Review – Superman #22 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer(s): Patrick Gleason & Peter J Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke
Colours: Will Quintana
Inks: Jaime Mendoza
Letters: Rob Leigh
Release Date: 3rd May 2017

With Batman, Superman, Damian and Jon now all missing, there is only one person still standing who can solve this mystery — Lois Lane!  Things are not right in Hamilton, Lois knows it, and the town is about to see just what she is capable of.

Gleason and Tomasi have from the very beginning made it clear that this book is about more than just Superman showing up stop a villain from ruining the day. It’s as much about the supporting cast as it is about the Man of Steel.  Lois is the focal point of this issue and we get to see just how much she has evolved as a person in a world full of cape-wearing heroes.  Gone is the ‘damsel in distress’ waiting for the man in blue and red to rescue her, and in her place is a determined, strong and wilful woman who is not afraid to step into danger to protect those she cares about.

Doug Mahnke is on art duties this week and he does a wonderful job of giving us a slightly more eerie and unsettling version of Hamilton.  We lose the almost manga-like visuals of the previous few issues and instead we are presented with some truly creepy looking individuals.   Will Quintana’s colours augment Mahnke’s dark vision with a suitably dark palette.  The choice to set the story at night allows for some dynamic lighting from monitor screens, headlights and a very handy weapon Lois has kept hidden.  It also gives the tale a sense of horror usually lacking from superhero comics, with those seeking Lois feeling legitimately dangerous as they lurk in the shadows.

Lois carries this story easily on her own and proves her worth as a strong and determined character who could easily star in her own book.  People like to remember when Lois was “just” the girlfriend of Superman or the plot point of a story to allow Superman to be a hero, but it is clear that this has not been the case for some time.  You may imagine the wife of the world’s strongest hero would be a weak and ill-prepared individual given the status of her husband but you would be dead wrong and this book is all the better for it.  In different circumstances, she might have been a valuable addition to the Bat family and those who underestimate her are in for a shock.

A fantastic issue once again this month, and one focused on a different and very underrated character who is finally getting her chance to shine.  The series carries a gravitas now and feels like one of the most important books in the DC Universe.   The final panel hints at the end of this arc and the reveal of who is responsible for the events unfolding in Hamilton, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
John Tweets from @ShinKagato

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