The Multiplicity arc comes to a close in this issue, but not without the promise that its story will come back, potentially bigger than before.
Superman 16 starts where the last issue left off, with the main Superman in the clutches of a mysterious enemy who’s been capturing Supermen from across the multiverse and stealing their powers. This enemy, called Prophecy, then throws a depowered Superman into a pit along with the others. While he gives the other depowered heroes a nice speech about hope, and finally meets another Superman from the China of his world, the interdimensional group of heroes work their part of the plan to track down Superman by following a unique music machine. Just like Superman did in the previous issue, Red Racer is willing to sacrifice himself to speed up the group’s plans. It’s hard to talk about the plot without spoiling it, but the plan works, resulting in a huge fight to cap off the story.
Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason handle the writing, and it’s great. The story is fun first and foremost, but there are a couple dramatic moments thrown in. Even though we barely know Red Racer (if you’ve only seen him here), his sacrifice feels like it means something, and you can tell that it hits the rest of the interdimensional team hard. The conversation between Superman and his Chinese counterpart to end the issue is a quick but nice moment with the right touch of humour. The ending teaser is creepy in all the right ways. Also, the “Next: got milk?” teaser has me very curious about the next issue.
Tony S. Daniel and Clay Mann handle the art, and it’s great. Prophecy is appropriately huge and menacing looking, with flames coming out if his head as if it’s his hair. When Superman is drained of his powers, he looks exhausted, with blue smoke coming off of him. Even through his fatigue, he’s determined enough to give Prophecy an angry look before he’s thrown in the pit. Without spoilers, Red Racer’s sacrifice is handled perfectly through the art in pretty much every way. The fight scene is also great, with a wide variety of different looking Supermen, including the random muscular bunny, fighting Prophecy all at once when they get their powers back. It’s a glorious fight that flows well. I might be wrong, but from what I can tell, Clay Mann only draws the final page spread, but the dark, murky style matches the mood of the teaser scene perfectly. Dinei Ribeiro’s colouring is also great. Prophecy’s world has an overall red glow, while the House of Heroes is bright and colourful. Perhaps the best colouring moment is when all the Supermen and Superwomen get their powers back though, when everything turns bright blue for a couple panels.
This is a fun comic, and I can’t think of a single complaint about it. The story moves fast, but it’s easy to follow and there’s room for a couple dramatic moments. The fight scene with a bunch of interdimensional heroes is simply glorious. Last but not least, the ending teases a much bigger story to come. While Multiplicity doesn’t have the same family drama that made the first 13 issues of this series so delightful, it’s fine to take a break from that on occasion to have a pure superhero story. I highly recommend this story arc, and this series, to Superman fans.