Facing Horror with Virtue in Superman 29

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

Rarely does Superman venture into horror territory, and rarer still does it do so as successfully as in Keith Champagne and Doug Mahnke’s Superman 29. The duo take a story featuring child abduction, possession, and a generally dour and oppressive atmosphere — things I generally would find anathema to a good Superman story — and make them work by never compromising Superman as a character. In fact, while Superman is brave and dependable as always, Champagne and Mahnke dial up his virtue to exaggerated heights, the better to combat the strange darkness of the material.

But with so much of Rebirth Superman focusing on Superman’s relationship with Lois and Jon, it’s a bit strange to see them absent from a story seemingly tailor-made for the whole Superfamily. Superman does mention Jon in passing, but it’s an underdeveloped idea as outside of a brief inner-monologue towards the beginning of the issue he isn’t mentioned again. I can appreciate Champagne’s desire to explore ideas outside of the current scope of the book; I was mostly surprised by how deeply Lois and Jon’s absence was felt.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

One comment on “Facing Horror with Virtue in Superman 29

  1. I agree. I liked this story, but it felt like… hmm, what comes next isn’t an insult, but could be taken as one.

    It felt like a story that had been completed a while back and was sitting around waiting to be a fill for when an artist or writer or someone had a delay and they needed to jam something in for 1-4 months for everyone else to catch up. That leads to it being either a little bit vague in characterizations or missing characters that had been in every issue.

    (and, I look it up, and yes, this is a two parter without Gleason)

    So, a decent interlude that is Superman, but without the Supermannish stuff we’d been getting.

    I hope that’s not an insult to the creators.

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