Lobdell goes 2 for 2.
This issue will make two in a row, at least for me, and here’s why:
Lobdell seems to understands Superman. I’m shocked to say it myself, especially after the god-awful way that he wrote Superboy, but if you doubt my words, there’s plenty in the issue to argue for this premise. For the first time in over a year we actually see substantive interaction between Clark and Lois. It’s alluded to that may have had a relationship, or at least flirted with the idea. Lobdell does this while still acknowledging the current relationships of both Lane and Superman. For the past year, Lois Lane has been treated as an afterthought or nail fungus, but Lobdell shows how it should be done and does so quite easily. The interaction with Kara is better as well, because unlike Green’s depiction, Superman isn’t portrayed as a stock character. Lobdell gives Superman dialogue and direction that shows there is a connection between Kara and Clark, in spite of the forced separation from Green in “Supergirl”. Superman may not have the greatest rogue’s gallery, but he does have the best supporting cast, and Lobdell seems to know that.
H’El is poised to be a good Superman villain. He defeats Superman, and in a manner that makes you wonder what Superman can do against him except lose. What is more, he has yet to display his full abilities because he has not had a need to. That makes him even more omnious. The fact that he wants to steal Kara away drives home her importance to Superman, for the first time in over a year! Kara will either follow Kal’s lead or H’El’s and the result will earth moving for the planet, and especially entertaining for the reader to see unfold. To create this kind of split in the Superman Family, that has been anything but, is a step in the right direction. It will help forward the characterization and get past the malarkey Green set in. However, not only is H’El poised to be a good villain, he’s positioned to make Superman do great things.
The fight between Superman and H’El is one-sided. He loses. Still, he doesn’t lose in the manner which he’s won with other villains. He isn’t beat up repeatedly, until he finally decides to show some fight. Superman takes it to H’El and has every inkling of dispatching him, until H’El proves to be more than a match. The confidence Superman displays at every turn, even when faced with a superior foe is excellent. He’s down, but far from out, just the way that it should be. Who would have believed it would come from Lobdell of all people? Now if Rocafort can decide on whether Superman will be buff or athletic, the book will be four on the rail.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|A second strong showing from Lobdell||Rocafort needs to render Superman definitively|