SUPERMAN: UP IN THE SKY #4 / Writer: Tom King / Artist: Andy Kubert / Inker: Sandra Hope / Colorist: Brad Anderson / Letterer: Clayton Cowles / Cover Artist: Andy Kubert / Publisher: DC Comics / Published: October 2. 2019
Tom King and Andy Kubert have been telling the sleeper hit Superman story of the decade in each two-chapter issue of Superman: Up In the Sky, a story originally published in the DC and Walmart deal that deserves recognition as one of the best Superman tales ever. Even if almost every story is a cycle of “Superman shouldn’t be able to win, but he does because he’s Superman,” some substantial philosophy with King’s writing and some beautifully expressive detail with Kubert’s art makes that cycle work like a charm.
Going the Distance
The first story is a retelling of the classic Flash Vs. Superman race narrated by Alice, the little girl Superman has gone on an odyssey to save. It’s a beautiful story of hope where, even when the Man of Steel shouldn’t win, he does because people need him, followed by a haunting ending of a little girl still waiting for Superman to save her while slowly losing hope. Sadly, not a day later, every other comic site had an article on how the winner of this race was the definitive winner, which is just terrible because that was not the point of the story, but that’s also a gimme in nerddom these days. People arguing over who’s faster rather than paying attention to the true story of the issue: even when something seems impossible, you can still succeed, or at least believe in the person you want to succeed. Anyway, this was a great story with expressive art of two heroes racing and a menacing Lex Luthor that made this my favorite Supes vs. Flash story to date.
Man or Superman?
In the second story, Superman got hit by a space laser and separated into an entirely logical Kryptonian Superman and a mild-mannered human Clark Kent. We get the classic Man Vs. Superman debate on what really makes him a hero, his powers or his humanity. Both sides argue over whether should they save Alice, where the Kal-El side is arguing in the negative while Clark argues the positive. Meanwhile, they’re stranded on a savage ice planet the entire issue, highlighting the each side’s difference in power. Though this concept has been tackled before, King adds real detail to both aspects of Superman while Kubert does so visually. We all know what Clark looks like, but the cool Kryptonian suit redesign of Superman made me happy, too.
The Journey Continues
Next should be the final issue of this Superman epic, earning an insane amount of respect for being a great Supes story that doesn’t retell his origin (as most do) and was originally placed on a side shelf at select Wal-Mart Supercenters. Seriously, take time to read this standalone book and understand the hope Superman brings to people.
Verdict: 5 out of 5