Friday, May 28, 2010

Comic Book Review: War of the Superman #4

Book Information
Written by James Robinson
Penciled by Eddy Barrows, Cafu, Eduardo Pansica
Colored by Blond
Inked by Mayer, Bit
Lettered by John J. Hill
Cover by Barrows, Mayer, Rod Reis

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
This just might be one of the most devastating comics of the year as the good guy winning is not the focal point.  On the contrary, the good guys are the ones that loose while the bad guys find themselves on a pedestal of historic achievement.  Just like Secret Six, WotS #4 defies the stereotypical comic book thread and gives us the most undesirable ending to a story possible.  But in doing that, Robinson and Gates have shown us that it’s not the level of satisfaction that a reader gets which dictates the book’s quality, but rather the message that it’s tries to convey.

The story gives all three “Supers” a chance to shine, mainly focusing in on Superman and Supergirl, with a glimpse of Superboy as he sucks numerous Kryptonians into the phantom zone.  Superman and Supergirl both fight defend themselves against Zod and Ursa, almost dying in the process.  The dialogue was fantastic despite a few cliché and silly moments from a couple of characters…

“Normally I have a rule about hitting women, but for you I’ll make an exception.”

The Kryptonians are rabid dogs who need to be put down before—“

The transitions from panel to panel were smooth and the epic scenes were outstanding.  I honestly thought we were going to loose Superman forever as he selflessly put himself into the phantom zone to keep an eye on Zod.  Gates and Robinson kept me guessing as I wasn’t sure how this issue was going to end.  Was General Lane going to be stopped?  Was Zod going to be victorious?  Would Supergirl actually kill someone?  These questions and more kept swimming through my head with no answer in sight, the mark of an incredibly well-written story.

The deeper and more thought provoking theme of the final chapter in this arc really hits home for me as a sociologist, the inability for people to accept difference.  Both Generals were at the forefront of the problem, but people on both sides continued their belief that the other was bad.  And while the two generals were stopped, and people were safe once again, the entire Kryptonian race—minus the Super trifecta—was obliterated, and General Lane goes down in history as the “man who was prepared for the Kryptonian attack.”  Not only that, but Lois Lane and Supergirl both loose their parents during this devastating war.  The final moments where Superman and Lois discuss the future of Earth were very powerful; showing that humanities greatest weakness is their inability to give room for what they don’t understand.  This issue does not shed a positive light on human nature.  And for me, being someone who enjoys a good unhappy ending, this comic was candy!

I have to say, the artist toggle did not distract me as I thought it would before opening the book.  I would have preferred Barrows complete the whole book, but I found myself enjoying the artistry on every page.  Maybe the quality of the story was good enough that the artistic transitions made very little difference to me, or maybe it was something else, I don’t know.  But I do know that nothing in this issue artistically annoyed or pissed me off.

My Profoundly Climactic Conclusion
War of the Superman….Great start, fantastic middle, and outstanding ending!  This was one of the more successfully executed minis DC has put out in a while.  It will leave you in an unsatisfied state but will give you many things to ponder on. 

Writing: 10
Themes: 10
Art: 10
Overall: 10 out of 10
          + 2 incentive points


  1. This was a really good series overall and has restored my faith in the Superman titles :-) Great review!

  2. Same here. Superman has been dragging for over a year. Robinson really delivered with WotS.

  3. Robinson's writing here was on par with his _Starman_ days.