Written by: Keith Champagne
Pencils by: Doug Mahnke
Inks by: Jaime Mendoza with Scott Hanna and Rob Hunter
Colors by: Wil Quintana and Tony Avina
Cover by: Ryan Sook
The Kent family rented an RV and took off on a Fourth of July road trip, stopping at many classic American landmarks along the way and celebrating the 4th with a family of veterans in Washington DC. Along the way, Lois and Clark taught their son Jon about truth, justice, and American history.
This story begins with a young child named Zee, who is playing a game that heavily resembles Pokemon GO, but involves capturing members of Captain Carrot’s Zoo Crew. Distracted, the boy wanders into an abandoned school, and stumbles upon a small yellow creature that’s glowing. He picks up the creature, and we see a shot outside of the school as the boy screams in pain. Two weeks later we catch up with Superman, who is stressing about the fears of fatherhood, and the fact that he worries about Jon all day until he’s safe at home in bed. Superman is feeling this way because over the last two weeks many young children have gone missing, and his efforts to find them have been fruitless. He checks in with a few of the parents of the missing kids, including the parents of Zee, and guarantees them that he will increase his efforts.
We catch up with Zee briefly, who is in the bedroom of a young girl. She tells him he’s scaring her, and he grins a wide, toothy grin as his eyes glow yellow and he tells her that’s the reason he’s there. Meanwhile, Superman follows a hunch that Jimmy tipped him off to, and discovers tracks of yellow radiation through the city, tracks the size of a child. This allows him to intercept Zee, who is taking the young girl from the previous scene somewhere. When he offers to help, both of the kids glow with yellow energy and attack Superman, possessed by the same fear-thing. They want Superman to join them, the yellow entity wants his power, for him to feel fear. The kids manage to incapacitate Superman and escape.
Superman comes to, and heads off to find the missing kids. He knows what to look for now, that they yellow energy he saw before was fear. Convinced that he’s looking for Sinestro, he takes to the sky and pinpoints where the yellow energy is most concentrated in the city. What he finds isn’t Sinestro, but the possessed body of Zee surrounded by a giant yellow web, full of the missing children crying out for help. Superman challenges the entity inside Zee to face him on equal footing, and the fear-thing reveals itself to be Parallax, the Entity of Fear. Superman can’t quite fight Parallax, and so offers himself up for the freedom of the children. As Parallax infects Superman, it looks as though little can be done to stop the fear-thing.
Thoughts on the issue:
I have to say I wasn’t expecting to enjoy seeing such a pivotal Green Lantern villain in a Superman comic, but it worked really well. Keith Champagne comes on to the book seamlessly, showing a compassionate and earnest Superman just trying as hard as he can to get some children home. Compile that with a creepy and intriguing plot involving one of the most powerful entities of the the DCU, and we’ve got ourselves the balance of heart and spectacle that Superman is best at. Doug Mahnke as always provides stunning pencils, reminding me that he very well could be my favorite artist for Superman. The last-page reveal has me very excited for the next issue, and doesn’t give the impression this story will be drawn any longer than it should be, probably ending in the next issue.
One small thing: I would totally play that Zoo Crew GO game. I’d play the hell out of that game.
Final Score: 8.5/10