Sunday, 15 September 2013

Superman: Last Son by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner and Adam Kubert Review

Superman thought he was the last Kryptonian to survive his doomed planet’s destruction - until a Kryptonian pod crash lands in Metropolis to reveal a young boy who appears to be Kryptonian. As Superman and Lois take him in as their adopted son Chris, Chris’ real parents emerge from the Phantom Zone to threaten the world and bring about a New Krypton!

Who doesn’t think Superman and Lois wouldn’t make great parents? Exactly, so it’s nice to see them be just that in this book - sort of. Because the time spent between the three is fairly limited and we never really see much of a connection to make them seem like a close family unit. Plus the parenting thing is contained in this brief book with most of the story taken up with Superman fighting Zod, Ursa and Non, so when Chris inevitably leaves at the end, it’s not nearly as emotional as Geoff Johns and Richard Donner would like you to believe.  

And while the concept is a pleasant one, Superman and Lois as parents is just… boring. At least in Johns/Donner’s hands. Superman gets protective over his new ward, Lois does the strong mother thing, but it’s just not very interesting to read. Then we find out later Chris was abused by his real parents Zod and Ursa and that’s where the book lost me. Child abuse should not be in a Superman book, it’s just too awkwardly out of place.

Not to mention the ending, where Chris of course winds up back in the Phantom Zone, effectively sent back to continuing to be abused by Zod and Ursa. But the ending is so messy anyway - Johns/Donner throw in a weird plot device at the last second which should have sent Superman into the Phantom Zone along with all of the Kryptonian criminals and Chris but for some reason doesn’t. Why introduce this rogue element at the last moment only to immediately go against it? It’s like they thought they didn’t have enough plot holes in the book and thought that was their last chance to cram one in!

I appreciate that this is a meaningful collaboration for Johns who started out as an assistant to Richard Donner, the director of the first two Superman films, and naming Superman’s son Chris after the iconic Christopher Reeves was a nice touch, but unless you’re a die hard fan of Donner’s Superman films and wanted to see another story in that vein, there isn’t much for you here. Superman’s characterisation is fine but the story is just so flat and dull with everybody else predictably playing out their parts. Adam Kubert’s art doesn’t help either by easily being the worst work I’ve seen him produce yet - all scratchy, sketchy stylings, ergh, so difficult to look at! Superman: Last Son isn’t very special at all and is a very forgettable story. 

Superman: Last Son

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