Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Scott Kolins, Aaron Kuder, Wil Quintana
Superman #31 Recap
Lois interviews an imprisoned Superman at an undisclosed location. He wants her to tell the world that he’s transforming and cannot be trusted. Lois uses her Brainiac powers and makes him hear the cries of the Teen Titans. Superman breaks free and flies off to help them. As the Teen Titans fight Detritus, Superman arrives in full force and leaves a crater where Detritus was standing. Knowing that something is very wrong with Superman, the Teen Titans fall back as Superman takes off again.
Another fast read with some good action sequences. The ending is very interesting and could open the doors to a very cool final showdown.
Plot Details and Spoilers and Deaths: Oh My!
In flight, Superman discovers that he’s starting to wield the same destructive effect as Doomsday — everything within a certain proximity of Superman burns and dies. Within moments, government bombers have found him and they attack.
Senator Sam Lane has stepped up his smear campaign against Superman and holds a press conference that is televised around the world. Labeling the Man of Steel as an enemy of the state, Senator Lane has Lois share her latest interview experience with Superman. Obviously still under the control of Brainiac, Lois lies and claims that Superman tried to kill her the moment she neared him.
Wonder Woman, in her London apartment, tries to get a hold of Clark, but reaches Lana Lang, in Smallville, instead. The two learn that the emergency phone number Superman gave the two of them was rigged, so that both Lana and Wonder Woman would reach each other if Superman was ever out of commission. Now, working together, Lana tells Wonder Woman that the coma patients in Smallville are sending electrical signals into space. Lana thinks that there’s a connection between Smallville’s incident and Superman’s current condition.
Unexpectedly, Metallo awakens from his stasis chamber early and breaks out. Lois steps in and stops Metallo from causing more havoc at the facility. She reasons with him and tells him that he’s being offered a job and it’s within his control to accept or deny it.
Steel finds Superman in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Superman has come here because it’s one of the few places on Earth that has a sparse amount of life. But he points out that his Doomsday influence kills even the microbes and insects around him. Steel offers to take Superman to the moon and encase him in organic steel until they find a cure. Superman goes further and offers up the controller to the Phantom Zone Projector so that he can be sent through if things go wrong. As the two shake hands, Superman’s Doomsday persona takes over forcing Superman to attack Steel.
Quickly recovering, Steel is contacted by Luthor who warns him that Lane has commandeered an attack airship from the S.T.E.E.L. facility and is on its way to engage Superman. Steel flies off to stop the airship. His pleas to Senator Lane are met with stubbornness. As the airship, piloted by Metallo, nears, we see that Lois is his source of encouragement. Steel approaches the airship and notices that its being powered by the Atomic Skull. Steel smashes one of the wings with his hammer. His plan is to pull the Atomic Skull out with his electro-magnets, but the Atomic Skull surprises and blasts Steel. Luthor then implores Superman to leave as Superman watches the falling ship from a distance.
Against Luthor’s wishes, Superman uses his x-ray vision to get a better look at the inside of the airship. He discovers that the airship is carrying aerosol-form Kryptonite compressed into tanks and the plan is to have Metallo suicide-bomb Superman. Tearing into the airship, Superman reveals to Metallo Senator Lane’s plans. Metallo feels the sacrifice is worth it and that Lois had “shown” him that Superman poses a threat to her. At that moment, Metallo grabs Superman by the neck and sets off the Kryptonite bomb. The explosion kills Metallo and throws Superman into the ground where he forms a giant crater. Steel goes to help Superman, but Superman flies off in a thunderous boom. Luthor reveals that the Kryptonite bomb only weakened the part that was still Superman — allowing the Doom part to take over.
Wrapping It Up
This whole issue was about escalation. It started off slow, but still had some great conflicts. The story kept building up to a great ending which opens up some new possibilities. When I got to the end, I couldn’t help but think that they might be setting up a Superman III junkyard-like showdown between Superman and whatever he has become. I’m actually quite excited about the ending. One of the other aspects I very much enjoyed was how Luthor was written. His attempts to reason with Superman gave Luthor a bit more depth. But this issue is not without its faults. Although the Wonder Woman / Lana Lang partnership is a good dynamic, I found the dialogue between the two of them to be a bit clunky and immature. Nonetheless, a solid issue that’s worth reading.