Just when we thought the story was beginning to fall into a predictable format, Superman: Lost #7, “Oblivion” shakes things up in a devastating way. Desperate in her attempt to help Clark regain his lost sense of normalcy, Lois seeks the aid of Lex Luthor and gets way more than she bargained for. Needless to say, if you’re into stories where Superman faces the impossible, then you need to be reading this series.
Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Elmer Santos deliver one of the best covers for the standard editions this series has seen thus far. On the surface, Superman and Lex are merely standing side by side with facial expressions we’ve all come to expect from these two characters, but it’s how they’re being presented that makes it so compelling. Lex, dressed in mostly black, appears to be Superman’s shadow. Even the lighting shrouds Lex in hues of darkness while Superman enjoys a brighter light source. Blending into their respective backgrounds, the rivals could also be seen as a symbolic yin-yang reference; both existing to counterbalance the other. It’s a simple yet powerful portrayal of these two that instantly conveys their relationship.
Lee Weeks and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s variant is an older, powerless Superman who’s seemingly succumbed to despair. Wheelchair bound and sitting in a dimly lit room, Superman looks out into a world he feels no longer needs him. Although darker and more somber in tone, this could be seen as a bit of an homage to the cover of Action #397 which also featured a powerless, wheelchaired Superman. Either way, the cover cleverly plays into part of the interiors, which will be discussed later.
The variant by Montos and Matt Herms is another poignant piece about loss. Two images of Superman adorn this cover. A smaller foreground image of Superman pleading on his knees, more likely to his situation than to anyone in particular, and a larger image filling out the background. The background version of Superman has his family crest replaced with the void of space, obviously signifying his loss of hope. There’s no denying the emotional rollercoaster Superman’s been on this series and this cover captures the toll it’s had on him with one image.
The regular interior art team of penciller Carlo Pagulayan, inker Jason Paz, and colorist Jeremy Cox is visited by guest artist Lee Weeks and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser for the flashback story of the elder Superman featured from their variant cover. Using two art teams in this fashion is such an effective way to visually show who’s narrating a sequence without needing any exposition. The story flows flawlessly between the different art styles which adds legitimate weight to the future Superman’s tale. Pagulayan, Paz, & Cox finish out this issue with some especially heartbreaking sequences where their art sells the emotional impact of what’s happening. This may be one of the more science-fiction heavier tales we’ve seen in a Superman story, but the art really grounds it with emotional significance.
With scripts by Priest and letters by Willie Schubert, Superman: Lost #7 closes in on the final days of Superman’s accidental exile. Time and space get real weird as Superman nears the singularity that should send him home. As seen last issue, a future version of himself interrupts his flight path in what appeared to be another obstacle to overcome. The alternate Superman then regales us with his story and the tragedies he endured as a form of cautionary tale to his younger self. Clark figures out the true meaning of the elder Superman’s interference and plunges into the singularity.
A sense of predictability starts to sink in as a familiar world jumping space hero discovers Clark floating in the void and it becomes clear how he’ll show back up in his living room out of thin air. Back home, Clark’s decided to seek therapy for his mental health and begins to feel a little more like himself. Not knowing this, Lois meets with Lex to see if he’d be willing to help Superman overcome his mental and emotional barriers. Unfortunately, deals with the devil exact a hefty price and Lex’s is a matter of life and death. This development adds a new and terrible wrinkle into the story begging the question if a happy ending is truly possible. The feelings of predictability vanish as there’re three issues left in the miniseries and still plenty of space to explore how the finale will take shape.