In the midst of all the anniversary celebrations of Superman’s 90’s nostalgia, Superman #7 marks a current milestone as the 850th issue in the title’s legacy. Although entitled “The Chained Part 2”, there is so much more going on than a simple continuation of the confrontation with the mysterious figure that Lex had secretly imprisoned years ago. The oversized issue sees some major changes in store for the world of Metropolis as well as act as a prologue to a story arc we’ll see in the coming year.
There’s an expected abundance of variant covers to accompany the landmark occasion, but we’ll only highlight a few for the purposes of space. The standard cover comes to us from Jamal Campbell and is a bright, colorful, and joy inspiring image of Superman taking in a highflying Sun bath. The blurred depiction of birds around him combined with the big smile on his face suggest he’s taking the time to appreciate a simple pleasure as the world continues to rush by.
Frank Cho & Sabine Rich puts a new spin on the classic image of an eagle perched on Superman’s arm as he stands valiantly in front of an American flag. Since its initial use on the cover of Superman #14 in 1942, it’s been recreated multiple times throughout Superman’s long comic history. Although it’s using iconography of American patriotism, the new global inclusive phrase, “And a Better Tomorrow” brings this image into the modern age.
The variant by Lee Bermejo captures the wonder and imagination of being a Superman fan. Their realistic technique has a kid pretending to be Superman as he flies by the kid’s window. It’s a great visual of how Superman inspires us to dream and believe in the betterment of humankind.
Other variants include covers by David Nakayama, David Finch, and Greg Capullo with Jonathan Glapion & Dave McCaig. Incentive variants by Gerald Parel and Chris Samnee & Matheus Lopes, and a special Icons Foil edition of Jim Lee, Scott Williams & Alex Sinclair’s cover to Superman #204.
Being an iconic anniversary issue, several artists take to the interior pages in celebration of the Man of Steel. Gleb Melnikov, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, and Edwin Galmon along with colorist Alejandro Sanchez gives us an action packed story for the ages. The fight sequences get real intense and the art team does a tremendous job of highlighting the various individual fighting styles of the prominent House of El members. One particular panel showcases Supergirl’s Amazonian training as she uses a move similar to Wonder Woman. We’re also treated to a re-introduction of a character last seen over twenty years ago who still bears the markings of their involvement with a specific world collecting villain. In short, there isn’t a boring scene found through the entire book.
Joshua Williamson, lettered by Ariana Maher, weaves an inspiring tale of how Superman has changed people simply by existing. Superman #7, or #850, begins with Perry White deciding to run for Mayor which continues to alter the status quo of Metropolis’s supporting cast. Even the continuation of the fight with The Chained has Superman attempting to reason with Lex’s prisoner and also adds a hint to Conner’s tactile telekinesis origins.
Adding more intrigue to the mix, Lex gets a surprise visit from family members long forgotten including his daughter who was last seen during the Brainiac Y2K event over twenty years ago. Flexing his continuity muscles, Williamson makes a point to have the trio of circles still noticeable on Lena’s forehead as he masterfully segues into a Brainiac spotlight that teases his return next year along with some heavy re-enforcements.
More layers of Joshua Williamson’s secretive past for Metropolis are peeled away in Superman #7 as more layers are uncovered making this story a fun and anticipated release every month.