SUPERMAN #41 [Review]

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SUPERMAN #41/ Written by GENE LUEN YANG/ Pencils by JOHN ROMITA JR./ Inks by KLAUS JANSON/ Colors by DEAN WHITE/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

The past few months have brought about a number of changes in Clark Kent’s life. His pal Jimmy Olsen discovered that he is Superman, which was a bit of an adjustment. Luckily it hasn’t changed their relationship nearly as much as Clark feared it would.

On the Superman side of things, Clark discovered a new power – the ability to release the energy stored in his body as a controlled solar flare! This has the secondary effect of leaving Clark a little less super than usual until his batteries can recharge. Thankfully, Clark’s learned to focus it so he doesn’t release all his power at once, so now he only feels drained for hours instead of days.

It’s a change Clark has come to live with. He actually relishes the chance to feel like a normal human for a while. And if nothing else, food tastes better when your super-senses aren’t overwhelmed by every individual speck of salt.

And then there’s the biggest change of all – an anonymous source that, for once, paid off.  It led Clark and Jimmy to a high-tech weapons smuggling operation, a corrupt politician and the biggest story they’d ever covered!

There’s only one problem. The source knows Clark Kent is Superman, too. And it isn’t done with him yet…

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Gene Luen Yang picks up right where Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. left off at the end of The Men Of Tomorrow.  This may be disappointing to those fans of Yang’s previous work, who were hoping that the Printz Award-winning writer of American Born Chinese and Level Up would immediately shake-up the status quo for Superman. But Yang wisely uses this first issue to reestablish the setting, as enough has changed to make certain points (i.e. Clark’s weakness and Jimmy Olsen knowing Superman’s secret identity) confusing for those readers coming into the series with this issue.

Instead, Yang plays with the Superman mythos in subtler ways. For instance, the weapons dealers Clark and Jimmy uncover are never referred to as Intergang but they are born of the same spirit. Yang gives them a decidedly modern feeling by using 3-D printing to craft their custom weapons and a giant weaponized printer robot being let loose on Superman. But where Yang shines brightest is in his dialogue and the interplay between the established cast of characters. Clark, Lois, Jimmy and Perry White all sound pitch-perfect.

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The artwork for this issue is of similar high quality. The JRJ and Janson machine continues to fire on all cylinders, but what really sells the artwork for this issue is the coloring by Dean White. Superman should look bold and colorful and White gives this book a decidedly retro look, with Superman’s cape and Jimmy Olsen’s hair sharing the same distinctive shade of fire engine red!

Superman #41 may not have been the revolutionary comic some readers had hoped for but it’s a solid foundation for what could be something special. In any case, this is Superman the way it should be done! And if you’ve ever wanted to believe that a man can fly – or at least leap tall buildings in a single bound – it’s worth a read.

Rating 4

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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