Superman #4 is another great addition to a story arc that is the perfect mix of modern and classic storytelling. I have loved exploring the familiar yet new characters that it has introduced so far, and this issue sees yet another addition.
But before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The main cover is by interior artist Jamal Campbell and gives us a look at Dr Pharma and his new toy. The design of it instantly reminds me of the Infinity Gauntlet, but instead of infinity stones, this holds different forms of Kryptonite. The composition of the cover with Dr Pharma running the claws through Superman’s cape hints towards the tone of his intentions.
The first variant is by Pamela Hoogeboom and it is adorable. I always love when the Super-Pets come into play and this is a great depiction of Streaky the Supercat as he sets his eyes on the Bottled City Of Kandor. I love the wholeheartedness of this cover, the design would make a perfect animated series and I truly hope this is a hint to his appearance in the series.
The second variant cover is by Lee Bermejo and as always he has knocked it out of the park. The detail on this cover is PHENOMENAL, with photo realistic detail no matter where you look. I particularly love that you can see the danger Superman is running towards in the reflection of the window, it’s very cleverly done.
As well as these there are four other great variants by Nathan Szerdy, Mico Suayan, Gabriel Rodriguez and Ramona Fradon.
Superman #4 opens up with Dr Pharm paying a visit to yet another of Superman’s classic villains, Silver Banshee. He gives her an offer she can’t refuse as he gains yet another person to test his power enhancements on. Firstly, I adore how Joshua Williamson is bringing back underused Superman villains and giving them a real edge and in a way that makes them very exciting.
We then cut Strykers Island as Lex Luthor overhears a fellow inmate smack talking Superman. He decides to take action in a very passive aggressive way that almost kills the inmate. It’s actually quite fun to see Lex stick up for Superman in this way after their new alliance, though of course Superman does not agree with his methods. With that in mind, Superman pays him a stern visit and demands he reveal more about what’s going on as he isn’t holding up his end of the bargain by withdrawing valuable information. Here, we get an excellent flashback of Luthor and the Mad Scientists feud. This story was GREAT and oddly it shows some similarities between Luthor and Superman, but it also leads Superman straight into a trap as he explores the idea that Luthor is actually telling the truth.
A majority of the characters within this series so far are well known, whether heroes or villains, but somehow Williamson is adding even more layers, origins and stories to their characters. It is so refreshing to see and really draws you in even further. Though there is still a lot that we don’t yet know, this series is great fun to read. It has elements of classic comic book antics with a blend of modern storytelling and for a character like Superman, it’s the perfect balance.
Once again the artwork is absolutely stunning, Jamal Campbell knocks it out the park every single time. The atmospheres and backdrops that he creates are a thing of beauty, and the same goes for the way he showcases the power set of the heroes and villains in the series. Each panel has me in awe, with no detail spared.
Superman #4 and the series so far is a great mix of modern story telling and silver age hijinks, this is definitely the case for Jimmy Olsen’s story which gets introduced at the end of the issue. Joshua Williamson has expertly created a Superman series which is so familiar, yet so refreshing at the same time.