Superman #8, “The Chained” part three concludes the confrontation with Lex’s mysterious prisoner while giving a proper backstory and origin to this new villain. This epically action packed issue has Clark and Conner team up for a super powered beat down that shows The Chained to be a seriously formidable foe. The need to end the battle quickly may prove too costly as we’re left on a devastating cliffhanger that will be interesting to see resolved in the next story arc.
Jamal Campbell’s standard cover showcases the metaphoric weight thrust upon Superman dealing with Lex’s past. Being forced to take responsibility for SuperCorp in order to prevent hardships befalling on the employees also places Superman completely out of his comfort zone. Although he appears to struggle with the massive chains that are trying to bury him, Superman’s tenacious spirit hasn’t allowed him to give up.
Getting a head start on their Holiday Card giving, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, & Charles Ehrlich’s variant feels like a treat to the fans and readers. Having Superman drinking hot cocoa while his parents deal with holiday mail is a wholesome and festive scene that hopefully fills one with Holiday Joy for whichever brand of celebrating you partake.
The Artist Spotlight variant features Mike Deodato Jr. and Marcelo Maiolo. The movie poster inspired cover has Lex’s shadow looming over Metropolis as a colorful Superman flies towards us. Lex’s influence over the city is haunting Superman in new and unexpected ways which feels like a theme these two artists capture perfectly.
There are also variants available by Lee Bermejo, John Giang, Edwin Galmon and Alex Saviuk.
The interior art team is comprised of artists Gleb Melnikov, Norm Rapmund, David Baldeon, and colorist Alejandro Sanchez with Jamal Campbell on art and colors as well. Together they create an issue full of dramatic tension and dynamic fight scenes. You’ll find yourself flipping back through the pages just to make sure to take it all in. There’s even more nods to The Animated Series as Superman dons a familiar looking containment suit during his final throw down with The Chained. Art like this really makes the book fun to look at, not just read.
Joshua Williamson, lettered by Dave Sharpe, delves into The Chained’s origin and identity in Superman #8. We also get to see the foundation for Conner’s tactile telekinesis as Cadmus continued the work Lex began with Sammy Stryker. There’s a lot of similarities with The Chained’s power level with that of the New 52 Superboy, in that he can even manipulate the air he touches. This makes him a true force to be reckoned with and, of course, Lex tries to convince Clark he needs to be killed. Naturally declining that option, Clark and Conner devise a plan to subdue The Chained in hopes to find a way to retain him more humanely. The secret weapon to do this ends up being kryptonite and Clark’s prolonged exposure has him looking rather rough.
There’s a lot to unpack this issue as we get more insight to Lena’s personality. She openly makes further reference to Superman saving her from Brainiac’s hold during the Our Worlds at War event and acknowledges how terrible she thinks her father is to Sammy. What role she’ll have to play in the future will be very interesting. The revelation of Conner’s powers could also lead to some interesting character developments for him as well.
It’s great to see new ideas and initiatives being explored and old ones being expanded upon within this series and I, for one, hope Joshua Williamson is writing Superman long enough to see his stories have a lasting impact.