(DC Comics, 2013)
Review by Heather Antos
Written by: Scott Snyder
Artwork by: Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen
Inks by: Scott Wiliams
Color Artwork by: John Kalisz
It’s been over two months since the last installment of Scott Snyder’s and Jim Lee’s “Superman Unchained” series, and boy was it worth the wait!
Lex Luthor is truly one of the greatest villains of all time, and Snyder’s take only exemplifies that fact. Superman Unchained #4 proves that less is more in a world where the villains are bigger and badder than ever - and they certainly are proving to be quite the match for our favorite Big Boy Blue Scout.
This issue unfolds with a chilling monologue by Lex Luthor as he holds Jimmy Olsen (of the Daily Planet) hostage somewhere deep within Metropolis; Superman and Wraith are located outside of Tokyo, still battling Ascension’s attacks; and Lois Lane has just landed a plane on an island in the middle of nowhere after Ascension shut everything down. Snyder gives us three unique points of view in this complicated mess of a world, and yet, they are all the same. And it is truly brilliant.
We’re told by Luthor that he finally knows how Superman will come to an end; and that it won’t be by him. Superman himself isn’t strong enough to defeat Ascension, and although Wraith is currently helping him (when last issue he was brought in to kill him) he warns Superman that one day, the world will ask him to end the Big Boy Blue once and for all. And Ms. Lane, while recovering from a plane that crash landed due to Ascension’s attacks, has discovered who is truly behind this world wide calamity - and it is closer to home that she would have ever guessed.
Jim Lee’s flashy pencil-work never fails to please the eye and Scott Williams colors mash perfectly for these action packed pages. Lee’s ability to draw the eye into every punch, every explosion, and even just a simple glance from his characters make this book a page turning thrill. And Williams gift with blending both warm and cool tones together to create both Snyder’s and Lee’s world does not disappoint.
Superman Unchained is so simple, and yet - at the same time - it’s extremely complicated. Snyder and Lee have proven themselves time and time again that they are a match to be reckoned with, and Issue 4 is no different. It is very rare that as a reader we find ourselves truly questioning for Superman’s mortality - but Superman Unchained #4 has the reader asking themselves that very question with a turn of a page.
Will Ascension prove to be too much for Kal-El? Will Lex Luthor finally defeat his named nemesis? And will Lois Lane be able to warn Superman in time to save everything?
Only time will tell. And I personally can’t wait for Superman Unchained #5.
Follow Heather Antos on Twitter: @HeatherAntos