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Superman #29

Review by Paul Bowler.

Following his innovative take on the future of the Superman family during Future State, writer Philip Kennedy Johnson takes the helm full-time for Superman #29, for the first in a two-part story that will unfold this month in both Superman and Action Comics. “The Golden Age” presents an insightful and moving character study where Johnathan Kent reflects on his father’s great legacy, just as a new threat strikes from outer space, attacking Clark and almost killing him! The young hero must finally confront the foreknowledge he gained during his time with the Legion of Superheroes in the future about Superman’s fate – one that might soon become a frightening reality…

Much like Philip Kennedy Johnson’s Future State work, his debut issue as lead writer on Superman also focuses more on character than the actual event, more specifically here he throws the spotlight on the complexities of Clark’s relationship with his son after the long time Jon’s spent apart from his parents. The fallout from Brian Michael Bendis’ era is keenly felt. However the “The Golden Age” which Johnson aims for centres on the adolescent belief that our parents are infallible, and the inherent consequences when that unwavering sense of fearlessness crumbles  when Jon witnesses his father falter for the first time in battle. 

Amidst the emotional turmoil of exactly how Jon chooses to have that conversation with his dad about what he discovered thanks to his time with Legion, and Clark’s heartfelt way of getting Jon to open up to him about what’s really worrying him, allows Johnson to explore a rich  emotional narrative that empowers the dynamic between the characters like never before. There’s also the mystery of who-or-what is causing the intergalactic breaches, and with Amanda Walker scheming on the side-lines you can be sure things wont go well for anyone who gets caught in the crossfire. 

The artwork for Superman #29 by penciller Phil Hester and inker Eric Gapstur, with colors by HI-FI provides a distinctly clean and uncluttered visual style and tone for the issue. The standoffishness of Jon’s somber reluctance to talk to his father — sure in the knowledge that Clark died once before and that the Legion of Superheroes told him it could happen again — is also cleverly portrayed through the page-layouts with subtle notes of body language that express Jon’s fears just as strongly as the dialogue. 

In the tales of Metropolis back-up story by Sean Lewis, with art by Sami Basri and colors by Ulies Arreola we see an old fan favourite from the 80’s / 90’s, Bibbo Bibbowski placed front and centre as this hero-of-the-people tackles an alien threat attempting to manipulate the citizens of Metropolis. Its a tale that taps into similar vein as the back-up stories Lewis did for Future State, DC’s Infinite Frontier penchant for back-up stories also offers a chance to showcase totally different — yet just as relevant — adventures and I’m sure there is a wealth of possibilities to explore with this format that will nicely complement the main narrative of Philip Kennedy Johnson’s run.

Overall, Superman #29 is a deeply thought provoking and emotional study of the complex relationship between Clark and Jon; along with their standing in Metropolis and indeed the universe itself. Superman #29 gets Philip Kennedy Johnson’s run off to a great start, with its character driven storyline and solid artwork, it would seem the House of El could not be in safer hands.

Publisher DC Comics

Writer Philip Kennedy Johnson / Pencils Phil Hester

Inks Eric Gapstur / Colorist HI-FI

Letterer Dave Sharpe / Cover Hester, Gapstur and HI-FI

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook