Superman Unchained #5 (DC)


Rating: 3/5 – Not enough Superman in Superman Unchained.

I had very high hopes for Superman Unchained, but this series has turned out to be very inconsistent.  Can’t Scott Snyder deliver two good consecutive issues of Superman?

A wise person once said that in order for a book to succeed it needs to have: A) Good Writing, B) Good Art, C) Marketing to get it in the hands of people who will appreciate the writing and art.  Superman unchained has two of three. The art by Jim Lee is superb, he manages to capture the essence of Superman.  DC has built up and created marketing hype around Superman Unchained like never before with top creators (Snyder and Lee) and countless “Superman through the Ages” variant covers.  But art and marketing aren’t enough, a book need solid and consistent writing. Though I liked #3-4, issue 5 was a big step back. The writing isn’t terrible, but it is very inconsistent. When it works, it works great, when it doesn’t, well…

First the good: We got some backstory in this issue. I really enjoyed reading some of Clark growing up and discovering his powers. It was told really well, it had a lot of heart put into it and the art fit perfectly into that story. My only problem with it that it felt forced into the story for no apparent reason.  Lois was featured some more in this issue and faced off against a villain far more powerful than her. I missed the old Lois. The one that puts her nose where it doesn’t belong and goes places she shouldn’t. We get a lot of Lois, maybe even too much.

And now for the bad: The Superman/Wraith relationship just doesn’t work for me. It’s not interesting, it is the most annoying aspect in the series for me. One second they’re friends and the next the Wraith betrays Superman. Then they’re friends again and then, wouldn’t you know? Wraith betrays Superman again! Dammit Scott, make up your mind!  The Wraith changes reasons for his actions at the same speed that pre-Flashpoint Superman could change clothes in a phone booth.

As it stands, the book is overcrowded. In this issue alone we have Superman, Wraith, Lois, Sam Lane, Ascension, Young Clark, Lana and two more characters that joined the party in the end. All of this crammed into a 25 page comic book makes for a rushed story and the strong feeling that some of these guys should be cut out. The problem is, they are necessary for the story.  The book’s name is SUPERMAN Unchained. How is it a Superman book if Superman is only in 30% of it? Food for thought, Mr. Snyder.  This reader wants more Superman in his Superman book. I haven’t given up hope yet. Maybe next issue Snyder will get back on track with the caliber of story he told in #3 and #4.

Reviewed by: Gilad Levin – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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