In the lead story, Clark and Jon investigate an intergalactic breach as they examine the complexities of their relationship brought about by time apart. In the background, Amanda Waller does Amanda Waller things, which is likely good for nobody at all.
The backup story features an examination of what it means to be in Metropolis now that it is on the intergalactic stage through the eyes of our favorite everyman and bartender, Bibbo Bibbowski!
“The Golden Age” starts much like Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s Future State work with the Superman mythos by focusing more on character than event. The events of Brian Michael Bendis’ time with the characters– from the establishment of the United Planets to the time lost between Jon and his parents– are all in full play here but the energy of this issue is dominantly on the emotional fallout of those events. “The Golden Age” refers to the adolescent belief that our parents are infallible as we witness Jon see his father stumble for the first time. But interesting wrinkles are included because Jon is living now in a past that he is aware thanks to his time in the Legion. There are consequences at play here that lead to a remarkable character study and add exceptional depth to the narrative.
Hester and Gapstur bring a very clean style of artwork to the book that helps to accentuate the wholesomeness of the relationship between father and son. In the panel layouts, you can note interesting play with body language, keeping the weary (and worried) Jon in a position of distancing himself from his father. This stand-offedness portrayed visually lends an emotional punch to the already charged dialogue.
In the back-up story, Sean Lewis and company draft a tale of fan favorite (at least if you grew up in the ’80s/’90s like me) Bibbo Bibbowski. Similar to the backup stories Lewis did for Future State, Jimmy seems to be used as the central figure representing Metropolis at large, a role that the character is more than ready for. Here, Jimmy is seen reaching out to the people of Metropolis that make up the streets, beneath the golden sheen of the Daily Planet and sometimes blotted out by Superman’s enormous shadow. Bibbo is a hero of the people and this story focuses on an alien threat here to manipulate the people of Metropolis. In many ways, there is a striking similarity to discussions of manipulations of the people through spun media narratives that we see in our world. Bibbo’s manipulation is more complex than disinformation campaigns but the results are the same in the shaping of his story as a result of his experiences. Much more will come of this particular backup feature, I am certain.
Superman #29 is a heartfelt, emotionally impactful book from start to finish, focusing on the complex relationship between Clark and Jon as well as Metropolis and the rest of the universe.
Superman #29: But It’s Sure Nice Talking to You, Dad
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 9/10
Art - 8.5/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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