In this review of Superman #8, Sammy Stryker (The Chained) continues his tactile telekinetic attack on Metropolis as members of the Super-Family try to stop him. Superman (Clark Kent) must call upon his greatest enemy to help him defeat this foe!
Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Gleb Melnikov, Norm Rapmund, David Baldeon, and Jamal Campbell
Colors by: Alejandro Sanchez and Jamal Campbell
Main Cover by: Jamal Campbell
Variant Covers: Jamal Campbell, John Guang, Edwin Galman, Alex Salviuk, Jim Lee, Mike Deodato Jr.
Page Count: 20 pages
Release Date: November 21, 2023
This review contains spoilers
Sammy Stryker, The Unchained unleashed on Metropolis
A flashback begins Superman #8, as we see Sebastian Stryker, Lex Luthor and Carl Packard secretly watch a young Sammy Stryker (The Chained) as he is being told about his tactile telekinesis from a doctor. I am not too crazy about the art choices that are being made so far. With four credited artists on this book, there is no way to tell who pencils the book. Is Jamal Campbell the penciller and he has three inkers? Why are there so many? Usual signs point to getting a book in by the deadline whenever there are this many artists involved.
Next, we are in the present day where Graft and Dr. Pharm are trying to recruit The Chained into a partnership. They bring him up to speed on all of the horrible things Lex Luthor has done over the years. Already there are panels here where The Chained’s nose looks completely different. Dr. Pharm and Graft are physically challenged supervillains that I think Williamson is just getting started to play with. Dr. Pharm has a creepy charisma that is pretty awesome to see within a Superman book.
Supercorps and the Super-Family save the day!
Superman goes to Stryker’s Prison where Lex is being held in the infirmary after being stabbed multiple times. There was some temporary damage to Superman’s super-hearing so he was unable to help when Lex called for help. Okay. Here is where I was completely taken out of this issue. Lex is standing! He is up on his feet and running around after being deeply stabbed in issue #5. Leticia and Lena Luthor are also there by Lex’s side as the prison is attacked by The Chained. Superboy (Connor Kent) and Superman draw the villain away from the prison and back into Metropolis’s streets. Lex drops the bomb that this man killed his father and that is why Lex imprisoned him below the prison. How did they feed him? Was there a guard assigned?
The Chained drags Lex into the streets of Metropolis as Superman grabs a Super-Kryptonite suit from SuperCorp. With this he is able to subdue the villain before they capture him again. Whew. As Superman #8 ends, Superman is really badly injured by the Kryptonite.
Joshua Williamson is a skilled artisan of the long game. Read his lengthy Flash run for proof that he can keep a plot thread going for months and months. Here attention is focused on the fact that Lex Luthor is working side by side with Superman. Lex is calling out for him to save him. There is a whole cadre of supervillains suddenly popping up that Lex Luthor created during a time where he was Metropolis’s defender. I want to be convinced that Lex isn’t going to eventually betray Superman, but we all know it is going to happen.
I think that The Chained would have been more than a revenge seeking murderer if we could sympathize just a little with him. Williamson could have shown us the flashback to where Sammy Stryker actually kills his father. I feel as a reader there was more to the murder. Lex had to be pulling the strings to this event. Are we to believe that his evil came later? Joshua Williamson goes out of his way to show Dr. Pharm giving The Chained a review of all of the bad things Lex has done. I hope we see more of this villain just to get the back story. Otherwise, this will come across as a half-baked Stranger Things rip-off.
The cover to Superman # 8 is a pretty crowded one by Jamal Campbell. Superman is very sad looking as he is being held by massive chains. In the background of the cover is a strange red background. I am not sure if Jamal was trying to display The Chained’s tactile telekinesis power or not with this red background. There is no evidence in this issue that his power works like this.
Maybe Superman editorial wanted something other than the jungle of chains in the background surrounded by white? Jamal is the sole creator for the cover. There is no way that Superman looks trapped on this cover. He should just be able to pull the chain that is barely holding him and fly off. It kind of looks like the giant CHAINED! Logo is holding him down more than the chains.
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