Steelworks #3, “Overload” is out and continues setting the stage for what is bound to be one the more relevant social-economic stories to grace a superhero comic in quite some time. There also appears to be interesting character developments on the horizon as well which could easily alter the course of this series before it ends.
The standard cover is by Daniel Sampere and Adriano Lucas. Sampere’s art is always superb and it’s especially nice to see his Superman again. This time we also get his take on Steel and the two Superheroes never looked better. The background art is especially fascinating as it almost appears to be an altered photo of some kind which only adds to the larger-than-life feel of these Supermen flying up towards us.
The variant by Jerry Gaylord has aspects of Steel’s look from his Bruce Timm/Paul Dini era of animation. Looking both imposing and awe-inspiring, Steel is definitely in command of this cover.
Mike Deodato Jr. and Luis Guerrero’s variant has Steel leaning on his hammer amidst a pile of bricks. Whether or not he just knocked them down or is about to use them to build is unclear, but either way it’s an impressive visual for the armored hero.
To celebrate and promote the release of Blue Beetle in theatres this month, Joe Quinones gives us a variant all about Jaimie Reyes and his supporting cast. Releasing in the middle of the Knight Terrors event greatly reduces the company wide promotional variant model, but the few out there are nicely done.
The interior art is by Sam Basri and Vincente Cifuentes with Andrew Dalhouse and Ulises Arreola on colors. Together they make a near flawless looking book, the action isn’t over-complex yet still engaging. You can really feel the weight on John Henry’s shoulders as he struggles to figure out the right course of action after essentially solving the world’s energy crisis. Not one scene is wasteful and the story effortlessly flows from beginning to end.
Writer Michael Dorn, with letters by Rob Leigh, proves he’s done his homework this issue. Not only does he continue the fascinating theory of what it would take to no longer need superheroes but he also captures the essence of the entire cast without it feeling heavy handed. Case in point, there’s a particular sequence involving Cat Grant and Jimmy Olsen that feels so real between them and plays as a bit of comic relief as well.
Dorn also leans into the notion that Clark and John Henry are friends as well as colleagues/partners as their dialogue maintains a relaxed tone with a few playful pokes at each other. He even heralds the return of a reluctant heroin in this issue’s cliffhanger that may have lasting effects on The House of El. There’s definitely strange things afoot as John Henry’s reveal of Zero-point energy is violently interrupted by robots (sent by new nemesis Charles Walker III no doubt) and Conner experiences some major power fluctuations.
All in all, Steelworks #3 continues its compelling commentary of invention versus intuition without compromising on the fun and intrigue this new era of Superman family of comics are becoming known for.