Lex Luthor tells Superman about his earliest days in Metropolis, but will Supes believe him? Your Major Spoilers review of Superman #4, awaits!
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jamal Campbell and Nick Dragotta
Colorist: Jamal Campbell and Frank Martin
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: May 16th, 2023
Previously in Superman: Facing down an impossible-to-win situation involving Parasite, Superman was forced to join forces with Lex Luthor and his recently created Supercorp.
LEX IS HERE, TO SAVE THE DAY?
Superman #4 opens up inside the apartment of The Silver Banshee as she prepares breakfast. She’s interrupted by a knock at the door, but when she goes to answer she’s confronted by Dr. Pharm and Graft. Elsewhere in prison, Superman visits Lex who has been detained following a confrontation with another inmate. We get a quick recap of the things the two have accomplished off-panel since the end of the previous issue. Yet, Superman demands to know Lex’s connection to Pharm and Graft before their partnership can continue. Lex then goes into a story about how when he first arrived in Metropolis he discovered that there was a plot going on involving the abductions of homeless people and he set out to use his tech to thwart whoever was behind them, that’s how he met Pharm and Graft. Superman is doubtful of the story so he goes to investigate the tunnels underneath Metropolis, but soon discovers he’s not alone down there.
A TAD HEAVY ON THE CHEESE
The tone in this recent run of Superman has definitely fallen on the lighter side of things, with a decent amount of classic comic book silliness and earnestness. Yet, in Superman #4, things seem to be cranked up a notch in those departments. The entirety of Lex’s story plays out like an old radio drama, with Lex even at one point making a bold proclamation mid-fight about the tarnishing his foes are giving the name of science. Of course, there are some layers to this as it’s not so subtly suggested that Lex is an unreliable narrator, but the fact remains that a large chunk of this issue is Lex’s cheesy story. In fact, even outside of his story, Lex comes off as a very blunt and unsophisticated person in this issue. When he’s not telling a dubious tale, he’s bluntly going on and on about how awesome it is that he and Superman are teaming up. Of course, it must be taken with a grain of salt, but this characterization is just not a very interesting version of Lex to read. While the first three issues of this series felt like a nice introduction to this new run and was full of action, this issue understandably slows things down, but doesn’t actually accomplish anything with this change in pace. Nothing new is really learned and all the action feels like a repeat of what we’ve already gotten. The cliffhanger the issue ends on though is nice, and it shows promise for some interesting storytelling in the future.
ART FEELS CAGED IN
Jamal Campbell has done some spectacular work in the past, but he just isn’t given a chance to really do anything here. Many of the scenes take place in dull areas without a chance to bring that vivid coloring that his books normally have. Even with these restrictions, he manages to do some great panels, especially the ones featuring Silver Banshee.
BOTTOM LINE: FEELS LIKE FILLER
Superman #4 drops the ball in a few different ways. It doesn’t really nail a good dynamic between Superman and Lex, with Lex coming off as over the top and Superman being just sort of there because it’s his book. A good portion of this issue is eaten up by a flashback that is grating to read, and ultimately not a whole lot happens here that pushes the plot forward. The one saving grace is that there’s a nice twist at the end that might be a fun wrinkle to explore. 2.5 out of 5.
Dear Spoilerite,At Major Spoilers, we strive to create original content that you find interesting and entertaining. Producing, writing, recording, editing, and researching requires significant resources. We pay writers, podcast hosts, and other staff members who work tirelessly to provide you with insights into the comic book, gaming, and pop culture industries. Help us keep MajorSpoilers.com strong. Become a Patron (and our superhero) today.
Superman #4 spends too much time beating the dead horse that Superman doesn’t really trust Lex, and Lex is not being truthful. Not much happens in this issue, which makes the irritating tone that much worse.