Superman #9, “Aftermath” wastes little time acting as an epilogue to the recent “The Chained” story arc before jumping right into Superman’s next adventure. Although the issue gives us the downtime beats that usually happen in between story arcs, it also doesn’t feel like a typical filler book before the next arc begins. More is revealed about the new characters of Marilyn Moonlight and Mr. Graft as the issue organically moves the overarching plot along from issue #1.
The standard cover by Jamal Campbell not only teases the confrontation between Superman and Mr. Graft but also debuts Superman’s SuperCorps super suit. Graft poses a legitimate threat as he wields the various hues of kryptonite within his arsenal against Superman. With the help of the new armor, Clark is able to battle Graft as the kryptonite becomes little more than a nuisance.
Bruno Redondo’s variant is a perfect depiction of Superman’s demeanour under pressure. Effortlessly keeping The Daily Planet building from hitting the ground, a smiling Superman nonchalantly hands a teddy bear to the child it would have landed on. There’s a wholesomeness to Redondo’s style that resonates well with Superman and it’s hard not to feel safe looking at his cover.
Just in time for the Christmas holiday, the variant by Mikel Janín recreates Action Comics #1’s cover with Santa and his sleigh. The fun festive image raises all kinds of questions to why Santa would be bashing his sleigh into a snow covered boulder. Was there just too many kids on the naughty list? Is it the Santa of Earth 3 attempting to ruin Christmas on Earth 1? Has Santa just finally had enough of the elves’ bickering and finally snapped? Whatever the case, it definitely blends Christmas and comics in a joyous way.
Other great variants by Lee Bermejo, Michael Walsh, Nathan Szerdy, and Mike Deodato Jr. & Jao Canola are also out there to be nabbed, so keep an eye out for those.
Eisner award winner Bruno Redondo, with colorist Adriano Lucas, lend their talents to the interior art of Superman #9. The book looks absolutely fantastic with Redondo’s signature “comic book dots” throughout the pages. There’s not a lot of action this issue, as to be expected with an epilogue book, but what we get is very significant to the story and the art really heightens the impact. There’s also some tender moments with Lois as she reads fan mail to Clark while he’s unconscious during his recovery. In just a few panels some of the more important moments in Superman’s history plays out from Lois’s point-of-view which sells the emotional weight of his condition.
Joshua Williamson, lettered by Ariana Maher, effortlessly bridges “The Chained” into the next arc dealing with Marilyn Moonlight in Superman #9. Still healing from his extreme exposure to kryptonite last issue, Clark modifies Lex’s exo-suit in order to confront Graft as he targets Moonlight. Somehow or another, the particular kryptonite Graft is wielding violently mixes with Marilyn’s powers which sends both her and Clark to Metropolis’s frontier days. There we get a fun cameo with Nighthawk and Cinnamon, proving yet again the vast DC Comics lore Williamson possesses.
There’s definitely more to Moonlight, Graft, and Pharm’s connection to Metropolis and Luthor than just new characters for a new creator’s story, and it’s being intricately woven into the world of Superman. The scope and magnitude Williamson is crafting with his Superman story has been absolutely phenomenal. Bringing in new characters to showcase others we haven’t seen in awhile, adding nuanced history to one of the most famous fictional cities in literature, and moving supporting characters around to illustrate growth and change within the lives of Superman’s world, goes far to breathe new interest and excitement while still feeling familiar and true to the characters he’s writing about.