shade of blue in Superman’s costume not only fits the movie costume, but is dead on the color used in Superman comics of the ’70’s. Furthermore, it also evokes the classic Mego Superman action figure. Also, we get a shot of Luthor in his ’70’s era purple and green costume seen throughout the ’70’s in comics and the Superfriends Saturday Morning Cartoon. Richard Pryor who plays a role in Superman III seems to make a cameo as well as part of the cast of Barney Miller!
There are some panels in this issue that go into a sort of “red shift” as the panels appear to be inked in red and colored only in shades of red. It’s a striking effect by Torres and Bellaire that not only sets these panels apart, and emphasizes their place in the story, but they just flat out look awesome!
As Superman ’78 #5 is the penultimate issue of the mini-series, it feels like the ending may be a bit rushed. It definitely feels like this story needs two more issues instead of one. An extra issue would be a good thing, right?
The ’70s are back with a vengeance as the creative team take the opportunity to pepper this plot driven issue with bits and pieces to which children of that decade will thrill. It all goes hand in hand in developing the look and feel of the series as a continuation of the films. And, it only really works if the book can conjure up the notion that it actually comes from the ’70s.