Title: Superman (2016) Issue#3
Author(s): Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Artist(s): Mick Gray, Patrick Gleason
Publisher: DC Comics
Genre: Action, Superhero
Release Date: July 20, 2016
After Jon fell out of a tree and was rendered unconscious, Lois and Clark took their son to the Fortress of Solitude belonging to the late New 52 universe’s Superman. Once inside, they encountered a familiar being, known as the Eradicator, who looked to protect the last known Kryptonian. This being, however, may have presented more of threat to Clark, instead of being a welcomed ally.
The story by Peter J Tomasi really knew when to give the readers a sense of reprieve and when to hit hard with the tension as the Eradicator shifted from a helpful ally to threat. The Eradicator expresses a desire to help, but, later, it becomes a threat again when it tries to attack Jon. This made for a tension filled issue, even during the moments where the Eradicator was not attacking and explained its purpose.
Eradicator might present an interesting conflict for future issues, being both as a possible ally and threat. This is due to the fact that he is willing to protect and serve Superman, but targets Jon due to his impure Kryptonian DNA.
Speaking of Jon, the story only touched on his biology briefly, but it is still an interesting idea to bring up. While it is very brief, it’s interesting to note since Jon is the first naturally born human-Kryptonian Hybrid. Unlike Connor Kent, Jon was born naturally and he was not created in a controlled environment. It is possible that Jon’s genetics complement each other differently. Seen as how Jon’s invulnerability is inconsistent, it opens up a great deal of questions and possibilities, which Superman fans will no doubt speculate over.
Also given the abnormality of Jon’s powers, this might lead to Clark using the fortress more often since it has more advanced technology.
When read alongside “Action Comics”, readers can see a lot of interesting parallels from “Reign of the Supermen”, the story proceeding Superman’s resurrection. Among these parallels include, Superman returns after a long absence, Jon essentially being Superboy, Lex Luthor being Steel, and this world’s Doomsday and Eradicator being present. It seems Dan Jurgens and Peter J Tomasi are trying to incorporate as much reference to the “Death of Superman” and the “Reign of the Supermen” as possible. They are indeed interesting references and parallels that do not feel intrusive or too blatant, since most of these characters are from this universe.
Clark quickly getting angry was both exciting and frightening, however, much like with Lex Luthor, it was understandable. Clark could not take chances with a parallel universe version of one of his foes. Clark was at least nice enough to give the Eradicator the chance to explain himself after saving Lois and Jon, but Clark was still shown to be visibly worried. This is mainly due to the fact that he remembered how Eradicator could go to extremes, and he did not care for the lives of others, aside from Clark.
Eradicator’s personality is slightly different from his previous incarnation, but is still more or less driven by his programming. This version saved humans, which the previous one did not, however this could have been due to Clark’s desire to not see his family get hurt and the Eradicator simply following Clark’s wish. While he is somewhat subservient to Clark, it is still a hostile being that tried to harm Jon. This was due to Jon being an impure, Kryptonian half-breed. The Eradicator will no doubt be a constant problem throughout the series given what it tried to do to Jon. Superman will have no qualm with fighting it.
It is also nice that the current Superman series writers decided to add one of the lesser known Superman characters and give him a more expanded back-story compared to its previous incarnation. Also considering that this incarnation was also made to be a mercenary, this version seemed far more intimidating.
One misstep the story made was the death of a certain Superman character. While it did illustrate how more extreme the Eradicator is in following its programming, it seemed very unnecessary and might have been too much to put on Jon. The kid already bore witness to the death of one pet in the first issue, now he has lost another. While unjust deaths can motivate characters to take down the bad guy, it seemed unnecessary to do that to a kid. It seemed it might have set Jon to an angry breaking point. No doubt fans of this super dog might not take too kindly to his death.
Like the previous issue, there are a lot of splash pages and two page spreads, however, they still manage to something sequentially and visually interesting. One example would be when the comic illustrated the Eradicator’s past and art makes sure there was no dead space whatsoever.
The Eradicator himself is designed as an almost hunched, slouched, and almost twisted creature, but still having a similar build to Superman. It almost appears as if it is a twisted version of him, but with glasses and he did look genuinely intimidating and somewhat creepy.
The art also does a nice job with expressions as well, as it did not over exaggerate. The art did a great job conveying emotion, such as when Clark yells for his family, or when he looks visibly worried. That combined with the vibrant color pallet of the comic was visually pleasing. The art also does a good job with the action scenes. It really tried to portray the power behind Superman and Eradicator’s attacks with the short time given to the comic. This is especially noticeable near the end of the comic, where the fight occurs off screen and all the readers see is the “wham” sound effect illustrated over and over again and growing as Jon and Lois watch.
It is nice of Tomasi try to re-introduce a not-so-well-known Superman character and presents him as the new threat to the “Smith” family. The machine’s mere presence, Superman concerned look, and the two action scenes between them gave off this constant sense of tension throughout the comic. The art was vibrant and it conveyed emotions wonderfully and without over exaggerating them. It will be interesting to see Jon possibly get into the fight as well, but it could have been done without possibly killing off one of Superman’s most beloved pets.
Just made Jon angry
The Eradicator has come to protect the last Kryptonian, however it presents himself as both a willing ally, but also a threat to Clark’s family. Clark and Lois only wished to examine Jon’s powers, but now they have more to worry about. Jon really cannot catch a break. On top of being attacked by a Kryptonian robot, he now has lost two pets.
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