Review: Superman #27

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
July 22nd, 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 #27
Comics
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Review of: Superman #27
Price:
Inconsistent

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On July 22, 2017
Last modified:July 22, 2017

Summary:

A solid story concept was unevenly executed, suffered from subpar art, and sometimes permitted the strictly philosophical to get in the way of the persuasively personal.

Review of: Superman #27
Price:
Inconsistent

Reviewed by:
Rating:

2
On July 22, 2017
Last modified:July 22, 2017

Summary:

A solid story concept was unevenly executed, suffered from subpar art, and sometimes permitted the strictly philosophical to get in the way of the persuasively personal.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Superman #27 shifts gears for the series following a one-off story. In the first chapter of Declaration, writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason take Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jonathan Kent on a family road trip, bringing artist Scott Godlewski along for the ride. ComiConverse’s Krypton correspondent, T. Kyle King, provides some perspective on the latest issue.

Superman #27 Review:

With the weary Kent clan on the verge of relocating from Hamilton County to Metropolis, Lois decides to commemorate Independence Day by taking the tribe on a tour of U.S. historical sites. What lessons will the Daily Planet reporters impart to their son about truth, justice, and the American way?

Superman #27 Synopsis:

When all three members of the overworked Superman Family crash after one late night too many — in the Action Ace’s case, quite literally — Lane leases an RV and maps out a summer vacation including visits to each Kent’s favorite famous places. Their adventures carry them to Niagara Falls, Rock Ridge Cemetery, New York City’s World War I memorial, and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

Along the way, Lois and Clark are provided with teachable moments as parents, allowing them to use bumper stickers, graffiti, and the treatment given to disabled Iraq War veteran Ryan Duffy to demonstrate their defining values to their impressionable young son. Although Justice League obligations require the Man of Steel to slip away briefly in the night, Clark promises Lois he will be back by morning, in time for the next leg of the journey, which will carry them to Washington, D.C.

Superman #27 Analysis:

Declaration requires the writers to thread a needle very delicately. Although Tomasi and Gleason probably did so as well as it could be done, the demands of this tale necessitated a great deal more telling than showing, and the story suffers accordingly. In premise and in principle, Superman #27 is sound. Unfortunately, however, the execution produced an issue that comes across more like a public service announcement than an organic occurrence. The ultimate impact of what was intended to be inspirational is blunted by a tone that lapses into lecturing and reads a little preachy.

Story continues below

The imagery does the authors few favors. While Gabe Eltaeb’s colors and Rob Leigh’s lettering are perfectly serviceable in Declaration, Godlewski’s blocky bodies and distorted faces frequently fail to work in a story such as this one, which is driven by character rather than by action. The layouts generally are workmanlike, albeit not particularly inventive, yet the follow-through often is lacking. A representative example of this appears above; the otherwise effectively designed scene where the family falls asleep is marred by the curious inclusion of a discarded shirt Superman was never shown wearing, and, in a bedroom with two visible nightstands, Clark incongruously places his glasses on the floor beside his feet. Godlewski’s best work in Superman #27 is in his depiction of static statuary and familiar landmarks.

Despite these problems, though, Declaration’s underlying idea and ideals provide a sufficiently solid center to salvage somewhat the story’s heavy-handed and inelegant implementation. Superman falling asleep in mid-flight, Jon’s excited super-speed tour of the camper, and Lois’s militaristic precision in planning a family vacation all produce heartwarming humor. Superman #27 conveys valuable information about Deborah Sampson, the Founding Fathers, and the Battle of Al-Faw, as well as offering worthwhile (and largely apolitical) lessons about heroism, pluralism, respect, and acceptance. The themes are good, even if their introduction sometimes seems clumsy.

The strongest elements of Declaration also are the most human ones. Lois’s and Clark’s actions speak louder than their words, and Ryan Duffy’s personal tale of his individual experience is both more natural and more resonant than the vignettes involving abstractions and stereotypical stock characters. To be fair to Tomasi and Gleason, their instructional opportunities were restricted to the eight-page stretch between Superman’s and Superboy’s ride over Niagara Falls and the winding down of the Kents’ busy day in the issue’s concluding sequence. Space constraints would not accommodate both honest family interaction and effortless educational episodes, so the writers of Superman #27 likely made the best choices available in a tale for which there simply was not adequate room.

Make your own Declaration in the comments, where we invite you to ComiConverse with us about the civics lesson that was Superman #27!

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

Superman #27

  • 2

Inconsistent

A solid story concept was unevenly executed, suffered from subpar art, and sometimes permitted the strictly philosophical to get in the way of the persuasively personal.

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