This week the game-changing “Truth” storyline continues in Superman, and the Ghost Racers reach the final lap!
Superman #44 (DC Comics)
The current “Truth” storyline in Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr’s Superman has been pretty slow going, but all that changes this month with Superman #44. Now that Clark’s secret has been let out, the latest installment in the game-changing storyline finds some of Clark’s most dangerous enemies striking out at his closest friends, an act that pushes the Man of Steel to his limits and causes him to lose some friends in the process.
With his identity no longer secret, it’s open season on Superman. And since many of his enemies know that they can’t hurt him physically, they go after his co-workers at the Daily Planet. Livewire, Atomic Skull, and a host of other Superman baddies (including Bat baddie Killer Croc for some reason) have the entire Daily Planet building under their control, and when they get Superman’s attention, things explode in a knock down drag out fight that never lets up.
Gene Luen Yang’s scripts have been lacking in the action department, but he more than makes up for it with this issue. If you’re like me and have been waiting for the fall out from Superman’s identity being exposed, you won’t be disappointed. Yang perfectly captures Clark’s anger about his friends being used to get his attention, but it’s the moment later on between Clark and Perry White that really seals this issue. The dialogue between the two is phenomenal, and the pain in Clark’s voice is almost heartbreaking.
Speaking of pain, John Romita Jr certainly brings that to the action scenes. While I’m still not the biggest fan of his current work, it’s pretty safe to say that this issue is the best of his Superman run. Jr Jr draws some killer action scenes here, and showcases the power of the Man of Steel beautifully. Sure, there are still some weird facial expressions and proportions, but for the most part, JR Jr. knocks this one out of the park.
Superman #44 is easily the highlight of this run so far. With all of the explaining out of the way it was great to finally see Yang and Romita, Jr. let loose with the idea of Clark’s enemies finding out who he really is. Honestly, if you’ve been waiting to check this book out, you should definitely pick this issue up. All you need to know is this: Superman’s enemies know who he is. Don’t worry about the previous issues. And speaking of them, looking back, I now see that as slow as they were, they were also to get us to this issue. Hopefully the next Superman is just as good as this one.
Ghost Racers #4 (Marvel Comics)
Honestly, the only reason I’ve been reading Filipe Smith and Juan Gedeon’s Ghost Racers is because I love Ghost Rider, specifically Johnny Blaze. And while the original Ghost Rider does make appearances in this miniseries, he’s not the main focus, so I’m not sure why I kept following this series in the first place. In a lot of ways, Ghost Racers is the follow-up to Smith’s All-New Ghost Rider, which found a new host of the Spirit of Vengeance in the form of Robbie Reyes, a local street racer. Well, that book ended a while ago, but Reyes still gets to star in the Secret Wars tie-in, which features every Ghost Rider that’s been seen in the Marvel universe in a “Roller ball” style death match. It’s been a cool premise, but the overall story has been a little underwhelming.
This issue finds Robbie Reyes returning to the Killiseum to rescue his younger brother from the “Spirits of Ignition”. Smith does a great job of showing Reye’s drive to protect his younger brother (he should, as it was a cornerstone of All-New Ghost Rider), but the focus on this causes other aspects of the book to take a second seat. As cool as it is to see the Western Ghost Rider and Danny Ketch all in one place, they’re not really used all that much, and the ending feels extremely rushed.
Juan Gedeon’s art has been a perfect fit for this miniseries, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Gedeon’s pencils capture the speed and carnage of the Ghost Racer arena, and he does a great job of highlighting the emotions swirling through Robbie. He also draws a pretty sweet Reyes Ghost Rider. I’m still not sold on the idea of a Ghost Rider with a Hot Rod, but seeing Gedeon’s depiction of Reyes surfing on the hood of his car goes a long way towards selling me on the idea.
Ghost Racers wasn’t an essential Secret Wars tie-in, but it also isn’t terrible. There are cool visuals and plenty of racing action, and fans of the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider should definitely pick it up. But at the end of the day, I was hoping this miniseries would show me more of the other Racers, and not just focus on one of them.
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