It took a couple of months to finally arrive but Superman Unchained #7 finally hit the stores last week.
So was it worth the wait?
The answer is yes. And for the most part that yes is because it is great to read a comic where a more traditional Lois is actually part of the story. And, for the first time in a while, I actually don't mind reading a Batman who seems to be able to stand next to someone who is way more powerful than he is.
The art by Jim Lee is big and splashy as this is mostly a fight chapter. There is nothing so amazing about the art here to justify how late it is. And we don't get too much progression of any of the plot threads that writer Scott Snyder has been weaving. The book is ending with the ninth issue. Will Snyder be able to wrap everything up in 2 issues? We still need a big fight between Superman and Wraith so will there be enough room to satisfactorily finish this? I hope so. And I have faith in Snyder.
As I have said, I will be sad to see this book end.
We had two cliffhangers last time. One was the Wraith confronting Batman in the Batcave. You may recall that Batman had synthesized the equivalent of Wraith-kryptonite, allowing Superman to mop the floor with him. Now the Wraith wants revenge. And wearing some fancy armor protects him from Batman's faux-K.
Here is some of that Batman bravado. When the Wraith says Superman won't be showing up Batman says 'good'. It is a nice mix of bluff and Batman intimidation.
And, as we saw way way back in Superman Unchained #2, Batman has a stealth suit that even Supers can't see. Ahh foreshadowing!
The other cliffhanger was General Lane poised outside the Fortress of Solitude with his 'dogs of war', high-tech anti-Kryptonian vehicles and weaponry. Lane is ready to bring the Fortress down around Superman for 'treason'. Sigh. Must our military constantly fight super-heroes in DC Comics!?
There is a sort of fatalism and despondency in Superman initially. He wonders if this was destined to happen because he didn't fall in line like the Wraith.
But there is Lois ... thankfully ... to remind him that tough choices are just that ... tough. But they define who you are. I love everything about this. How she talks of her own life decisions. How she is touching his arm. How they are very much equals here ... she might even be stronger in resolve. Superman shouldn't be doubting who he is here ... he should be embracing it!
She even says she wants to use the Earthstone to help defend.
She refuses to let him 'protect' her.
Jeez ... this is the Lois I want to read and she is going away in two issues.
And then that last panel. Is he about to say he loves her? That he is Clark? Both?
We won't know because Lane starts his attack then.
But that panel ... so full of potential ... with this Lois, so true to who she should be ...
Meanwhile, Batman tries to slow down the Wraith by battering him with many Batmobiles. (He already crashed a batjet on him.) I suppose someone with excellent knowledge of Batman could pinpoint all these versions as being somewhere in continuity.
I just thought it was brilliant and hysterical at the same time. And definitely worthy of the splash!
Superman decides that he won't listen to Lois and instead throws her in some protected pod within the Fortress. He then dons some Kryptonian armor and heads out to fight the US Army. (Ack I am sick of writing that!)
There is so much to comment on here! One, this reminded me of Acroyear from the Micronauts for some reason. Two, Superman's martial weapon of choice is a small warhammer on a chain?? Third, he does the 'ding ding' like Apollo Creed sparring with Rocky at the end of Rocky 3!
You know Lane might fight great, but Superman is a great fighter!
I don't know if this merited a splash page.
Meanwhile in the Batcave, Batman has seemingly run out of tricks.
Well, except one.
Wonder Woman arrives out of nowhere to lay some smack down! Maybe she'll knock some 'cents' into the Wraith.
Sorry, couldn't help myself.
Anyways, it is good to see the Trinity acting like the Trinity, defending each other. And it is another good moment. I suppose it is splashy enough to warrant the big coverage. I just worry when there are so many splash pages that I am getting cheated out of story.
While The Wraith seems to be winning his fight, Superman is getting battered by the military's anti-Kryptonian weaponry. Just as a whole salvo of Kryptonite bombs are about to kill off our hero, Lois uses the Earthstone to escape her cell/protective pod and then stop the missiles dead in their tracks.
I'm not always happy when I see so many effective anti-Kryptonian weapons so easily available. It somehow cheapens Superman's invulnerability, his giving Batman a Kryptonite ring, and his still being alive. If there are this many weapons out there that could kill him, he should be dead.
But that's right ... Lois saves Superman! And General Lane isn't too happy about it.
Okay, I'll say it one more time. This is the sort of Lois I want to read.
But wielding the Earthstone she also senses that intelligence within it ... possibly malevolent.
With the army shut down, Superman dismantles their mecha. And then, he gets the signal. Wraith is in the Batcave. It is time for a throwdown ... Superman vs. Wraith.
Okay, we don't know more about Wraith's origins or the Earthstone's origin. But we did get a lot of action! But most importantly, between the brawls, we got great characterization between Lois and Superman. This is such a great book for Lois ... and it is going away.
At least we get to see her star here. I hope Geoff Johns reads this book and remembers what Lois should be like, how she should interact with Superman.
I don't know when Superman Unchained #8 is hitting the shelves. But I will enjoy this maxi-series while it lasts.