Superman #20 Review

comic books:
Sergio Pereira

Reviewed by:
On April 5, 2017
Last modified:April 4, 2017


In Superman #20, Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason create a wholesome, fun story that explores the mystery of Superboy's developing powers (or lack thereof).

Superman #20 Review


This review contains minor spoilers.

After Action Comics #976, everything is now right in Clark Kent’s world. He and his family are whole again and all the missing gaps are filled. Ha, you really believed that, didn’t you? Put on your detective glasses because Superman #20 introduces a brand-new mystery to solve: Jon Kent’s developing powers (or lack thereof).

Chapter one of “Black Dawn” begins back in Hamilton County with the Kent family. They appear happy, living like a normal family – even if ‘normal’ is Superman flying over the farmlands. One evening, Batman and Robin arrive unexpectedly, interrupting their peace. The Dark Knight tells Clark that the tests he conducted on Jon have come back inconclusive. While the boy appears biologically healthy, something is holding his powers back from fully developing.

According to Bruce, Jon should be even more powerful than his father. He believes that there are environmental factors at play and asks what the boy eats. Lois says nothing out of the ordinary and mentions the milk from Bessie, the prize-winning cow from Mr. Cobb’s dairy farm. Something about that sets off the Caped Crusader and he heads off to the dairy farm, where he encounters Bessie and a strange entity from her milk that covers him in its entirety. The chapter ends with an unknown person telling Bessie that Batman won’t hurt her anymore and they’ll put him with all the others.

Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi turn down the notch in Superman #20. It’s a calmer and more relaxed affair than the emotionally charged “Superman Reborn.” In fact, with the appearance of Batman and Robin, this issue feels more like Super Sons than a regular Superman book – and that’s not a bad thing. There’s something extremely wholesome and fun to this “Black Dawn” storyline that fans of all ages can relate to and enjoy.

Additionally, I appreciate how simple and easy to understand the writing and plot are. We’re not given a scientific explanation about what’s wrong with Jon, but rather a straight-to-the-point answer. With the Mulitverse, Crises on Infinite Earths and other mind-boggling concepts that require various handbooks, things can get nuts in DC Comics, so it’s good to see the writers favor simplicity over complexity here.

Doing double duty, Gleason also handles the pencils for the issue. As I’ve said before, I find his art to be definitive to the tone of this series. When I think of Rebirth’s Superman, I see his artwork in my mind. His style is easy on the eyes and feels more like animation art than comic book illustrations. Moreover, you can’t help but smile at his not-so-subtle tributes to Batman artists of years past with this Dark Knight poses here.

Superman #20 is another quality issue from Gleason and Tomasi. It might not be the top-selling book in the DC catalog right now, but it’s arguably the one that delivers the best combination of storytelling and art. It’s safe to say that the Man of Steel is in good hands here, and the future looks bright.

Superman #20 Review

In Superman #20, Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason create a wholesome, fun story that explores the mystery of Superboy's developing powers (or lack thereof).

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