In this review of Superman #9, Superman recovers from near fatal Kryptonite poisoning and confronts the villainous Dr. Pharm and Mr. Graft to uncover the mystery of Marilyn Moonlight. It leads to a very interesting locale.
Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Bruno Redondo
Colors by: Adriano Lucas
Main Cover by: Jamal Campbell
Variant Covers: Bruno Redondo, Lee Bermejo, Michael Walsh, Nathan Szerdy, Mikel Janin. Special Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom variant by Mike Deodato Jr. and Jao Canola
Page Count: 20 pages
Release Date: December 20th 2023
This review contains spoilers
A Superman Fallen
As you turn into the contents of this book, you are exposed to a talent that I know is on the top tier of current comic book creators. BRUNO REDONDO! I vaguely heard the sound of trumpets blare somewhere off in the distance as I opened this book up. Unwanted tears swelled in my eye sockets as I beheld the first page. Lois Lane goes through four distinct emotions in the first four panels as she reads comatose Superman letters. Bruno (I hope I can call him Bruno.) is so deft in the subtle emotions of his character’s expressions. I am reminded of the golden days of John Byrne or the legendary Terry Moore and the ability to really convey emotion. Lois’s pain at seeing her husband’s condition is so well portrayed here.
Meanwhile, Perry White decides to pause his mayoral campaign while Superman is out of commission. I don’t know what one has to do with the other. This does, however, give Bruno an opportunity to draw a massive two panel page with a Superman mural on the side of an apartment building. Honestly, this could have been a silent issue and I wouldn’t have had any complaints.
Superman comes out of his coma, but is still feeling the effects of Kryptonite poisoning. He dons a suit of armor that was Lex’s and finds Marilyn Moonlight and Dr. Pharm. A melee ensues with Dr. Pharm’s wheelchair turning Transformer into the cover’s spider form. Dr. Pharm uses the Kryptonite Klaw to blast both Marilyn Moonlight and Superman thus seemingly vaporizing them.
This battle includes an incredible 13 panel page. The bottom six panels show a classic Bruno action progression. Essentially, it’s a large cityscape panel chopped into six pieces. Superman fights his way across these panels to reach Dr. Pharm. Just simply master class level storytelling from this creative team.
Living in The Wild, Wild West
We cut to the Old West and a train leaving Metropolis station. On this train are the DC Wild West characters Nighthawk and Cinnamon. These two have not graced the pages of a DC book in a long time. The two realize that the train is being attacked and they move out on top of the train to stop the robber. The robber is Superman?!
Bruno shows that he can play in the Western genre here as well as any modern setting. There is always a fluidity to his artwork that is really supported by Adriano Lucas’s colors. Devoid of penciled and inked lines on the panels to denote superspeed, the colorist manipulates the background. This is evident as Old West Superman hops onto the moving train. In the background, the clouds have gray horizontal lines on them and are compressed. It’s a simple, but effective trick to make it seem like Superman is on a moving train.
I can’t say how much I enjoyed the dynamic cover to Superman #9. Jamal Campbell is once again the cover artist and really improved from last issue’s ridiculous cover. Dr. Pharm is engaged in one on one combat with an armored Superman. Pharm has donned an imposing bejeweled armored spider body for the fight. I am warming up more and more to the delicious mania that Dr. Pharm brings to this book.
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