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Future State is finally over and we see a very different future for Superman. Clark is gone and in his place is Jon obsessed with protecting Metropolis. It’s a different but interesting take on Superman’s successor. Now that we’re in the present, let’s pick up where Bendis left off: now-adolescent Jon Kent teams up with his father to save the world. We saw the beginning of Superboy’s journey, then the formative years with the legion of superheroes. All that remains is the question, how does he get the title Superman? What happens to Clark?
We’re opening with the man and the boy made of steel and protecting a STAR Labs satellite from aliens. These aliens come from an injury the scientists have been investigating on the orders of Amanda Waller, who hopes to see the Kryptonians’ limits. During one of the battles, Superman is cut by the aliens, showing that they have the potential to kill him. This annoys Superboy, knowing that his father’s death is imminent. Before he can assure Jon that this can be avoided, another attack on the satellite begins, with the largest alien yet.
The idea of a Superman successor was made earlier, but with his biological son this feels more emotional at. Since we first met Jon, he has looked up to his father and used him as the foundation for the hero he is supposed to be. Just like in life, a son would get sadder and more desperate to keep his father alive. For Superboy, he knows how and when it’s going to happen, so he asks Superman to stay out of the fight. It’s honestly heartbreaking.
Unfortunately, this is rather poorly executed. When it comes to Superman, we really don’t get much as the only real lines from Clark are about a no-brainer. We get a cool fight sequence with the supermen, but for a newbie they wouldn’t know about them. If this is the end of Clark Kent, give us something to hold on to.
While the story has its interesting points, the art is doing this comic a disservice. Phil Hester is the illustrator here and his style just doesn’t fit a Superman story. There is a blocky design that honestly makes the world feel flat, especially when you factor in the bright bright colors of hi-fi. I could see this art in a darker comic like Batman or Justice League Dark, but not here.
Even so, there is some good artwork in this issue. Sami Basri is doing the Tales of Metropolis story in backup, and to be honest, I would have preferred the artists to switch roles. Basri’s style fits the main Superman action, while Hesters would fit Bibbo’s story. It’s good art, just with the wrong story.
Overall, there were things that might interest you in this upcoming Superman story. The days of the Man of Steel are numbered and Jon’s emotions are real enough to bind. The problem is that while this idea is great, it turned out poorly. Hopefully the issues below will help resolve the issue. In terms of art, Hester’s work just doesn’t fit this story and honestly distracts from the story. The art of the backup story would honestly fit better, but at least the color of hi-fi matches the world of Superman. There’s enough here to give this run a chance, but the creative team really has to deliver.
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