Publisher: DC Comics
Release: December 5th 2017
Issues: Superman (Rebirth) 20-25
I received a copy of Superman Vol. 4: Black Down from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Written by Peter Tomasi (known for Batman and Robin, The Outsiders, Green Lantern’s Blackest Night and Brightest Day) Superman volume four, Black Dawn has Superman back, along with his family, Lois and Jon. Tomasi’s writing is supported wonderfully by Patrick Gleason’s (Green Lantern Corps: Rechareg, Aquaman, Batman and Robin, Brightest Day) artwork, which is bright and flashy and pretty much exactly what I would hope for from a Superman comic.
In Black Dawn, Superman and son are joined by DC’s other famous father and son team; Batman and Robin (Damian Wayne). This was a refreshing surprise for me, especially because I’m a huge fan of watching characters cross-over and interact with each other. That being said, I know some fans don’t like this as much as I do, so they may not enjoy this volume as much because of that.
For those of you that are behind in what’s going on in Superman’s life, he, Lois, and Jon have settled in a lovely little town (can you even call it that?) called Hamilton. Fans of Hamilton and its townspeople (like Kathy and Farmer Cobb) probably won’t love what happens next with them – I know I didn’t. Though I did appreciate the risk they took, so that’s something.
So what exactly happens to sleepy little Hamilton? Well, it turns out there’s more than meets the eye with this town (and yes, I’m including Superman’s vision in that statement). The townspeople (many of whom aren’t actually…people) are being influenced by Black, who’s got them all thinking he’s trying to help Superman and Superboy and generally improve their way of life. It’s hard to say whether any of this would have been revealed (in a timely fashion that is) had Batman not done what he does best; stuck his nose where it doesn’t belong (Jon’s powers) and followed the trail.
I’ll admit I really didn’t like what was done with Kathy and Farmer Cobb – sure the little hints in the beginning of the volume were interesting (I liked the idea of them spying on the Kent’s for their own safety), but it got out of hand really fast. They tried to “reset” Kathy and Jon’s relationship back to normal in the end, but I don’t think I’ll ever see it the same way again.
On the bright side, everything that was done was done to further Superboy’s abilities, which is actually pretty awesome. If Batman is correct about Jon and how he’ll be stronger than his father, he has a right to be concerned (though I think he’s going about it in the wrong way – you treat people like villains and eventually they’ll become one).
Oh! One other shining moment for me came from Lois Lane herself. Seeing her wield a flaming Gauntlet was fantastic and somewhat unexpected. Seeing the surprise on the townspeople’s faces? Absolutely priceless.
I can’t wait to see what happens next in volume five. I’m curious to see how far they’ll go in getting the town back to “normal” or if they’ll let the secret just stay out in the open. I think the former will happen, but I could be wrong (though I think Kathy will continue with the plot they’ve started for her).