Superman #21 Review

comic books:
Sergio Pereira

Reviewed by:
On April 19, 2017
Last modified:January 24, 2020


Despite the positives, "Black Dawn" is turning into a Jon-centric affair. Is it necessary to feature Clark's son so much in this title?

Superman #21 Review

Superman 21

This review contains minor spoilers.

With several other titles dealing with the aftermath of “Superman Reborn,” Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Superman attempts something different. The writers decided to include Batman and Robin in this arc titled “Black Dawn” and explore family ties. It’s an all-star cast and there’s a lot to get excited about here, but is it a good idea to turn this title into the Jon Kent show?

Batman has gone missing, so Clark, Jon, and Damian head out to find him. As they search for the Bat, they come across the giant squid from way back in issue #2. Supes tells the kids to stay put and does his best to protect the bystanders from the ocean monster. When it breaks free, however, Jon uses his heat vision on the creature. The crowd cheers for Superboy, but his father is not too pleased with his son’s reckless actions.

Clark has the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” spiel with Jon, and then heads off on his own to look for Batman at the abandoned house near Deadman’s Swamp. Damian pesters Jon for them to follow, but the two get into a squabble about it. Out of nowhere, Kathy appears and uses some kind of Force choke to restrain Damian. The story closes with Kathy keeping Jon’s powers at bay and mentioning a “he” who’ll keep them safe, as Superman walks into the creepy abandoned house.

Tonally, the issue is reminiscent of the earlier stories in this series where Clark imparts fatherly advice and there’s a moral lesson to be learnt. There’s a wholesome, good-natured feel to this book, which is something that should please fans of the Big Blue Boy Scout’s “take your vitamins and say your prayers” outlook. In fact, it’s such a clean book that you could prepare your dinner on top of it.

That said, this is another Jon-centric chapter to the story. There’s no doubt that Clark will play a pivotal part here, but the constant inclusion of Jon in every arc is getting a bit too much. Does anyone remember what happened the last time a superhero’s son was forced down our throats? The audience disliked Damian for a long time and it took years for Bat fans to finally warm up to the little rascal. Jon runs the risk of going down the same route here because of constant and unnecessary overexposure.

On the art front, Gleason’s penciling brings all the eyes to the yard. His illustrations are given the full-house treatment by the superb art team, who conjure up a vibrant and colorful issue that’s easy on the eye and appealing to all ages. The look of this book is quickly becoming a highlight of Rebirth and tantamount to Supes. Don’t be surprised if Gleason’s style becomes known for bringing Superman to a new generation in the near future.

While it’s a decent tale, I’m still not convinced “Black Dawn” is a Superman story. As I said before, this arc suits Super Sons far better than it does the Man of Steel’s main title. Action Comics seems to be where the action – pardon the pun – is happening at the moment.