Superman #31 continues where we left off in the previous issue with Jonathan and Clark accompanied by Qarath O Bakkis, son of the fallen ruler of Thakkram finding refuge in the mountains as they contemplate their next move regarding The Shadowbreed.
The main cover for this issue created by John Timms highlights just how dangerous The Shadowbreed are as they attack The Man of Steel and Superboy. Intensity is etched across the faces of our heroes as they attempt to fend off this parasitic threat. Superboy utilising his heat vision in such close proximity to his foes indicates just how high the stakes have been raised. Thanks to the seeds planted by writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson in previous outings, anything is truly possible.
The variant cover by Inhyuk Lee depicts Superman and Superboy flying at great speed in outer space. Straight away I was reminded of Star Wars as Superman and Superboy appear to be flying in hyperspace. I simply adore how the stars blur into the distance around this super powered pair. Superman and Superboy look totally focused as they fly towards their chosen destination. This is a gorgeous pin up piece that would look incredible on any collectors wall.
Superman #31 plays out very much like the quiet before the storm as our heroes strategise their next move. Much of the issue is made up of exposition and dialogue that truly flushes out our characters motivations. Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson once again examines the inner workings of Jonathan Kent including his views and perception of Superman, which is a great take.
Qarath O Bakkis is an intriguing character who gets thoroughly fleshed out thanks to wonderful dialogue between himself and Jonathan. Qarath goes into extreme detail regarding his own standing within his species, which was is truly fascinating to me. Being the son of such a revered head of state only adds to the characters many layers and responsibilities and really puts him on a similar level to Jonathan in some ways. I love how Qarath O Bakkis relationships are examined in this issue, they are stark in contrast and have definitely moulded Qarath into the being he is today.
In this issue writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson continues to explore the idea that is ‘Superman’, as well as the ‘Man of Steel’ standing within the DC Universe. This is expertly captured through the eyes of his son Jonathan who is going through his own crisis of confidence as of late. I simply adore Jonathan’s views on the idea of ‘Superman’ in this issue.
The way Phillip Kennedy Johnson has structured the issue so that the reader has already taken a glimpse into Jonathan’s future as Superman is fascinating. It allows the reader to really get into his head about his fears of not being able to live up to his fathers standards, which was a really nice touch. Jonathan makes the proclamation that Superman isn’t just a mantle to be passed on, but rather who his father truly is, which just goes to show that writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson truly understands what Superman means to the world both real and fictional.
Artists Scott Godlewski and Norm Rapmund work harmoniously to create spectacular interiors that really do accentuate the sci-fi elements of this story which I simply adore. The alien environment feels just so cold and desolate, inhospitable even. The Thakkram themselves really do remind me of the alien species found within the pages of ‘The Warlords of Mars’ created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and that’s down to the designs by Godlewski.
The facial expressions of all of the characters, including the alien races shown in this issue are perfectly executed and really allows further insight into how these characters are feeling and what they are facing. Colourist Gabe Eltaeb really adds to this issue too, I simply love how vibrant his colours are when working with Superman and Superboy, especially against the dark backdrops of Space and the rest of the environments featured in this issue.
Superman #31 is a fantastic issue that serves to further the intrigue behind the Thakkram race and gives us some excellent insight into Jonathan’s perception of Superman and who he is. This issue will keep you on the edge of your seat and will fill you with excitement for what’s to come for these characters.
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