Review: Superman #48

January 31st, 2016 | by Kyle King
Review: Superman #48
Review of: Superman #48

Reviewed by:
On January 31, 2016
Last modified:January 31, 2016


Gene Luen Yang continues to reinvent the resurgent Man of Steel in creative ways.

Superman has lost his secret identity and most of his powers, but not his fighting spirit. Clark Kent came through Truth to confront Vandal Savage’s fiendish master plan, and the latest chapter was released this week in Superman #48. ComiConverse’s Man of Steel writer, T. Kyle King, is here with a review.

Writer Gene Luen Yang and pencillers Howard Porter and Ardian Syaf teamed up this month to bring us Treatment, in which Superman seeks Steve Trevor’s assistance in the effort to regain his Kryptonian powers. Will the help Clark wants cure him before it kills him?



After being healed by the gods on Mount Olympus, the Action Ace tracks down Agent Trevor with an idea for restoring his superpowers. Since the kryptonite-powered Metallo suit temporarily revived his alien abilities, Superman wants to use A.R.G.U.S.’s storehouse of glowing green meteor rocks as a form of radiation therapy to bring back his superpowers permanently. Despite his skepticism, Steve agrees.

Meanwhile, HORDR_ROOT helps transfer the consciousness of one of his brothers, the Puzzler, into a mechanized Puzzlerbot, in which he proceeds to attack A.R.G.U.S. in the hope of accreting the agency’s advanced technology onto his automated form. As the Puzzler’s assault enables the villain to become steadily stronger, Clark’s exposure to kryptonite makes him increasingly weaker, but he decides to give his risky plan a final try.

Superman #48

Credit: DC Comics


Porter’s and Syaf’s pencils, augmented by the work of a trio of inkers, look good on every page, but the stylistic shifts between sets of visuals are jarring. Although the graphics are well crafted when viewed as discrete units, the whole is a bit of a hodgepodge, and this mixing and matching is made more glaring by the changing representations of Clark’s and Steve’s often interchangeable figures and faces. Both men are rock-hewn slabs of muscle with hard-edged features, sometimes distinguishable only by their attire and hair color, and the similarities are underscored by this issue’s consistent inconsistency.

Porter’s part of Treatment is solid, as is Syaf’s, but these two talented artists are two great tastes who may not taste great together. The saving grace of how this book looks, not coincidentally, is the one area in which the broth was not wounded by too many cooks: Hi-Fi is the lone colorist for Superman #48, and the result is a visually uniform vividness that builds as the issue progresses to its emerald-irradiated conclusion.

Story continues below

The premise of the story requires quite a leap of logic – Clark could fly while wearing armor charged by kryptonite, so direct exposure to the deadly mineral can give him back his powers naturally – but the Man of Tomorrow offers a plausible explanation for his theory, which manages to provide a fresh take on an aspect of the Superman legend so long established (and occasionally overused) that kryptonite has become entrenched in the lexicon of popular culture even among Americans who have never picked up a comic book.

This is the essence of Yang’s strength as a writer: Superman, as the oldest superhero in the pantheon, presents difficulties for modern creators, who must keep the character moving forward without veering into the deep ditches on either side of the road by deviating too greatly from the norm or by merely rehashing classic material. The Man of Steel challenges his authors to travel a narrow path while still staying inventive and innovative, which few artists are able to do.

Superman #48

Credit: DC Comics

In Treatment, Yang remains true to kryptonite as the ultimate threat, literally and symbolically, to the well-being of the Last Son of Krypton, but the writer also turns the venerable mineral on its head by transforming it into a restorative remedy directly analogous to the therapy given to cancer patients in reality. We do not yet know whether kryptonite will prove to be a panacea or a placebo, but, in Superman #48, Yang gives new life to this old element, and to several others, as well.

Yang’s cleverness and creativity make it much easier to overlook this issue’s brow-furrowing features. For the umpteenth time in the last couple of months, a new bad guy turns up and is revealed – at this point, it doesn’t even qualify for a spoiler alert – to be one of Savage’s offspring. This story conceit has been done to death, so much so that it seems Superman could solve numerous problems by giving his immortal enemy a Vandal vasectomy.

Likewise, the gaps between stories since Savage Dawn debuted remain unexplained, leaving yawning chasms of unanswered questions from one issue to the next. Wonder Woman saves Clark’s life, then the Man of Steel goes off on his own to convince Steve Trevor to take him to A.R.G.U.S. headquarters and expose him to the world’s largest storehouse of kryptonite.

In all of this, Diana is… where, exactly?

She didn’t feel inclined either to convince Clark that this was crazy or to go with him to help persuade Steve, whose motivation to aid the Action Ace would seem rather questionable?

In the midst of all this, has Vandal Savage decided to discontinue his attack on Metropolis and just hang out in his Stormwatch Carrier in order to give Superman a sporting chance?

When Clark and Diana were lying unconscious in the street, Savage seemed highly motivated to press his advantage, dropping Black Mass bombs on the City of Tomorrow and gathering up the last of the stolen superhero energies needed to power his slowly unfolding master plan.

What happened after that to allow Superman the luxury of hunting down Trevor at a candidate debate to win the A.R.G.U.S. agent’s trust by helping him capture the Kingslayer?

Story continues below

Do immortal caveman supervillains take extended coffee breaks just before conquering the world?

Superman #48

Credit: DC Comics

As with the artwork in Treatment, though, the individual increments are compelling and convincing, even if all the pieces do not fit together neatly and seamlessly. Yang continues to be a master wordsmith in all aspects of his craft, from exposition to dialogue to his lead character’s internal monologue. The exciting opening sequence has a lot to accomplish in four and a half pages, yet it fulfills all of its objectives, connecting this chapter to the previous installment, establishing the current state of the strained relationship between Superman and Steve Trevor, and explaining why the Metropolis Marvel has followed the A.R.G.U.S. agent to Central City. The scene is capped off when the demagogue J. Wilbur Wolfingham, after the day has been saved by the Man of Steel he just moments before had been bashing, sheepishly justifies his hypocrisy with the observation: “Well… yeah, but… he’s still Superman.”

The only part of Superman #48 in which the writing came across clunkily was the scene in which Clark’s welcome breakup with Diana was confirmed. What was intended to be Steve’s heartfelt emotional expression to his onetime romantic rival fell flat, felt false, and served only to highlight the inexplicable ongoing delay of Lois Lane’s long overdue return to center stage. Every bit as much so as the impending return of the Action Ace’s powers, the normalization of relations with the unjustly ostracized first lady of superhero comics is crucial to the genuine restoration of the Man of Steel.

The missing pieces are meaningful, but Yang’s assembly of those that are there is methodical. The wait is difficult, but patience is a virtue, and Superman teaches us virtue, so reader fortitude is in order. The message that the historic Man of Tomorrow is on his way back to the present is the most heartening news Treatment has to offer, and Yang underscores that encouraging bulletin with a closing wink at the audience.

Yang is putting it all back together, so the puzzle pieces with which the villain physically assails A.R.G.U.S. in Superman #48 serve as a useful metaphor. In the course of Treatment, a novel gloss is placed not only on such familiar elements as kryptonite, Wolfingham, and the Kingslayer, but also on another old foe, the Puzzler.

The principal villain of this issue initially appeared in 1942, in Action Comics #49. The final words of the Superman story published last Wednesday are these: “The story continues in Action Comics #49”. Gene Luen Yang, I see what you did there – and I like it.

What did you think of Superman #48?

Let us know your reaction by ComiConversing with us in the comments!

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

Gene Luen Yang continues to reinvent the resurgent Man of Steel in creative ways.

(Visited 553 times, 1 visits today)


  1. I just want to mention I’m very new to blogging and site-building and seriously liked you’re website. Probably I’m likely to bookmark your blog post . You definitely come with wonderful articles and reviews. Regards for revealing your blog.

  2. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  3. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

  4. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, let alone the content!

  5. My husband and i were really joyful that Chris managed to finish up his survey while using the ideas he had through your web page. It is now and again perplexing to simply possibly be giving out information which usually people have been trying to sell. So we know we have got you to give thanks to for that. The main explanations you made, the easy website menu, the relationships you can make it possible to create – it’s mostly exceptional, and it’s facilitating our son in addition to our family believe that the situation is brilliant, which is truly fundamental. Thank you for the whole thing!

  6. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  7. Emeryeps says:

    It is usually most suitable occasion to produce some plans for the long-term. I’ve scan this article and if I could, I desire to encourage you handful of unique recommendation.

  8. Healthy Life says:

    My husband and i ended up being really fortunate Ervin could complete his homework by way of the ideas he came across out of your site. It is now and again perplexing just to be making a gift of tactics people today may have been selling. So we figure out we have the blog owner to be grateful to for this. Those illustrations you made, the easy website menu, the relationships you will help promote – it is many fabulous, and it’s really facilitating our son and our family imagine that this situation is satisfying, which is tremendously fundamental. Many thanks for all the pieces!

  9. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your weblog. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

  10. IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  11. Automotive says:

    Simply wanna input on few general things, The website design and style is perfect, the content is real good. “If a man does his best, what else is there” by George Smith Patton, Jr..

  12. Science says:

    you are in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The web site loading speed is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a wonderful job on this topic!

  13. divorcemind says: is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  14. Law & Legal says:

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this web site. I am hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a good example of it.

  15. As the admin of this web page is working, no question very shortly it will be famous, due to its quality contents.

  16. is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  17. Gardenings says:

    I actually wanted to jot down a brief remark in order to express gratitude to you for all of the stunning items you are showing on this site. My incredibly long internet investigation has finally been paid with extremely good knowledge to share with my contacts. I ‘d tell you that many of us visitors actually are very lucky to be in a useful website with very many perfect individuals with very helpful principles. I feel pretty privileged to have discovered the web page and look forward to plenty of more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once again for all the details.

  18. Family says:

    Utterly indited articles, Really enjoyed reading through.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This