Written by Geoff Johns
Art by John Romita Jr.
Inks by Klaus Janson
Colors by Laura Martin
Published by DC Comics
PREVIOUSLY: SUPERMAN #34 by Geoff Johns & John Romita Jr.
This issue is over a month late, which is odd since Romita Jr. has long been known for his speed. Well, let’s see if it’s worth the wait.
So last issue, while fighting the mysterious new villain, The Machinist, Ulysses attempted to use lethal force and accidentally killed an innocent man who was under The Machinist’s control. Or so we thought. Picking up this issue in the immediate aftermath of the fight, Ulysses is distraught over his actions, until Superman reveals that the man was already dead, and that the Machinist was just using the man’s corpse as his proxy. So Ulysses didn’t actually kill anyone, but he could have. So Superman lectures Ulysses against ever using his powers to kill again, no matter what the circumstances are, because killing is wrong (I guess Nu52 Superman never watched Man of Steel…). At first, Ulysses seems to be cool with that. And he and Superman track the real Machinist to a cargo ship in the Atlantic ocean. After another battle involving some cybernetic attack crows, the two heroes confront the villain, whose true origins and nature are hinted at but remain unclear and then try to find out who else he has sold his weapons to.
This is where the issue gets tricky. Using his power to track energy, Ulysses attempts to track all of Machinists weapons, but is overwhelmed as he instead finds himself tracking every weapon on Earth. He can’t believe this planet has so many weapons while so many people continue to suffer from things like natural disasters and diseases. He tells Superman that they must read the planet of all weapons to bring peace on Earth, but Superman says that’s a bad idea (I guess Nu52 Superman has watched Superman IV: The Quest for Peace…), there’s a bit of a debate between the two heroes which call into question the effectiveness of Superman’s efforts, and then Ulysses leaves. I don’t want to spoil too much more, but in the final pages Ulysses makes a dramatic decision that while affect the entire world.
Story-wise this issue gives us plenty of action, but this time it is balanced with some quieter character moments. I complained last issue about the lack of Superman’s supporting cast, but that is rectified here, as Lois, Jimmy, and Perry all make significant appearances, along with Steve Lombard and and Ron Troupe, as does Clark. Perry is still trying to get Clark to come back to work at the Daily Planet full time and Lois is once feeling like Clark is scooping her on the story of Ulysses and takes Jimmy with her to track down a new lead. While at times the dialog between Superman and Ulysses feels a little forced when discusses the problems of the world, nevertheless there’s a sense of urgency throughout the issue as the stakes continue to be raised. Despite his innocent demeanor, there’s always this sense that Ulysses is a ticking time-bomb that Superman may not be able to keep on a leash.
John Romita Jr. continues to impress me with his artwork, which is still the main reason why I’m buying this title now. The Daily Planet scenes show he’s just as impressive drawing regular people in an office as he is drawing superheroes in action. Great effort all around.