Jyger’s Favourite 5 – 5 Favourite Moments of Superman Unchained
So, Superman Unchained sadly ended last week with its 9th issue…which was actually WAY past the original release date. And unfortunately, it kinda shows, what with stuff like Lex Luthor still being a villain in this, whereas nowadays he’s a member of the Justice League (no, seriously, Lex Luthor in the Justice League, that’s a thing now). Really, though, since Superman Unchained was telling its own self-contained story, it’s best read in a single sitting. Heck, I could easily see it made into an animated movie someday. So I DO get why it was only 9 issues in that case. It’s just, I would’ve loved to see Scott Snyder continue to write Superman, since he clearly gets the character and his supporting cast, and this book legitimately feels like a Superman story, which is sadly something that’s kinda rare nowadays.
With that said, one of the perks of the story being over is that I can re-read it and pick out some of my favourite moments and aspects of it. The ones that stuck out, the ones I missed for whatever reason and am catching on the second run-through, and so on. And, because some of these are from the newest issue, obviously, spoilers ahead. If you want to read Superman Unchained for yourself without prior knowledge of what happens, stop here, there’s no turning back. Otherwise, let’s go through my 5 Favourite Moments of Superman Unchained, starting with the one that made me realize just how much I frigging loved this book…
So a terrorist group called Ascension have taken control of a construction robot called Apollodorus, and used it to try and knock over the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. For those that don’t know, here’s a little trivia: The Burj Khalifa is the current record-holder for the world’s tallest free-standing structure, standing at 829.8 metres tall (2,722 ft), possessing 163 floors (plus 46 maintenance levels in the spire and two underground parking levels), and can easily house people in the tens of thousands at any given time. If this was the Golden Age and Superman could still only leap tall buildings, this would be one he’d likely crotch himself on trying to get over. 😛 Regardless, Superman arrives with only 19 seconds until the megatall skyscraper hits the ground, and even with his vast array of powers, his options are extremely limited. He can’t simply push it back into place, since it’d just break apart from the stress. Can’t reinforce the steel with heat vision and freeze breath, it’d kill everyone even remotely close to the glass. And the Apollodorus is still in the area, trying to keep his attention by beating down on him and knocking him into the water. So, with only four seconds left, he instead uses his superspeed on the water to create a huge water-spout, and then freezes it to keep the tower from hitting the ground. Scenes like this prove that Superman is more than just a flying brick, as we see him going through the various options and methods by which he could stop the tower from crashing and save everyone inside, and in the end, it’s only the most precise usage of just the right powers in his arsenal that manages to achieve his goal. I personally would’ve had each panel have a ticking clock instead of Clark’s narration telling us how many seconds were left, but that’s just me, and the sequence is awesome nonetheless.
One of the things that’s always important to remember about Superman is that he’s still first and foremost Clark Kent. A lot of people to this day, in writing Superman, tend to ignore his status as Clark Kent, and how he actually has his own ways of changing the world and inspiring people as himself, as Clark. Now, we see some good moments of Clark doing that in his new role outside of the Daily Planet, as a news blogger, but for me, the thing that stands out most is the flashback to his childhood we see in issues 5 and 9. Clark, after tapping into his ability to fly for the first time by catching a falling Lana Lang, returns home one day to find his mother held at gunpoint by a deranged neighbour who saw what happened. The man, Mr. Colder, proceeds to shoot Clark repeatedly with his shotgun, which of course does nothing to him except knock him to the ground, tear his shirt, and scare the crap outta him. But, when Mr. Colder believes that Clark’s mother would kill him to keep Clark’s secret safe and then plans to kill her first, Clark sends out a shockwave that knocks him across the barn, causing his already weakened heart to flat-line. However, even after what Colder had just done and tried to do, Clark can’t let him die, and manages to resuscitate him. We don’t see what happened next with Mr. Colder, but his expression suggests that he chose to keep Clark’s secret. And keep in mind, this is LONG before Clark ever considered donning the red, blue, and yellow (though mostly blue nowadays, since DC decided to do away with the perfect colour balance of his tights). This is Clark being a noble, heroic individual all on his own, choosing to save the life of a man who would’ve otherwise killed him if he had the ability, and in doing so changes Colder for the better.
Because this book shows Superman interacting with his allies a lot, we see Batman and Wonder Woman play supporting roles in this book. What’s great about their presence is that they both add their own awesome moments, but at the same time, they don’t detract too much from Superman, keeping the story centred around him and his conflicts with Ascension, General Lane, and Wraith. However, at one point in the book, they DO end up facing off with Wraith in the Batcave. Now, this moment is split into two parts, as to keep this at five moments, and because they take place with one more or less directly following the other. The first part is when Batman, doing all he can to slow Wraith down, first drops one of the Batplanes on them (and yes, I insist on calling them Batplanes for as long as there remains a character named Batwing), and when that doesn’t work, he remote activates ALL of the Batmobiles to crash into Wraith (which are thankfully insured…because Batman, lol). And as you can see from the photo above, he’s got plenty. But how can you possibly follow up something that awesome?
…Like that! 😄 In all seriousness, though, can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Wonder Woman is in a New 52 Superman comic, is kept in character, and the fauxmance is not referenced AT ALL? In fact, looking at this makes me realize, Scott Snyder has now written amazing stories for both Superman and Batman… … …Anyone else curious to see if he can make it 3 for 3? 😀
Okay, this one might seem like cheating, but after I failed to mention this in the last review, I really need to talk for a moment about how awesome Lois Lane is in this comic. Throughout this story, Lois is constantly involved in the conflict with the villains. She reports on the objects falling from space. She goes to meet with someone claiming to be from Ascension (and not too far from my neck of the woods, neither, right here in Maritime territory). She’s constantly put into danger and manages to get out alive. She stands up to her father at every turn. She SAVES Superman at one point. She manages to obtain an object that allows Superman to stop NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON, and not in the stupid way like in Superman 4! There’s even points of the story where we see hints of their mutual attraction again. It’s just so refreshing to see her play a big part in a Superman story again, and how she’s able to be her own kind of heroic and inspiring figure in her own way.
Finally, as I already mentioned in my previous review, throughout this story, we see the conflict between Superman and the character Wraith. We see how they’re similar, how they’re different, how they can be powerful allies, how they’re natural antagonists, and one hell of a final knock-down, drag-out brawl between the two…that somehow STILL manages to have less property damage and death than Superman vs. Zod in Man of Steel (I know, I won’t shut up about it, but it’s true). And yet, by the end, when the only way that Superman has to save the world from Wraith’s people is a move that would ultimately be a suicide run, Wraith ultimately takes his place, seemingly with no regrets. Why? Because for all his talk of how he believed Superman did things the wrong way, he was so moved by his determination and commitment to doing the right thing that it changed him, that he couldn’t stand to watch Superman die. And as I said before, that is the TRUE superpower of Superman: The ability to inspire others to make the absolute best of themselves that they can.
So, those are my 5 Favourite Moments from Superman Unchained. Got one that wasn’t listed? Lemme know in the comments below, and hopefully, someday, we can see another great Scott Snyder-written Superman story… … …Oh, and I also demand Scott Snyder’s Wonder Woman someday, possibly in the pages of Sensation Comics. lol Ja né!
Posted on November 10, 2014, in Comic Books and tagged Ascension, Batman, Clark Kent, DC Comics, Dustin Nguyen, General Lane, Jim Lee, Kal-El, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Scott Snyder, Scott Williams, Superman, Superman Unchained, The New 52, Wonder Woman, Wraith. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.