The reason I fell in love with this series from the start was because of the general family feel. It started off as more of a family drama than a superhero title, setting it apart from your average mainstream comics. While I’ve still enjoyed the more intense story arcs as of late, I started to miss the quieter, optimistic tone that writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason started off with. So when I heard that a family road trip would begin for the Kents this month, I got excited.
Superman 27 features the Kent family going on vacation around the Independence Day weekend. It’s kind of weird that the guest star writer for Superman’s 26th issue happened earlier, delaying this one by two weeks, but whatever. It’s a trip that allows Clark, Lois and Jon to just have fun as a family. Along the way they do talk about serious issues – things that Superman stands up for in his superhero life. They talk about what they appreciate about the American constitution, the country’s history and some of its famous people.
As a Canadian I didn’t care as much for the American history aspect as some people would, but the writing does a very good job at keeping me invested. There’s one particular moment where they take a homeless war veteran to dinner with them, and that particular moment crosses barriers beyond one individual country. Veteran affairs is a problem all over the world – it’s particularly bad in Canada right now. To see Clark stand up for the veteran to a waitress who doesn’t want him in the restaurant shows how great Superman is as a character. Superman and Clark really are the same person, and in a lot of ways, Clark comes first. This is one of many things that separates a properly written Superman from Batman, and it’s highlighted perfectly in this moment.
Scott Godlewski’s art is great. When Jon starts exploring the RV rental, he’s shown several times in a panel, with motion blurs, emphasizing how a kid with super speed and a lot of excitement would behave. There’s a good amount of environmental detail, like close-ups on a grave that Lois shares a story about, statues that almost look like the real thing and the restaurant full with a variety of patrons. The facial expression are mostly smiled, but that makes sense for an issue like this. The best smiles are probably when Superman and Superboy use Niagara Falls as a water slide, because of course they would. I would too if I had their flight and invulnerability. Gabe Elataeb’s colouring is also great. The comic is bright and colourful, with shadow work that adds depth to the statues I mentioned before.
When a lot of comics are focused on either straight comedy or a lot of action, it’s nice to get a calmer comic like this that mixes family drama and fun. Beyond that, there are several moments that highlight what makes Clark such a great role model, and why he and Lois make such a great couple. Don’t pick this comic up hoping for an epic fight scene. If you’re a fan of Superman though, this is definitely worth a read. This is easily my favourite comic of the week.