Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
Despite my current technical difficulties I’m going to try to at least to get the feature article up when I can access my dad’s computer. (I can’t do anything with the tablet. Even watching YouTube is a chore.) And I don’t want this book to go through the same long hiatus I had with 2016’s review of Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire.
I also read the chapter before writing this intro rather than after like usual because it was easier under the circumstances. So I know this one actually has a fight between two of the Supermen, and yet another addition to the roster. So far we’ve had The Kryptonian, Cyborg Superman, Man Of Steel, Don’t Call Me Superboy, and Bibbo. This last one is probably the one me most anticipated, but his introduction was kind of done wrong.
Chapter 23: Reign Of The Supermen part 5
For one thing the reveal is right at the start of the chapter, but I’m going to wait until closer to the end to build the suspense a bit. Instead the focus of this chapter is what I’ll start with: The fight between Man Of Steel and The Kryptonian. I’ve stated before that our murdering visor-wearer didn’t act like Superman but was more than willing to attempt to claim the name. Now he gets called on it by both Lois and Man Of Steel. In both cases it’s questionable how long it lasts. Remember, I haven’t read the original comics that this book adapts beyond Superman’s actual death, so whether this is supposed to speak to the Kryptonian’s character or inconsistency between the writers of the four individual books. We’ve seen one or two other occasions where the Kryptonian questioned his more violent responses, including a GBS (read Morgan Edge) operative trying to serve a lawsuit on both of them, allegedly on behalf of Superboy setting him off again. It just doesn’t seem to be sinking in and staying. Considering how close we are to the end of story that’s rather disappointing.
And we are close, as Mongul receives a communication from someone we aren’t made aware of. It feels cryptic enough that it’s kind of important but not overtly so. Or maybe just because I know who he’s working with. He’s heading for Coast City, which The Kryptonian is also heading for, looking to move there and leaving Metropolis to Man Of Steel.
Speaking of whom, Man Of Steel is being interviewed by a WLEX reporter, and of course Lex seized the opportunity to try to get his own piece of the Supermen pie. (If it came down to Lex versus Morgan I’m not sure who to root for.) This includes leading John to his first big lead to finding the guys behind the Toastmasters and a place to get repairs after the fight with the Kryptonian led to Sierra Nevada desert. Of course he’s trying to learn about John’s armor, which he’s smart enough to avoid, and to learn who he is, which Lex gets lucky on with the footage from the Toastmasters’ seller in Metropolis. This part of the story is told through that framing device, which is understandable for the book but I bet was more interesting to read in full action in the comic.
There’s also another nice character moment as John and Martha discuss not only all the fake Supermen but what Supergirl has been up to.
However, this chapter really shouldn’t have started with such an obvious reveal that the original Superman getting resurrected. And it’s not even a good job of hiding the fact. Apparently it happens in a hidden section of the Fortress Of Solitude. The fortress Superman built himself to work in safety, reconnect with parts of his Kryptonian heritage, and have a little “me time”. Why is there a hidden section? If the robots were trying to bring the Superman back to life, what’s with The Kryptonian, who other robots were treating as THE Superman? I know there’s only six chapter left but it’s not the dramatic reveal I would have wanted.
So outside of that and the other Kryptonian seeing the value of life every five seconds and forgetting every two this was a good chapter, and it seems to be building up to an interesting finale. We’ll learn more next time. Whether I’ll have my computer back by then…that’s the real mystery.
Next Time: Reign Of The Supermen part 6