Review: Superman – Last Son (DC Comics)Friday, January 16th, 2009
True Believers – Book of the Month – January 2009
SUPERMAN LAST SON
Written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner
Artwork by Adam Kubert
Published by DC Comics
Who is Superman?
That is something that is not easily answered for many a comic book fan. If you were to ask any normal person they might laugh at you and say Clark Kent, and they may be right, however Superman is not any one thing for everyone. Everyone seems to have their own characteristics that make up their interpretation of the Man of Steel, and if there were a team of writers that reflected my own love of Superman, they would be Geoff Johns and Richard Donner.
Already famous as the director of the acclaimed Superman: The Movie Richard Donner has been a fan favorite in the Superman mythos for decades, and so his decision to work on Action Comics in 2006 was met with excitement. Even after the success of the original Superman movie, Donner was removed as direct for all the sequels, a decision that has always been a disappointment for many fans. Like the release of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut in 2006, Superman Last Son allowed fans to get a glimpse of what could have been, and it was sweet.
The decision to team up with superstar writer Geoff Johns didn’t hurt either. Fresh off the heels of his popular limited series Infinite Crisis, Johns teamed his writing talents with Donner and their obvious love of the character to bring one of the freshest Superman stories in years. One of the themes of Infinite Crisis was to show that the DC Universe had become stale, and its characters were no longer the beacons of Truth, Justice and the American way they had once been. With Donner, Johns was able to craft a story that would bring Superman back and bring critical acclaim back to the book that started it all, Action Comics.
The story itself is nothing short of a summer blockbuster, worthy of Donner himself. Along with the Man of Steel their are appearances by Lex Luthor, Bizarro, General Zod, Ursa, Non, Metallo, Parasite, and Sarge Steel just to name a few. When a meteor show brings a young Kryptonian boy to Earth it means big things for Superman, but even bigger things for Clark Kent. Convinced that the boy is in danger from not only villains but the government alike, Clark and Lois decide to adopt the young Kryptonian, and Christopher Kent is born. Little do they know that his real parents are on their way and are determined to turn Clark’s world upside down.
When reading the story, I can’t help but be reminded of Superman The Movie, because there are so many similarities in how the characters are portrayed. Bringing back Zod, Ursa, and Non, characters heavily influenced by their appearance in Superman II, may have seemed risky, but it paid off. They were brought back in a very intriguing way, but it still made sense in the context of the story. Not only did we get to see the return of Zod, but we also saw the return of Mon-el. A friend of Clark’s who is trapped in the Phantom Zone.
One can not talk about this story without taking time to talk about the amazing work of Adam Kubert on pencils. There has been some debate about his involvement on the project since an illness caused the last two issues to be delayed. As a result the story took 19 months to come out in issues, but all I can say is that it was totally worth the wait. I especially love his treatment of Clark and Lois in the book. Lois has been portrayed by many artists over the years, however I really like how Adam handles her, she looks very sophisticated, but at the same time shows the kindness that defines her character. I just love how Clark is portrayed, he looks like a big country boy, but I can see that there is more to him in his eyes, and Superman looks fantastic. A good balance between big and muscular, while not looking obscenely big. Also in my opinion on of Adam’s biggest strengths his his backgrounds, you can see that he spends a great deal of time getting all the details in there.
There is another special feature in this series that makes it unique, chapter four is presented in 3-D. This may sound like a gimmick, and I’m sure it was to an extent, but its explained in the series. In this issue most of it takes place with in the Phantom Zone, and the 3-D glasses act like protection goggles, and give the Zone a nice look to it. It was a really awesome affect, and I hope if we ever travel into the Phantom Zone in a movie, that it is in 3-D as well.
For me this series is all about Superman and how he fits into our world. An outsider from the moment he crashes here as a baby, Clark finds and instant connection to Chris, the boy from Krypton. And even though Superman has saved the world who knows how many times, he is still seen as an alien by the government. No matter how many lives he saves or how many friends he makes, he will always be alone, and that is the tragedy of Superman.
At the end of the day what we have here is just a great Superman story from two of the men that know him best. As Scott and I have said I’m sure hundreds of times anything that Geoff Johns touches turns to gold, and Richard Donner is the man that brought Superman to the world back in 1978. Everyone has their own interpretation of who Superman is and who he should be. I’ve never seen my Superman, but this is about as close as anyone has ever gotten.
I do believe a man can fly.
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