SUPERMAN #36 by Geoff Johns & John Romita Jr.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by John Romita Jr.
Inks by Klaus Janson
Colors by Laura Martin
Published by DC Comics

PREVIOUSLY: SUPERMAN #35 by Geoff Johns & John Romita Jr.

It’s been clear from the beginning of this arc that the newly arrived super man, Ulysses, is more than he appears to be. It’s Comic-Book Storytelling 101. He’s simply too powerful and naive to be taken on face value. The question was always exactly what is he and what are his real motivations? Last issue when Ulysses went on his rant about all the war and weapons that plague Earth, it looked like we were heading towards “Superhero Decides to Save The World By Taking Control Of It” story. But in a surprising, but possibly interesting, twist, instead of saving the world, Ulysses wants to leave it. He makes a huge announcement to the world that this world is broken and he wants to take humans with him back to his world in the other dimension he was raised in, where he says they won’t have any of the poverty, war, crime, disease, etc. that they experience here. However he can only take 6 million people with him. He sets up several landing spots and tells everyone who wants to go with him to show up in 24 hours, when they’ll leave on a giant ship (or ark) that he has.

Superman confronts Ulysses about what he’s doing. Superman objects, and they have another brief argument about the problems of Earth and what Superman should or shouldn’t be doing to help. Way more than 6 million people show up to be taken away, which causes a riot to start. Ulysses’ birth parents are among those who want to leave with their son, but when Ulysses shows up at their home he begins acting strange, as if he’s hiding something. Superman shows up demanding more answers, and a brutal fight between the two of them ensues.

A solid issue on its own, although it feels a bit lacking in certain areas. There’s no appearance of the mysterious figure we’ve seen in every previous issue whom is watching Superman from some secret location and appears to know all of his secrets. Ulysses is still a new character, so it’s not clear why so many millions of people immediately believe him and try to take him up on his offer to leave Earth. Nor is it clear why Superman objects so much. As Ulysses states this is all voluntary, but Superman acts like Ulysses is kidnapping people. And it doesn’t help that some of the ideas in this story are pretty similar to events in the recently concluded SUPERMAN UNCHAINED miniseries by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, which also featured a super being who questioned the effectiveness of Superman’s methods and challenged him to be more proactive in solving the world’s problems, and who started off as an ally but then was revealed to have evil intentions. I am still enjoying this opening arc, so far, but a lot will hinge on the final chapter to see if this ends satisfactorily.

That’s in regards to the writing. As usual, I don’t have much to add about John Romita Jr.’s artwork, I continue to be impressed, as I believe any fan of his will be. A favorite scene is a large two-page spread of Ulysses’ ship in the sky over Metropolis on a rainy day. There is also the exciting fight between Ulysses and Superman, which Romita draws just as well as he does the quite character scenes. He’s doing great work here.

SUPERMAN #36 by Geoff Johns & John Romita Jr.

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