If James Robinson were given the assignment of writing a Parasite mini series, it would be a direct result of this issue. The Parasite, Rudy Jones, narrates the first half of this issue and Robinson makes a strong case for the Parasite to be used in this capacity more often. Treated like an addict itching for this next fix, Parasite drags himself through Metropolis, deciding to lay in wait for his next chance at absorbing the powers of Mon-El. That’s right: Mon-El.
This issue tugs at a lot of the past year’s worth of plot threads. We get a peek into the headquarters of the Science Police. Flamebird and Nightwing (the ones associated with the “New Krypton” story) make an appearance and come to an agreement with Jay Garrick. Guardian is given a new post and a defined purpose. In this mix, Robinson also finds time to have Kal visit Alura on New Krypton.
Merino’s art is impressively detailed. I applaud Merino for running with the “giant scab” look that Alex Ross has forced upon Parasite in his “Justice” series a while back. That is a much creepier visage that a purple-body-painted half-naked man. Truly, with the effort here, I gained a new appreciation for the latter half of the art team “Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino.” That said, Merino is still growing into this role. His work on “Superman,” in particular, is a little inconsistent. In some panels, it looks like Carlos, others lean towards Tom Grummett, others still have a flavor of Rags Morales’ work. All of these are fabulous influences to draw from, but I think Merino will do well to just be himself. His page construction and storytelling slides between dynamic and stoic, and for this story, it works well.
The last page reveal offers the promise of developing threats for Superman. In keeping with the premise of DC’s “Faces of Evil” concept, the fact that Parasite lurks somewhere in the shadowy alleys of Metropolis adds some excitement for the months to come. Parasite has been inconsistently handled, from the twins spawned from his powers during Greg Rucka’s run on “adventures of Superman” to the shark-jawed leech-thing from the Simonson days of the “Man of Steel,” but Robinson seems poised to make Parasite a character that bears his creative thumbprint.
Personally, I’m glad the “New Krypton” story is behind us and that Robinson and Rucka (over on “Action”) can get to the business of telling super stories about the world’s favorite Man of Steel.