What would it be like to fly with the Man of Steel? Some very special children find out as Superman fulfills some unique wishes.
Superman # 39
Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Penciller: Barry Kitson
Inkers: Barry Kitson & Scott Hanna
Colorist: Gabriel Eltaeb
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Cover Artist: Chris Burnham & Nathan Fairbairn
Variant Cover: Jonboy Meyers
Editors: Paul Kaminski & Jessica Chen
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
For this issue of Superman, there is nothing you need to know in advance. This is a one-shot story not connected to previous continuity.
What You’ll Find Out:
The story opens with a man falling past a hospital window where a group of terminally-ill children are watching. Superman is fighting a bunch of old Green Lantern villains from the Eighties called the Demolition Team. Superman beats them and the kids’ cheer which draws his attention so he flies up to their window and says good morning. Then he speaks with the hospital staff…
Green Lantern uses his power ring to create a space shuttle which all the children board.
Superman lets the kids ask him questions about his superpowers. Then they all get to fly around in zero gravity. Lateef is afraid to unbuckle his seat to float with all the other kids because he fears his paralyzed legs will cause him to hit the others. But Superman reassures him he can do it and that he will protect Lateef. So, he joins the other kids and it fills him with joy.
As Lateef gets back to his seat, he tells Superman he’s sad his best friend Gail wasn’t able to join them as she died last week. But Superman tells him she is there with him in spirit. Then they arrive at the Justice League Watchtower where they’re welcomed by the whole team. Aquaman takes a couple kids to swim with dolphins. Wonder Woman lets them handle her bracelets and lasso. Cyborg shows them all of his weapons. Flash pushes Lateef in his wheelchair for a quick race at super-speed. Next up is a scavenger hunt…
The kids find all the items…
Lateef wins the scavenger hunt. When Superman asks him how he got Batman to smile for the camera, he says he told him a joke—to which Batman confesses that it was quite funny. Superman tells Lateef he’s won a special trip and Lateef asks if he can take all the other kids, too. Superman says of course. All the kids get in spacesuits, walk on the moon with Superman and draw their names on rocks they leave behind on the lunar surface. We close with them all staring up at the Earth and marveling at its beauty.
What Just Happened?
This was an old-fashioned comic book story which we rarely see anymore. It’s entirely self-contained requiring no one be familiar with any previous issue. Comparable to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s first 2 issues on Captain America for Marvel Legacy, there’s nothing convoluted or inaccessible here. This is a simple story about Superman being the Big Blue Boy Scout and helping some very sick children.
The art by Barry Kitson is classic work. It’s clean and elegant. The coloring by Gabriel Eltaeb is sumptuous as always.
The children in this issue are likely only going to be appearing just once so we’ll probably never see them again. Lois and Superboy don’t appear either. But that doesn’t change that this story was thoughtful and sweet. One of the things that we haven’t seen in a few issues on this book is the ardent connections of parent and child. But focusing on the Man of Steel just helping to make the lives of sick kids happier brought back that warmhearted tone.
Rating: 7.2 / 10
Final Thought: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason’s latest issue of Superman is a welcome return to form. The kindness and focus on children was missed. Barry Kitson does a good job illustrating this one-and-done issue. This is an old-school comic book that anyone can read and enjoy!