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By: Adam Basciano

“The start of an insanely epic arc from the new writing team of Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens! New love interests, new roommates, and a new foe: the wicked Helspont! What does this monster want with Superman, and how does it all connect to the Daemonites?” (Source: DC Comics)

My last review of this title was harsh in terms of the story.  However, the ability of the creative team to bring things full circle and connect it back to “Action Comics #7”, brought that first story to a satisfying conclusion.  This issue introduces readers to the new creative team and their off to an adequate start. Though, it’s nowhere near “epic” as the solicitation suggests.  More exciting for me, they continued paying attention to that thing I love so much called continuity. This time, the story ties into events from “Stormwatch” and “Grifter”. Said connection comes in the form of the villain Helspont, overlord of the Daemonite Empire.  He has a bit of a Darkseid lite thing going on, but some of his claims were intriguing, and his pre-scouting of Superman was thorough so we’ll see how he developes.

Superman’s thoughts during the course of this issue provide the best entertainment for me.  Gotta love thought bubbles. Superman’s reaction to having to battle it out with another villain in the middle of Metropolis is quite humorous. It’s also true.  While this may seem amazing to onlookers, its common place for superhero folk.   Clark Kent being bombarded with requests from Lois, Perry, and Jimmy, coupled with his confusion shortly there after, was an effective display of the hectic environment of a newspaper like the Daily Planet.  I was thrilled by Superman’s thought process when he was fighting that robotic bull like tech in the streets.  His satisfaction about being able to “cut loose” on a villain, serves as a reminder of how often Superman has to hold back and was reminiscent of his battle with Darkseid, in the Justice League Unlimited episode “Destroyer.”

My favourite Superman artist is Dan Jurgens.  One of the first Superman comic books I owned featured his artwork.  So I’m somewhat partial to his work. The fact that he co-wrote and drew this book had me very excited.  Needless to say, he delivered.  Starting  off the issue with Superman jumping in front of a mother and son preventing them from getting blasted by bursts of fire, screams heroism  Every time I see a tussle between Superman and his foe in the middle of Metropolis, I’m reminded of the “Death of Superman” story-line.  Now with Jurgens doing the art, that’s even more true.  Since I’m not reviewing “Action Comics,” I havent had a chance to comment on the “costume change.” Surprisingly, the Kryptonian bio-tech morphing onto him when needed really works well and looks cool.  It also does away with the debate of where Clark puts his clothes when he changes into Superman. It’s worth noting that Jesus Merino contributed finishes on this issue.  Is it me, or do I notice more of his influence in Clark Kent?

I wasn’t all that fond of Helspont or his minion’s look.  Helspont looks rather generic.  Picture a random demon on the show “Angel,” add Ghost Rider with a blue flame on his head/face, and there you have it. The half bull/half robot was more distracting than anything else. I half expected Superman to bust out a matador routine, take off his cape, and have the bull chase after it.  The cover by Ivan Reis was top-notch, but then again, his work usually always is.  There’s nothing like Superman in a slugfest with a villain that gets your attention.  Bryan Singer would probably disagree with me, but thankfully he no longer has any involvement with anything Superman related.

As an issue that starts off a new storyline and introduces a new creative team, this book was very effective.  Granted, this issue didn’t require as much setup as issue #1 did, but as an opening salvo I prefered this issue over the first.

Overall Grade: 7.5/10

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