Cover date: September 2012
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Dan Jurgens, Vicente Cifuentes, Rob Hunter & Jesus Merino
Cover: Dan Jurgens
Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel
Now we jump to the past. Clark is to meet Jimmy for dinner in Carlini's but realizes too late that Lois Lane and boyfriend Jonathan Carroll had played him. Instead Clark was roped into a double date with Jonathan and the Lane sisters. Lucy is far from impressed that Clark is 45 minutes late even for this dinner.
Clark is pleasantly surprised to like both Jonathan and Lucy despite preconceptions on both. He is even roped into a bungee jump from Bogdanove Bridge despite his reluctance. Carlini's seems a hotbed of activity for PGN employees as we have a reporter, a news anchor, a foreign correspondent and now the company head, Morgan Edge arrives complete with two bimbos.
Lois wastes no time tearing strips off her impetuous boss, within reason, making her points crystal clear. Morgan nods that he was foolish to follow the Superman dual identity story on the say so of a blogger, but luckily PGN pulled in sky high ratings and Lois kept her reputation intact, in fact the blogger took the fall for everything.
Cutting into the verbal tennis, cellphone alerts ping all over the restaurant. All PGN staff are alerted to the research facility attack in Russia and all of them race out. Clark promises to meet Lucy for the bungee jump the next morning, leaving an unamused Lucy with a huge dinner bill. Racing to the roof, Clark strips off down to his white Superman T-shirt and activates his body armor, soaring towards Russia.
Back in the present, Russian soldiers arrive and attack Superman assuming that he is the killer. Superman fills them in and melts their weaponry with heat vision. Russian security head, Ivan, informs Superman that Russia had always wanted their own Superman to defend and fight for them just as Superman does for America. Superman is taken aback, he's never threatened Russia. Ivan responds coldly with 'yet' and continues to relay the backstory.
Ivan explains that after Superman emerged, Russia set about hunting deep space which led to failure, so their scientists looked into multidimensional portals. However once established they realized someone had been watching them also via their own portals and sent through a chamber that landed over the Bering Strait which is when Superman intervened at the sub crash. Bringing us to today and the mass killing. Ivan tells Superman they've tracked it to a nuclear facility near a small town to the west. Superman takes to the sky but before he does he probes Ivan about his role as 'Russian Security' yet being completely fluent in English. To his shock Ivan reveals he was a double agent for the presidential detail.
Superman arrives at the village to discover dead military troops, civilians, children and even pets. His horror scanning the village means he doesn't notice the capsule hurled at him that promptly explodes. Superman stumbles, his armor, cracked and cape, torn. The foe is too fast, even faster than the Flash. Ninja stars fly through the air seemingly from nowhere and pierce Superman's armor. Bemused Superman shrugs off the tiny weapons but his overconfidence is a weakness, more so when the throwing stars explode, cracking yet more of the suit.
Superman blazes the surroundings with heat vision, again overconfident that a foe couldn't possibly have dodged it. Wrong. Another capsule bounces towards him and engulfs him in flame and a dreadlocked monster complete with a metal mask, wrist blades and several types of combat weapons attacks the Man of Steel. Superman is outmatched and takes a severe beating. Yet another capsule is launched and this time stabs into Superman's armor emitting some kind of signal, almost like it is scanning him and relaying the information to the hunter.
The capsule electrocutes Superman leaving him unconscious and his armor reverted to the white tights. The hunter meanwhile moves in for the kill.
To Be Continued...
Story - 1: At first I was kind of stoked. The issue seemed like it was gearing up to something. What a let down that it when wrong from the flashback onwards. First off, Carlini's... The most expensive restaurant in Metropolis and Jimmy and Clark are dining there? Yeah right. Second if I buy that, suddenly half the PGN staff just happen to be dining there? I half expected Izzy, Perry, Miko, Heather and Billy to pop by.
I thought the Cold War was over but obviously not in the New 52, complete with Ivan the sinister double agent and their race to find a super weapon to rival America's. Ok, I'll go with it but after that the big pay off - the villain of the story is a Predator? No seriously no effort was even taken to hide the fact that this was a rip off of the movie hunter they even have the dreadlocks. Even if they rolled out Doomsday for the gazillionth time I would have been ok with it. Or Russian Zod in the armor or even Cauldron. Instead we get Superman versus Predator.
When did Superman become an idiot in battle? He saw the damage on video, in person at two sites and was even warned by Ivan the Russian, so Superman decides to fly into confrontation unprepared? The Predator was able to move so fast he was invisible, but his ninja stars weren't. Superman saw the capsules damage him and his armor once, yet he lets it happen four more times in a row?
Maybe I'm being too harsh that Superman is an unthinking egotistical brute, he sure is here as opposed to his past fights in the past 10 issues. But I think it's my sadness that DC chose a Predator rip off as the villain in Superman's second big arc. Not annoyed at the lack of originality, just that they didn't bother even hiding it.
Also the front cover made me a promise. It lied. I don't like that.
Art - 2: The art was decent but with four artists going over it all, how could they mess up?
The whole arc has been a blend of styles so I'm used to the inconsistencies by now (i.e. the cape ripped in an explosion early on and in the final scene it's magically repaired). I'm saddened none of the artists could have gone to a little more effort to cover up the blatant theft of character design but heyho that's for DC's legal department to thrash out.
Cover Art - 4: The cover is cool, the glowing armor, the smiling Superman, a pretty classic take. The point is knocked off for the cover's text. What secrets will be revealed inside? (Wow, we're going to get something juicy here!) What could the suit's secrets be? The answer? None. Thanks a bunch.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2012.