Review: Superman #22

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
May 6th, 2017

T. Kyle King is a lawyer, a former sports blogger, a panelist on the “Twin Peaks”-centric “Wrapped in Podcast”, and a Superman guy.

Review: Superman #22
Comics
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Review of: Superman #22
Price:
Spellbinding

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On May 6, 2017
Last modified:May 6, 2017

Summary:

This story was rapidly paced, returned Lois Lane to center stage, advanced the adventure, and tied plot threads together in an exceptional installment of this energetic series.

Review of: Superman #22
Price:
Spellbinding

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On May 6, 2017
Last modified:May 6, 2017

Summary:

This story was rapidly paced, returned Lois Lane to center stage, advanced the adventure, and tied plot threads together in an exceptional installment of this energetic series.

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Superman #22 continued the Black Dawn story arc while nevertheless shifting gears slightly. Lois Lane took center stage for an installment authored by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, to which Doug Mahnke contributed the artwork. ComiConverse contributor T. Kyle King is here to review the most recent issue.

(Warning: Significant spoilers follow!)

Superman #22 Review:

While Superman, Superboy, and Robin are away searching for Batman, Lois declines simply to stay on the sidelines. When Lane investigates fresh mysteries, the Daily Planet reporter’s unerring nose for news leads her to make shocking discoveries and places her in grave danger.

Superman #22 Synopsis:

From the Kent family farm in Hamilton County, Lois is tracking developments in town on her smartphone. She becomes aware of a fire in the distance and heads toward it in her pickup truck, finding that the oak tree where Jonathan Kent and Kathy Branden played together is burning. Concerned for their wellbeing, Lane heads into town to track down her husband and son.

The observant journalist spots an oddity that leads her into the town hall. There, she discovers a high-tech observation station from which her family’s life together has been watched and chronicled. Lois rushes home, intent on contacting the Justice League, but the town leaders converge on the farmhouse to stop her. Aided by Batman’s gadgetry, she manages briefly to make her escape before Cobb Branden halts her getaway. Elsewhere, in the huge house hidden in the swamp, Superman locates his quarry as the conundrums begin to converge.

Story continues below

Superman #22 Analysis:

After an issue from which Lois noticeably was largely absent, the literal first lady of superhero comics stepped back into the spotlight in a big way for Black Dawn — Chapter 3. Lane is the central figure driving this issue — she appears on 18 pages; her husband shows up in the flesh for just two — and her narration provides both fast-paced exposition and pithy insightful observations. She has some great lines in Superman #22, which feature allusions ranging from the weighty (“Someone always seems to want the world to burn”) to the witty (“If I can drive Frankenstein’s scooter, I should be —”).

Tomasi and Gleason strike a nice balance in this issue. Lois’s actions and reactions in Black Dawn — Chapter 3 track logically. Lane is fearless, yet never foolish; her behavior is bold, but not reckless, and her transition from investigative reporter to protective parent and spouse makes perfect sense in context. While Mahnke's visual rendition of Lois is not especially subtle, his graphics are perfectly suited to ongoing kinetic action set pieces like Superman #22, so the physicality of the motion, commotion, and emotion is portrayed effectively.

The writers risk returning too often to the well by breaking out the glove from the Hellbat suit yet again, but the weaponized gauntlet was put to good use in this issue. When the mayor and the other local leaders stand between Lois and the Justice League emergency communicator, she retrieves the Batman gadget for use in self-defense. In an unexpected twist, the glove signals for an automated Batmobile to extricate Lane from the situation, which maintained the high energy level of Superman #22 and kept the reappearance of the mechanized mitt from being a mere rehash of previous issues in the series.

Such fresh takes on elements from earlier installments have defined the engaging Black Dawn story arc. The closing image of Superman #22, bathed by colorist Wil Quintana in the signature purple of this adventure’s hidden villain, revealed not just the kidnapped forms of Batman and Robin, but also those of such unanticipated captives as Frankenstein and the would-be county fair robbers from Superman #7. Add to that the conspicuously persistent absence of Superboy and the image of the increasingly menacing Cobb Branden apparently controlling with his mind the mechanical as well as the animal, and this issue enriches still further the forthcoming reveal of what is happening and who is behind it. In the meantime, the latest edition made expert use of the series’ cast and told a strong tale that worked both as an intriguing individual installment and as a captivating chapter in a continuing saga.

Are you starting to see the sun peeking over the horizon as we near the end of Black Dawn?

Report on the results of your investigation into Superman #22 in the comments!

T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.

Superman #22

  • 5

Spellbinding

This story was rapidly paced, returned Lois Lane to center stage, advanced the adventure, and tied plot threads together in an exceptional installment of this energetic series.

Story continues below

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