The Superman that I aspire to be (Superman #32 comic review)
Writer: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: Gabe Eltreb
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
In this final arc (of the current run and series) Superman and Superboy are off-planet dealing with the Shadow Breed. An invasive force that possesses their hosts. In many ways, they act like the Symbiotes in the Marvel Universe (but don’t give anyone cool news edgy 90s costume). The previous issue ended with the Shadow Breed overtaking a large and menacing mech. There is also some intergalactic politics at play here, as the monarchy has been upturned.
This is a fairly straightforward comic and reads much like many standard “filler” issues. Everything is wrapped up at the end of the issue, as most of the book revolves around the battle with The Shadow Breed. The comic opens up with a more detailed explanation of where they came from, with a flashback taking place just before this arc started. The only noteworthy aspect of the story is that the issue focuses a bit more on Superboys’ heroics, which makes sense since he is taking over for the mantle of Superman in the reboot next month.
These last few issues of Superman have been interesting. Philip Kennedy Johnson led this title after Bendis and is still in charge of Action Comics. However, Superman is about to change directions again, so what we have here feels like a non-essential filler arc. Nothing substantial happens here, and it was more of a “monster of the week” adventure. It was well written but did not have the same weight as the previous arcs. This is the last issue Johnson will be on Superman as the new #1 hits a mid-next month. There is some very slight thematic setup at the end of this comic, but no real cataclysmic event that changes the status quo. The comic feels more like it is in a holding pattern, with Kennedy purposely avoiding stepping on the next team’s toes. What this gives the reader is a fun comic that really won’t fit in some grand narrative. The team here would have been better keeping Action Comics and Superman tied together, like it was earlier, rather than spin Superman off for an arc of inconsequential results. If you want some great Philip Kennedy Johnson Superman comics, you are better off reading Action Comics.
Scott Godlewski is a great artist, and his work is far from what a typical “filler arc” gets. I have already been singing his praises and he can create a fun comic to look at here. Also, credit goes to him for making Superboy seem like Superman here. The thematic tie into the next series is pretty clear from his art alone.
Summary The final issue, of this run of Superman, ends with a story of not much weight. This comic arc is fun enough, but does not really advance the Superman mythos in the same ways that its companion title (Action Comics) has been doing.