Superman ’78 #2 is finally here and it’s time again to dip back into the Superman Donnerverse. The first issue was fantastic and a real hit of nostalgia, and since its release I have been eagerly awaiting this issue.
The main cover by Ben Oliver is a great, almost photo-real depiction of Lex Luthor shaking Superman’s hand, no doubt trying to swindle the man of steel with his silver tongue. The cover teases the content of the issue, and perfectly captures Luthor’s relationship with Superman from the film itself. I love this cover, its a great throwback and the detail is absolutely incredible!
The variant cover by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair is a beautiful recreation of the Superman: The Movie scene where Superman lifts the tectonic plates back into place. The colours and composition really make this piece pop and gives you a real sense of danger. That makes this variant a frame worthy one in my book.
In this issue, we reconnect with another main character from the films, Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor! Lex is out of prison on parole, thanks to Superman’s kind recommendation for a second chance. Luthor is looking for work through an agency, and the agency is not impressed with his criminal genius.
The clear difference in reaction to his evil genius mastermind just goes to show how forgiving Superman really is, I love that about him. Superman asks Lex for help with this new Brainiac threat encountered in the previous issue. Robert Venditti’s writing for Lex and Superman in this issue is absolutely pitch perfect and expertly done.
We also learn more of Brainiac’s motivations in this issue, giving us a truly unique take on the character. He is acting as a kind of wildlife preservationist, attempting to save delicate ecosystems from invasive species, such as a rogue Kryptonian.
Wilfredo Torres continues to nail the likenesses of all the characters, especially the facial expressions and mannerisms of Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. I totally believe that these actors are continuing to portray these characters. He also gets the late-70’s vibe down pat, even with little touches like Clark holding a classic McDonald’s french fry container. The attention to detail is spectacular. It’s also cool to see Brainiac purposefully bearing the likeness of David Bowie. What a great touch to actually cast the character with another actor from the time.
Some light spoilers, we get some very interesting visual cameos in this issue, mostly thanks to Lex Luthor’s secret lab, which contains a Donnerverse version of Lex Luthor’s comic book battle armor, as well as a cryotube labeled BZ-1, which can only be a Donnerverse version of Bizarro! Whether these remain cameos only, or evolve into plot points, we’ll have to wait and see.
We also see the return of the famous cellophane “S” cementing it as a standard tactic for Donnerverse Superman. I for one am all for it, continuity is a good thing, and leaning into it only increases enjoyment for long time fans.
Superman ’78 #2 reintroduces us to a perfect recreation of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor and furthers the Donnerverse with a new unique story with excellent continuations and classic nostalgic visuals.
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