Written by: George Perez
Art by: Jesus Merino
The fourth issue of Perez’s Superman run is weaker than the last few issues. While there’s a few interesting plot points, too much of it felt too focused on Clark’s odd/”emo” behavior. Said “emo” behavior starting to get old, by the way… isn’t Superman supposed to be fairly chipper? Then again, in the DCNU, nobody seems to be allowed to actually be happy, from what I can tell (or without a chip on their shoulder the size of the Rock of Gibraltar).
That out of the way, the most interesting aspects of this issue:
- Lois’ reaction to the photo on her computer of Superman over Smallville Cemetery. Perhaps she’s suspicious “for the very first time” of Clark’s secret identity? Previous continuities have varied on when Lois first became suspicious of Clark, ranging from not long after meeting Clark (in the Silver Age) to years into Clark’s career at the “Planet” (in the Golden Age) to not showing her suspecting anything at all (some modern comics). Given it’s been five years (in DCNU-time) by this point, Lois being suspicious of Clark might not be too surprising, though this version of Clark doesn’t seem as smooth about accounting for his secret identity as previous versions (thus the current plotline about Clark). Not sure if this version of Superman has access to (or would make use of) any of the longtime secret identity protection means Superman’s usually used: Superman robots; some use of his super-powers; some elaborate excuse or scheme; shape-shifters; or Batman disguised as Clark Kent.
- Thought balloons! Yes, this long-time cartooning tool, current eschewed by DC and Marvel (but still in common use by other companies/in various comic strips) for supposedly being “too cartoonish”/”not cinematic looking” (yeah, yeah, I know), make an appearance in this story. Whether it’s Perez’s old-school writing style (cue people griping about his Superman run being “too wordy”) or part of the plot involving aliens capable of telepathic communication with Clark (which captions would make hard to convey in one scene), thought balloons are seen en masse here.
- The aliens toward the end finally revealing themselves to Clark, though we end on a cliffhanger before their true purpose is explained.
Next issue will hopefully put less emphasis on “emo Clark”…