Superman #653 Review

This issue of Superman has a lot going for it, which is why I think it is a real shame that the central concept - Lex Luthor's Kryptonian war machine, is designed so...well...silly. It's supposed to be this big, huge imposing thing...and it really just looks goofy. It is just this amorphous looking group of crystals. What's interesting about that? What's engaging about that? The IDEA behind Luthor unearthing an ancient Kryptonian war machine to gain his revenge is a fine idea. But there's so many different ways it could have been designed, to go with amorphous crystal...not smart.

So, as I read the issue, I can't help but be constantly reminded of how goofy the threat is Superman is facing. Which is such a shame, because otherwise, this is a fun, action-packed issue. In addition, the Luthor here is a very intriguing character. It is sort of a mixture between the pre-Crisis Luthor and the post-Crisis Luthor. He is directly assaulting Superman (and he has the power to DO so effectively) but at the same time, he is not doing it publicly. Everyone BASICALLY knows that it is Luthor who is attacking Superman, but they can't PROVE it. It's a very interesting status quo (unless they make it known publically that it is Luthor next issue) that could lead to some engaging future stories. Luthor striking at Superman, while always keeping Superman from being able to PROVE he's a criminal.

Pete Woods' art was amazing, and Brad Anderson did a great job on colors.

The banter between Luthor and Superman was quite good, especially Superman taunting Luthor about how, when Superman was gone, Luthor did nothing, even though he's always claimed it was Superman that held him back all these years.

There was an awesome scene with Jimmy Olsen, where he helps Superman out, but pays the price.

Finally, writers Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek make the bold choice (and I think the CORRECT choice) of ending this gigantic fight with cliffhanger, but more importantly, a JOKE.

I loved it - I thought the comedic timing was perfect.

So, great art - lot of action - good dialogue - great ending.

I will say, Recommended with the reservation that the design of the bad guy was AWFUL (and was almost bad enough for me to not recommend the comic).

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