While Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson are slated to take over “Superman” later this year, it’s Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund currently in charge of the title — and based on the number of plots they’re juggling in this issue, they aren’t planning in leaving in the next couple of months. The problem is, none of these plots feel like they’re part of the same title.
This issue is the proverbial mixed bag; one moment psychic Lois Lane is blasting people, the next minute, Superman’s investigating a strange doorway floating in orbit around the planet, Cat Grant and Clark Kent discussing multi-million dollar buyouts, attacks against Senator Lane and even the Outsiders. Now, maybe all of these plots will come together soon and we’ll get a nice big wrap-up. But right now, it doesn’t feel like any of them are connected… or that we should particularly care.
Take, for example, the strange floating doorway. The only part of this scene that really works is the visual of the door. Booth and Rapmund (with colorist Andrew Dalhouse) present a strange, ornate, almost cathedral-like door that glows as it floats through Earth’s orbit. It’s a pretty neat looking sight and it feels like the sort of thing that “Superman” should be able to tackle. But where does this plot go? Absolutely nowhere for now. It’s a three-page interlude that abruptly stops as soon as it starts, so it’s hard to gain any real interest or attachment to the idea. With each small snippet, that pattern continues; there’s so much going on that it’s hard to care about any of it.
The one bit, writing-wise, that does work is when Jimmy Olsen gives advice to Clark and Cat. His point about what the buy-out offer for their website really means is smart and to the point; with the rebranding of Jimmy as the son of billionaires, it makes sense that he would understand what the offer is trying to accomplish. After a long stretch of Clark’s new website having no real purpose, it’s nice to finally see something happen with it (before, most likely, it’s dismantled as Lobdell concludes his time on the title). If nothing else, it’s a reminder that Clark’s job as a reporter can actually be good story fodder, provided people actually try to accomplish something with it.
Booth’s art looks good here; his muscled style is well-suited to “Superman” and the overall look of the main character. Some moments look a little awkward (like Clark’s “Lois?” at the Daily Planet) but on the whole it’s an easy to follow series of pages, and when we get moments like the red shine off of Superman’s eye, it’s appropriately dramatic and attention-grabbing. On the whole, Booth’s art works and it’s not part of the problem with this title. (By the way, there aren’t any trees around the Washington Monument.)
“Superman” #28 is a reminder to me that this title is more than ready for a revamp; it’s the weak link in the Superman titles right now, and that’s a shame when you consider it should be the flagship. While a date hasn’t been announced yet, hopefully we’ll see it before too much longer. The book doesn’t look bad, and there’s a nice cover from Ed Benes to lure you in, but the writing is just too scattershot to recommend.