First things first, I was not, nor will I ever be, kind about the Fernando Dagnino covers for this “Codename: Patriot” storyline. That said, this issue sports a nice-looking, extremely busy cover from Aaron Lopresti. It also includes some very nice interior art from Fernando Dagnino on a Kara Zor-El and Thara Ak-Var adventure. Split between a time when the two damsels were younger and the time immediately following the death of Kara/Supergirl’s father, Dagnino’s art is well suited and strong. The tale set on Old Krypton is insightful and well drawn.
There are three other stories in this issue as well. They feature Ursa in a tale by Rucka and Perez; Billi Harper and Jonathan (Mon-El) Kent in a story by Robinson and Camp; and the legacy of Pete Ross, Lex Luthor’s Vice President saddled with the task of wrapping up the loose ends of Luthor’s presidency by Robinson and Gaudiano. Those tales provide the reader with additional insight into the threads that came together to make “Codename: Patriot.”
In between the stories — and the reason fans will enjoy this book — are profile pages of the major players in the Superman family of titles as well as maps of New Krypton and Metropolis. The art for the maps — and many of the profile pages — is provided by Pete Woods. These are the types of things that turn fans into geeks: being able to visualize where LexCorp is in relation to the Daily Planet or where Valhalla Cemetery is in proximity to Suicide Slum. These maps are certain to answer more than a few questions in the minds of sleep-deprived fans everywhere. The light blue backgrounds and white text made for a bit of a rough read, especially with transparencies applied to preserve the images behind.
The “Secret Files” concept was one that I always enjoyed, and I am glad to see it brought back to situations like this story. There are a lot of plots and subplots going on in the Superman family of titles right now and while this book doesn’t cover every single character, plot, or subplot, it does provide a great deal of information for readers who were waiting to jump onto the Superman books. My biggest gripe is that this issue is numbered 0 with the S-shield on the cover (as “Codename: Patriot” marks a new chapter in the Superman mythos) following “World of New Krypton” #6 which had the #1 S-shield on its cover.
This book is not going to be for every fan and every budget, but it is a nice “user’s guide” to the events and characters featured in the Superman books right now. If you’re a Superfan, this is a book you’ll enjoy.