Jerrod Hugenot, Baptist Minister, has just read the new DC Walmart Superman 100 Page Giant #3. And he wants to share his thoughts…
Tom King is enjoying a high water mark in his relatively short (thus far) comics career. Understandably, DC tapped him to write the “new” Superman story in their largely reprint 100 Page Giant series.
Despite misgivings aplenty about these Giants going to Walmart’s nationwide and not into local comics shops, I appreciate King’s approach to this hoped-for mass national audience. He brings us a first chapter of “Up in the Sky” with a balance of welcoming newcomers as well as giving us old timers a chance to see our old friend before we go buy tube socks and other sundries elsewhere in the store.
The story revolves around a child being abducted and the decisions facing Superman about how much he can get involved in what turns out to be a trail of clues increasingly turned intergalactic.
Will he take leave of Earth to do what’s right, even if it means letting crises go unanswered? He visits friends superhero and mortal alike, seeking their counsel. These moments are vignettes in the service of a short page count, yet they work well as moments of conscience testing.
Nonetheless, Superman struggles whether to get involved. Perry White snaps at Clark’s interest in reporting the case, citing the need to cover Metropolis crime, not distant Gotham. Hal Jordan is uncertain a particular lead can be tracked given a planet’s misgivings about sharing tech secrets key to tracking the missing girl. Pa Kent models good parenting skills, letting Clark talk things out and nudging him towards a decision without choosing for him.
Tom King’s knack for writing Batman helps this story. His Batman is wounded from childhood trauma yet his empathy for the case is complicated by the “dark knight” persona he has cultivated to fight crime. The little girl who is the only witness to her sister’s abduction is quite frail in the hospital, and Bruce knows his limits.
The “Big Blue Boy Scout” can more likely get more information out of her awe than the gravel voice would coming from the shadows. Particularly interesting is the abducted girl’s love of a Superman action figure, as told by the girl in the hospital bed. What is to be believed more? The icon in plastic form or the struggles of a Kryptonian Kansan whether to get involved and risk missing other needs arising?
In this story, I believe we will see King’s take on Superman unfold (previously explored in part with Batman 37’s well told “double date” issue). Bruce’s wounded warrior is answered with Clark’s reticent omnipotent. While generations of readers know where he will be headed before the last page, King’s journey with Superman’s preponderance of what happens when you can’t be two places at once (or two planets) is well told over a short page count.
Andy Kubert excels as the artist. With a limited page count, he creates panels and pages that feel full of action and quiet moments alike. Sandra Hope’s inks are subtle and sharpen Kubert’s lines. The colorist Brad Anderson is also commendable for his work here.
Jerrod Hugenot is a Baptist Minister residing in upstate New York. He claims Wednesdays are holy in their own way.