Superman Faces A Moral Quandary In This Week’s Best New Comics

Senior Contributor
09.13.17

DC Comics

Have you ever wondered how Superman can see the worst of humanity and still be, well, Superman? Think about it. He could easily take over the planet. Hell, you could argue he should take over the planet. Absolute power corrupts humans, but he’s not human. When will Superman get off his butt and just rule humanity already? And that’s the question at the core of Action Comics #987, which launches a new arc.

These are questions that have preoccupied writer Dan Jurgens, who spent years writing Superman in the ’80s and ’90s, for a while. Jurgens loved to throw Superman into the middle of a conundrum ripped from the headlines, and he explored this elsewhere, notably on a Thor run where Thor just stops screwing around and does what gods do, ruling over humans in a patch of the US. That didn’t end well, as you might guess, and here Jurgens has Superman confronting the worst of humanity, from gun-toting America First racists to poachers, all thanks to the mysterious Mr. Oz.

Jurgens isn’t terribly subtle; he even has artist Viktor Bogdanovic — who gives the book an uncomfortably tight layout as if the book is closing in around Superman — give the racists an American flag bandana. But Superman doesn’t lend himself to subtle, and the book’s closing twist echoes a classic Superman story while setting the stage for a much larger discussion about what you do when you have all the power in the world.

Marvel

Star Wars #36, Marvel

Jason Latour and Salvador Larroca explore a simple question with a terrifying answer: What happens when you piss off R2-D2? This one-off issue, about Artoo’s solo rescue mission for Threepio, is hilarious, yes, but it’s also just a wee bit unnerving. It turns out the keg-like body and cute beeping disguises quite possibly the most dangerous Rebel in the crew. Which in turn makes us wonder why R2 didn’t manage to alert anybody to this whole Darth Vader thing, but we guess even brilliant masterminds screw up.

Spy Seal #2, Image Comics

Rich Tommaso steps up his game with his mix of funny animals and stylish ’60s espionage with a witty mix of classic spy tropes and his clean, isometric art. Tommaso weaves hilarious little visual jokes all through this book, which, dialogue-wise, is played like a straight spy thriller, but told by a mouse straight from Beverly Cleary and a pinniped getting his flippers wet. It’s a hoot, and it shows that even a seemingly silly concept can be brilliant in the right hands.

Kaijumax Season 3 #3, Oni Press

Zander Cannon’s blend of giant monster movie and prison drama hits an oddly touching note this issue, in particular with Daniel, the giant goat-thing who really just wants to be left alone. We finally meet his parents, this issue, and it’s a fascinating riff on abusive parents. You’ll feel bad for a giant goat monster, surprisingly enough, and this issue also sets the stage for another twist. After all, in prisons, there is, as the book reminds us, always a bigger fish.

Mister Miracle #2, DC Comics

Tom King and Mitch Gerards have, already, turned DC’s Fourth World on its head with a suicidal Scott Free. And here, they reveal that even more things are going wrong, in ways both subtle and grandiose. The great war between the peaceful New Genesis and the warlike Apokolips has finally started, but Scott can sense, deeply, that something is wrong. And as a child of both worlds it may fall to him to save them both. It’s a trippy book, but it’s anchored by the human core of Scott and his wife Barda, a loving couple who are just trying to make it through together. And also boot the New Gods out of their bedroom when they show up at 3am.

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