“Superman” #6 triangulates a semi-crossover between “Superboy” and “Supergirl.” The story takes place after Supergirl’s appearance in “Superboy” #6 but also after “Supergirl” #7, which is still a few weeks away. It also wraps up the events of the five issues of “Superman” preceding this one, putting a bow on George Perez’s story for the relaunched Man of Steel.
The references to the other Super-titles are quickly dismissed as the action in this book turns to an intense battle between Superman and Supergirl, later transforming into a Superman-Superman fight pulling out the stops and allowing Superman to truly cut loose on a worthy opponent. The Superman-Supergirl donnybrook is narrated in faux color commentary by Dough Hubler and Rick Stafford aboard the Planet Global Network’s newscopter. The commentary gets clunky and intrusive, occasionally stealing important story beats from Nicola Scott’s art but the artist manages to deliver plenty of great moments throughout this issue.
Scott’s knack for filling each and every panel to the frames with detail and emotion is well-employed throughout the issue. George Perez is a great artist, so it only seems fitting he would write what he would want to draw. Luckily, it seems Scott can keep up with Perez line for line. While Scott’s is definitely more grounded in reality than Perez’s (evident in the scene featuring the alien landscape of Jazuur), these two creators work quite well together. Scott’s art, from quiet moments like Lois calling out to Clark to the louder moments of the Supermen battle royale, is consistent and breathtaking, begging the readers to stop awhile and study it.
Counterintuitive to what has become a commonplace occurrence in the New 52, Superman’s beatdowns aren’t bloodbaths. There are no gushing fountains of bodily fluids spewing forth from Supergirl as Superman pummels her, proving explicitly visual violence isn’t always the right choice. In this comic, I applaud that decision. Seeing Superman or Supergirl prone following a fight is descriptive enough to indicate the level of the threat they face. Gushing blood would have added absolutely nothing to the peril or the story overall.
The reference to a future issue of “Supergirl” and resultant time-box has me earmarking this tale for a re-read in the near future. George Perez’s “Superman” story may not be the greatest of a generation but it was a solid, entertaining read. Now that the character, cast, and continuity has been established around Kal-El, I’d like to see Perez come back for another tale or two. However, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens will be co-writing this book in the immediate future. I’m interested to see how their take varies but I’m rather hesitant as the art may not have that masterful touch.