“Superman” #8 opens with a character-defining visit between Lois Lane and her sister, Lucy as Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens deliver a glimpse into a possible future for the Man of Steel. That future is twisted by Helspont, the Daemonite character from the pre-relaunch Wildstorm Universe.
The conversation between Lois and Lucy is more interesting than the majority of the interplay between Helspont and Superman. The fact that this new era Superman would even entertain Helspont long enough to listen to the Daemonite spout on about vengeance against his brethren is disconcerting, especially as Helspont specifically offers up Earth for Superman to rule.
Giffen and Jurgens have given Superman a worthy foe pound-for-pound and blow-for-blow, but I would think the excessive monologing from Helspont would nearly be enough for Superman to knock him out just to end the non-stop prattle. Through that exposition from Helspont, the writing duo leaves nothing for the reader to presume or overlook, but they also don’t give the pair much reason to be adversarial.
The art, by Jurgens and JesÃºs Merino, is unspectacularly over-rendered. Jurgens’ clear-cut storytelling comes through, but Merino has added lots of additional, frequently unnecessary, lines to pieces of the art like Superman’s hands, costume, and neck. Tanya and Richard Horie liven the artwork up with their vibrant coloring and add some dazzling effects to both Helspont and the conflict between the two aliens. Visually, Helspont is an interesting character, adding variety to Superman’s collection of foes, but as personalities go, he’s a mustache-twirling hand-wringer letting the good guys know exactly what he’s doing because he feels he’s mightier than they are.
I want to like a Superman book, truly I do. “Superman” should be the title that hooks unfamiliar readers and gives lifelong comic fans a reason for fist-pumping the air, but so far this series is flat and uninspirational. This issue, like the series to this point since relaunching, is humdrum and largely forgettable. Nothing here makes Superman super. There’s a nice bit about his upbringing, but that moment is fleeting and cannot possibly be drawn upon issue after issue in order to drive home Superman’s motivation and dedication.
Otherwise, Giffen and Jurgens have both done better work with the Man of Steel, and I certainly hope they do so again. Maybe now that this insertion of Daemonite into Kryptonian legend is out of the way we’ll be able to enjoy Superman’s adventures. For now, however, the main draw is the world around the Last Son of Krypton, not the hero himself, and that’s certainly not enough for me to put down the cash.