Written by Geoff Johns
Art by John Romita Jr.
Inks by Klaus Janson
Colors by Laura Martin
Published by DC Comics
PREVIOUSLY: SUPERMAN #37 by Geoff Johns & John Romita Jr.
Okay, first of all, if you’re waiting for the trade on this opening arc, just stop reading. I will, as always, try to avoid too many spoilers, but there are some things I will specifically have to address. So…
As we learned last issue, the truth of Ulysses’ arrival on Earth was that he was deliberately sent from his dimension to gather 6 million humans and take them back with him, so that their life-forces could be drained to ensure that dimensions’ survival (if you’ve read it yourself, you know the exact details, but that’s the basics). Superman ended up convincing Ulysses to let him help find some other way and to spare the human lives, after Ulysses found that his biological parents had come aboard one of the transport ships without his knowledge. But things went wrong Ulysses’ dimension, the one he was raised in since birth, was pretty much destroyed. This has now made Ulysses very mad, and leads him to attack Superman with murderous rage.
And that’s where we pick up. Ulysses is infused with the power of his dead-dimension, and is more powerful than ever. A major battle erupts back in Metropolis between him and Superman. This goes on for several pages. I know John Romita Jr. is pretty much a love him or hate him type of artist, but for those of you who, like me, love his artwork, you’ll really enjoy this battle-sequence. This leads to Superman blasting Ulysses with heat vision until…
I know it’s been advertised that in this issue Superman will develop a new super power and new costume, so here we go. The power is: SUPER FLARE!
Okay, let me explain. Basically Superman can now make himself detonate, like a human (er, Kryptonian) bomb. He expels all the solar energy stored inside him in a big blast of energy all around him, capable of incinerating everything within a quarter mile. It is this act which knocks out Ulysses, who is taken to a special super-cell. Superman did this inadvertently, and discovers what happened thanks to some timely help from Batman, who explains this new power to him, including the side-effect, which is that after Superman does this he is completely powerless for the next 24 hours, until his cells recharge.
Not bad, although I feel it is a bit of a let-down. They make a big deal in the press out of Superman getting a new power, but it’s one that he obviously can’t use in most situations, because of the danger it causes and how vulnerable it leaves him afterward. So it’s not something I expect to see Superman doing very much in the future, if ever. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just forgotten about after this. But the explosion did also destroy Superman’s armored costume, except for the cape, so by the end of the issue he has gotten a new one (it’s not explained who made it), which I do think is slightly better than the previous one.
The finale half of the issue is a set-up of the new status quo. Clark officially returns to working as a full-time reporter at the Daily Planet, and there are two very surprising developments regarding Jimmy Olsen (which I won’t spoil). Overall, I’m happy with the way this arc has played out. From the beginning Geoff Johns has brought us just the right mix of big explosive action sequences with quieter character-moments, and he has brought it to a satisfying conclusion, while still leaving us with a rather heft cliffhanger (as well as leaving open the mystery of the shadowy figure who has been observing Superman this whole time). And John Romita Jr (along with Klaus Jansen and Laura Martin) have done an excellent job in illustrating it. This gets a very high recommendation from me.