As "Endless Winter" rages on, at last we begin to glimpse the origin of the Frost King...
In present day, as the ferocious winter storm rages, Superman does all he can to protect the world. But even Superman is just a man... and even a Man of Steel can have his doubts.
Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is a read with surprising emotional depth. For all the wham-bang superhero punch-’em-up this story has yielded so far, it’s not only refreshing but genuinely surprising to read an installment that carries the weight that this does. And although the notion that the Man of Steel is at his core still just a man isn’t a revelatory one, it’s an essential piece to who Kal-El is. Too often, writers seem to forget that about Superman, but seasoned vets Andy Lanning and Ron Marz know exactly how to write for the Last Son of Krypton. Superman may be the strongest being on Earth, but he is prone to the same insecurities as anyone else. Faced with a seemingly insurmountable worldwide crisis, even he must take time to shore up his faith, pause, and seek counsel from his parents. (The scene with Ma and Pa Kent sparkles with fantastic interpersonal dynamics, including Ma scolding Superman for being just a tad short with his father.) There’s also a fine scene between Clark and Lois (whose Daily Planet article narrates the story) to round out the touchstones in Superman’s life.
Perhaps more crucially, though, we at last begin to glean some insight to the Frost King’s backstory. It’s both fascinating and touched with tragedy, meaning that despite initial appearances to the contrary, Frost King may yet become a villain with enough internal life for readers to care about. As they say, to be continued.
The art is a little more of a mixed bag, though. Marco Santucci absolutely shines in the flashback sequences detailing the Frost King’s origins. His art is detailed and ominous, with lush coloring by the stunningly talented Arif Prianto. However, it’s contrasted against Phil Hester’s blocky style in the modern-day sequences, and that contrast stifles the story flow a bit. Although Hester – with trusty colorist Ande Parks in tow – is a fine artist, with over two decades of solid work behind him, the sharp differences between the two artists’ styles winds up having a reductive effect on Hester and Parks’ work. That’s no fault of Hester’s, though there’s no good reason that either artist couldn’t have just drawn the entire comic. As it is, the difference in clashing styles is jarring. A slight misstep in an otherwise standout comic, Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is beginning to show that this story has legs indeed.
Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 (@AndyLanning @ronmarz @philhester @MSantucciArt) hits an emotional highpoint for the Man of Steel, bringing some gravitas and weight to the story thus far.
Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 (ENDLESS WINTER Pt. 3): Hope Amid the Storm
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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