Superman: The Man of Steel Volume 8

First off, major spoilers with this cover, people!  Okay not really, but come on, should you really put Superman and Wonder Woman smooching on your cover?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great ploy to make you want to read the comic, but seriously, stop giving away plot points with your covers!!

These cover spoilers can be a bit obnoxious.  Mistah J actually removed the dust jacket from his Absolute Edition of Crisis on Infinite Earths because of the major spoilers it gave away.  I get that the editors want to draw people in, but leave a few surprises for us to unearth while reading, why don’t you?!

Okay, mini-rant over (until I read another comic with a cover spoiler and go off on the subject again). This wasn’t even really that much of a spoiler, it just irks me.

Anyway.

This comic, the eighth in the Man of Steel collection, continues Superman’s story in much the same fashion as its predecessors.  Superman faces a number of villains, deals with romantic entanglements, and overall does his whole “Earth’s mightiest hero” routine.

This collection has the distinction of including the 600th Action Comics issue, marking Superman’s 50th anniversary.  This oversized issue chronicles Superman and Wonder Woman’s secluded meeting, as well as their subsequent journey to Olympus to battle the ever-present Darkseid.

Given that this was Superman’s golden issue, it was surprising that the real hero of the day was, in fact, Wonder Woman.  Wonder Woman defeats Darkseid not with brute force, but with simple reasoning.  After pointing out that Olympus is empty and destroying it serves no purpose, she convinces him to end their fight all-together for the time being.

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Um…score one for Wonder Woman.

This is the villainous god-like being responsible for so many superheroes’ troubles, and yet in waltzes Wonder Woman with her calm and collected rationale, and gets Darkseid to change his mind about fighting her and Superman.  Instead, he acknowledges that she’s right and quietly disappears from Olympus.

Yeah…Wonder Woman’s a badass to the core.  And here this was supposed to be Superman’s big issue.

Superman’s big moment comes in a later issue, in which he travels to the spacial location of the now-extinct Krypton, where exposure to high levels of Kryptonite radiation cause him to have serious hallucinations about what could have been, had the rest of his people escaped the planet.

Suffice it to say, his vision was not good.  Traveling to Earth much like Superman did, the Krypton race would rule over Earth’s population with an iron fist.

Coming out of his stupor, Superman is suddenly aware of his own people’s potential failings:

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This stark realization was profoundly moving, for Superman acknowledges for the first time that he, or those with abilities like him, has the capability to lord his strength and power over others.  While the intentions may initially be good, it still results in forceful control, something Superman has stood adamantly against.

I enjoyed seeing him acknowledge that perhaps Krypton wasn’t such the Utopian society he may have once believed.  It’s people were just as susceptible to the failings of humanity as those on Earth.  Watching Superman come to this realization made for an interesting read, and made me curious to see how he will view his role as Earth’s protector moving forward.

Oh yeah there was one other thing I wanted to point out in this post…

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CAN WE TALK ABOUT FREAKING SUPERGIRL RANDOMLY SHOWING UP FROZEN IN THE ARCTIC?? WHAT???

The last I knew **30 YEAR OLD SPOILER ALERT** Supergirl was killed during the Crisis storyline and as far as anyone knew, stayed dead.

I’ll admit, I knew enough to expect her to return at some point, but I had no idea it would be so soon.  No doubt her origin will have changed somewhat from what it was pre-Crisis, and I can’t wait to see what direction the writers take her story.

Poor Superman.  This post is supposed to be about him and I spent more time talking about side characters than I did the star.  Oh well, he’s such an upstanding guy, I’m sure he doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight.

If he does, I’d better go hide…

-Jess

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