Superman: Worlds Of War #2 has acted as an explanation to Superman’s absence in the Future State timeline. The previous issue was fantastic and very cleverly done, as we got to explore the impact that he and his absence has had on the people around the world.
But before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by interior artist Mikel Janin and showcases a bloodied yet determined looking Superman. I’ve said it before, but I love this look on him. Janin’s detail is phenomenal, from the battle scrapes across his face, the wrinkling of the skin, to the blood splatters, everything is so well thought out and executed. This is a fantastic and instantly intriguing cover.
The variant cover is by the master, Riccardo Federici and it is magnificent! The detail is absolutely phenomenal, I have to say his attention to detail is like no other and I adore the realism in his work. Superman is furious as he clutches his battle wounds in the pouring rain, this is a truly epic piece and it’s clear that our hero is in peril.
Superman: Worlds Of War #2 features four stories, the one I will go into full detail on is of course the first story titled ‘The Many Deaths Of Superman’. This story continues right where we left off in the previous issue as two of the people from the Smallville celebrations go on to find the real Kent Farm, and end up finding more than they bargained for. As their discovery unfolds, we see Superman facing off against numerous fighters on Warworld, as we get to see both Mongul and Superman’s intentions for him during his time on the planet.
I love the way that writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson tells this story. There are two very different situations going on, and the way that he has intertwined the two to create one narrative is very cleverly done. It doesn’t feel like there is too much going on, and it is very easy to understand and follow.
Personally I adore that one half of this story focuses on the impact that both Superman and Clark Kent has had on these individuals and society as a whole. It perfectly shines a light on both sides of the character. Most people at the Smallville convention and also most readers focus on how Superman has saved them with his spectacular powers or focus on how powerful he is. So it is great to see that Clark Kent too has inspired at least one of them to do better and be better, and I’d like to think that is also the case for readers too. Clark Kent plays an important role of restoring the hope that most people have sadly lost in Superman’s absence.
Whilst this is going on we get another glimpse of the peril that Superman finds himself in on Warworld. The whole narrative which accompanies the brutal and action packed gladiator scenes is so inspiring and perfectly matches and accompanies Superman’s actions. Not only that but it highlights that failure can often be misconstrued, this narrative reinforces one of my favourite sayings, ‘you should never judge a book by it’s cover’.
One thing I loved about this whole sequence is Superman’s determination throughout the whole ordeal, and the fact that he stays true to himself. Despite the situation Superman finds himself in, he still showcases the qualities and beliefs that make him the worlds greatest hero. He is literally being attacked by numerous beings and has the capability to do damage to them, yet instead he takes the beatings without doing harm to a single soul because they are not the true enemy.
The artwork by Mikel Janin is stellar throughout, and is really accentuated by Jordie Bellaire’s very dynamic colours. The pair present the galaxy perfectly. Seeing the vibrant planets among the stars is so realistic and so beautiful, it’s awe inspiring.
When I say the pair work dynamically well together, that’s due to the very different colour scales of the two atmospheres we explore in this issue. The pages where we find ourselves on Warworld are that of a gladiator film, think ‘300’ for scale. The battle scenes are epic and I love the red wash colour palette across these pages, it really showcases the danger that Superman is in.
These pages are brutal, the artwork is so epic and so realistic that you sometimes find yourself cringing at some of the panels, that’s not a bad thing but it just really adds to the effect it has on you. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing Superman wielding a sword and shield, I’ll be honest.
Superman: Worlds Of War #2 showcases the best of Superman, despite him being in uncharted territories. Phillip Kennedy Johnson writes a fantastic Superman, and that writing combined with phenomenal artwork, makes this an issue not to missed. I am very much looking forward to seeing their take on Superman again.
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