This review contains minor spoilers.
After the incredible “Multiplicity” arc, the excitement is high for the next big story, “Superman Reborn.” You just know that Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are gearing up to deliver another epic, so set your calendar for March 1st, 2017. In the meantime, Superman #17 serves as a standalone breather to the intergalactic action. Unfortunately, this is one issue that could’ve been cut out of the series completely, and no one would miss it.
So, get this: the book is called Superman #17 but it’s not about Big Blue. Nope, it’s actually a story about his son, Jon Kent, with Supes only appearing on the last page. Wait, the main character appears on a single page of his eponymous series? Huh? Don’t worry, I’m confused as well and had to check if I wasn’t reviewing the wrong title several times. In all fairness, Jon isn’t a little douche like his new BFF, Damian Wayne, but you do expect the Man of Steel to actually be the star of his own series.
If the lack of Superman wasn’t bad enough, the story is even worse. Jon is alone at home one night, when Kathy knocks on the door. She tells him that her cow Bessie and grandpa have disappeared, and she needs his help to find them. The two children head off into the night and encounter a variety of monstrous things and a paranormal house. Eventually, Kathy’s grandpa, with Bessie, finds them down a well – no one needs that noisy collie Lassie in 2017. Grandpa Cobb tells them that everything they saw is a result of the hallucinogenic fumes from the swamp. In other words, the kids got high and saw weird stuff.
Now, let’s get down to the important part: who the hell greenlit this story?! There’s a part where the children think the cow will drown them in her milk, I kid you not. Honestly, this feels like one of those stories written after a long night of boozing and binging of Troma films. It’s insane and makes absolutely no sense. Sure, the ending implies there could be more to it than meets the eye, but it’s a godawful story from Tomasi and Gleason. We expect far better from them than this tripe.
On a positive note, at least the artwork is decent. While it doesn’t exactly kick down the barn door, it does justice to this crazy plot. That said, if I was Sebastián Fiumara, I wouldn’t exactly rush to add this tale to my portfolio anytime soon.
Sadly, Superman #17 is the first misstep in this otherwise fantastic series. I’ve come to lower my expectations about filler stories, but this one is particularly bad. Reducing Superman to a mere cameo within his own book, this is a rather pointless issue altogether. When you purchase something bearing his name, you expect him to be a major part of it – not Jon Kent. That aside, it isn’t even a good tale about the youngest Kent. If you’re a fan of the latest Superboy, you’re best served checking out Super Sons #1 instead, which is far better.
Tomasi and Gleason's winning streak comes to a grinding halt on the disappointing Superman #17.