Written by: Gene Luen Yang / pencilled by: John Romita Jr.
What’s it about?
“Before Truth” – Part Three : as the threat from Hordr_Root grows, Lois Lane faces a dilemma…
The “Truth” story arc which is currently playing out across Superman and Action Comics continues to cause woes for the Man of Steel and those closest to him as writer Gene Luen Yang and penciller John Romita Jr. deal with the fallout from last month’s revelation of Superman’s true identity to Lois Lane and build up the threat from new villain Hordr_Root.
Superman is a great character and it’s often difficult to keeps things interesting over multiple titles month after month for an individual with almost limitless abilities and virtual invulnerability. Although divisive amongst the readership, Supes’ current status quo is a welcome diversion from the norm which between reduced powers (and the dangerously unpredictable new ‘super-flare’ ability) and the exposure of his true identity, it has facilitated effective physical and emotional vulnerabilities for the character.
It’s still early days for writer Gene Luen Yang (having only begun his run with #41) yet he’s proven adept in his characterisation and his script for this issue rightly takes time to explore and develop the new Clark/Lois dynamic that’s been sorely lacking from Superman’s post-New 52 world. Despite this, the impending threat from Hordr_Root and the climactic showdown feels a little rushed given the more measured pace of those earlier moments between Lois and Clark. Similarly, the closing revelations of Superman’s real identity don’t quite pack as dramatic a punch as it could have. It could be due to the fact that we’re already seeing the consequences play out in Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s Action Comics run (as well as the Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman titles) that it feels a little flat, or it may just be a case of waiting to see the bigger picture as the storyline continues to unfold in the coming months – we’ll see.
In terms of the art, I’ve never been a big fan of John Romita Jr. and was even dismayed to hear he would be pencilling Superman. Admittedly his character work here is fairly decent and with the aid of inkers Klaus Janson and Scott Hanna, effectively conveys the emotional beats of Yang’s script through dynamic facial expressions in the book’s earlier pages. The later action sequences are quite striking and fluid although at times look a little rushed. It’s all quite tolerable yet not hard to imagine (or even yearn for) how great this title would look – and read – if Ivan Reis (who’s sadly been nabbed for DC’s solo Cyborg book) was partnered with Yang.
The bottom line: Superman #43 is an enjoyable if flawed instalment in the Man of Steel’s current storyline. The character’s new status quo is a welcome one and time will tell if the concept will ultimately live up to its potential.
Superman #43 is published by DC Comics and is available in print and digital formats now.