By: Adam Basciano

Clark Kent is at a Smallville cometary visiting the graves of his earthbound parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent.  A voice over (the comic book equivalent that is) chronicles Superman’s arrival in Metropolis, and the mixed reaction he’s received.  Some view him as a menace, while others view him as a hero. All this is intercut with a montage of Superman’s exploits, ranging from his run in with Glenmorgan, to his run in with the fire entity, and the invisible creature.  Also included are previously unseen adventures against giant robots and Titano, the giant ape.  Turns out all this was a presentation by Bill McCoy, for a potential segment Lois might air on her nightly news program.  Meanwhile, Clark Kent is assisting Heather Kelly on her story about the demolition in the Hobs Bay Area.  However, Clark had forgotten to meet her there.  Arriving instead is an “Icy Funnel Cloud”, that apparently originally sprouted up from the ground. Superman arrives on the scene to discover that the alien ice cloud is turning everything  into ice.  What’s worse, the alien entity has some how assumed Heather Kelley’s form, leaving her in some kind of icy stasis, but not completely turned to ice.  Superman’s only recourse is to separate Heather from the cloud using his heat vision.  The cloud dissipates, but Heather has seemingly disappeared.  Superman fears that he accidentally killed her.  However, the issues end with a possesed looking Heather Kelley meeting with two possesed looking homeless men. Clearly, these two are connected to the adversaries from the last two issues. The trio communicate in some alien language, with the only recognizable words being Clark Kent.

This story reminds me a bit of the Brian Azzarello story “For Tomorrow”, when Superman battled the elements.  Come on, as much as you’ve tried to forget it, you remember that huge element monster. Normally that would be a negative comparison, yet in this case the stories are quite different.  In “For Tomorrow”, Superman battling the elements was random and made no sense.  Here, there’s a reason behind it and you can sort of see where the story is going with this.  Granted we’re not exactly sure yet, but that’s the fun of reading the full story though.  Another month goes by and yet again we see mentions of story taking place in Action Comics.  Even more so in this issue, as we actually get scenes from Action Comics.  If they keep doing this continuity thing, I could get used to it.  Remember during the “New Krypton” story?  The triangle numbering was brought back and all the Superman books were a chapter in this grand epic.  Yet, the events in each book for me at least, felt entirely independent and disconnected. Here we have two books that are separated by a 5 year continuity gap, still finding a way to stay connected.  What a difference a couple of years and a relaunch make.  As for this mysterious connection between the alien threats and Superman; the ending suggests that they either have a separate beef with Clark Kent, or they know he’s Superman.  One way or another, the stakes have been raised.

Nicola Scott assumes art duties for this issue and has a strong first showing. This is my first exposure to her drawing the Man of Steel, which works in her favour.  I don’t have any preconceived notions or expectations.  She just flat-out gives a solid rendition of Superman and his supporting cast.  Another plus, she has the distinction of drawing a scene I’d never thought I’d see before.  Superman flying while talking on his cell phone! A unique sight indeed.  The action in this book is chaotic and in a good way.  The only way I can describe it is a cross between the movies “Twister” and  “The Day After Tomorrow.”  That’s enough to make Mr. Freeze excited, bringing warmth into his cold heart.

This issue takes what’s been built in the previous issues, expands and improves upon it.  If that trend continues, the sky’s the limit for Superman.

Overall Grade 8.5/10