Superman: Lost #8, “Stranger Things” sees Clark beginning to reconcile what he’s gone through only to have the rug pulled out from underneath him by the end of the issue. Superman also feels more like the character we all know and love in this installment which adds to the heartbreaking scene in the last few pages.
The main cover is by Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Elmer Santos. Our first real cover of Superman on Earth for this series could almost pass as an homage to a scene out of “Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”. Arriving on a disastrous scene, people reach out to Superman to save them as a pained look of despair adorns Clark’s face. Was he too late? Is he concerned for their desperate need of his assistance? Is he troubled by the hardships these people will now endure over what has happened? Or is he saddened he can’t do more to help? The level of emotion pouring from this cover is absolutely incredible and made all the more palpable with the play of colors and how Superman seems untouched by the hues from the flames around him.
Stephen Segovia and Elmer Santos’s variant is focused solely on Supergirl. Kara makes her story debut this issue so it’s fitting to also give The Maid of Might her own cover. Majestically flying over a body of water with a flock of birds while the sun begins to set is undeniably the most hopeful cover we’ve seen since issue #1. Although it may seem a bit out of place with the rest of the series, this chapter of the story is also the most hopeful we’ve read thus far, making the piece fit right in.
The incentive variant by Denys Cowan, John Stanisci, and Christopher Sotomayor also features Supergirl but this time alongside her cousin as the survivors of Krypton. It’s a fantastically colorful piece that displays how the tragedy of Krypton’s destruction produced two of Earth’s greatest champions. Survivors guilt is one of the mental illnesses plaguing The Man of Steel and this piece is a beautiful reminder of how something great can be birthed from something terrible.
Handling the interior art is the team of penciller Carlo Pagulayan, inker Jason Paz, colorist Jeromy Cox, with guest artist Will Conrad. Together they produce a stunning book that captures emotional tone and action as the story focuses more on the present goings on of both Clark and Lois. The team really understands the weight of the subject matter as it shows in their grounded approach to the art with realistic scenes and facial expressions. It really does elevate the book, and the entire series, to exceptional levels.
Christopher Priest, with letters by Willie Schubert, brings Clark’s space odyssey to a close in Superman: Lost #8. The first few pages wrap up his journey by cleverly using Adam Strange and his connection to the zeta beam to bring Clark home mere moments after he left. Throughout the issue we see Clark trying to reason with the likes of Metallo and Black Adam in a way that feels more true to the character but with a greater sense of purpose. Seeing kindred souls with them as people that have lost their way, there’s more of an earnest attempt to get through to them, as if saving them would also save himself. Ironically enough Black Adam is the one that finally resonates with Clark’s ordeal, having been through something similar himself, and finally begins to make peace with the last twenty years of his life. Meanwhile, Lex is somewhat perplexed as to why Lois hasn’t revealed to Superman what he’s done to her but continues to prepare for, what he feels will be, an inevitable visit from The Man of Steel. The issue concludes with Clark finding out on his own just as his life was starting to make sense again.
There’s a lot of positive moments within this issue that truly make it feel it was meant to be a Superman story. His interactions with Supergirl over how he was responding to Metallo, his demeanor towards Black Adam as he asked for his help in finding the planet Kansas, even the realization he comes to about how presently absent he’s been towards Lois are all great scenes that reflect Clark’s undying embodiment of hope.
Of course, there’s still two issues left in the series so it can’t feel too much like an ending just yet, and the development with Lois and Lex is sure to set Clark back a few steps. The ride isn’t over yet as we head into the final issues to see how Priest puts all the pieces together in one of the most profound Superman story ever told.