Written by: Patrick Gleason & Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Travis Moore, Stephen Segovia, Art Thibert
Colors by: Dinei Ribeiro
What’s this about?
In this issue, Superman fights multiple threats, both Lex and the people of Apokolips, before facing Kalibak the leader of Apokolips. Granny Goodness shows off some muscle. Super Boy befriends a pack of armored dogs that help him find his parents. But can Superboy save his parents from Kalibak and Granny Goodness?
The story begins with Lex and Superman escaping from Ardora and her people who tried to anoint Superman king in the previous issue. The group wants to kill Lex. Superman asks Lex an important question, “You planned this?” In the previous issue Lex returned to Apokolips and transported Superman, Lois and Jon there, as well. Superman fights with Lex who wants him to wear a helmet. Lex demands to be in charge of where they go. Fires burn all around Superman and Lex and their enemies are hot on their tail. The dialogue in this sequence is clumsy and not interesting. Lex and Superman fighting over control does not excite me as a reader.
The story transitions to the most interesting cliffhanger from the last issue. Jonathan appears to have eluded the armored men and dogs that were chasing him. Jon’s internal monologue catches the reader up on the events that got him to where he is on Apokolips. He enjoyed dinner with his mom and dad then a walk in a park before being transported to Apokolips after a fight with some of Lex’s robots. At this point in the story, Jon is climbing a cliff and his pursuers barbecuing a dog for food.
The story transitions to his pursuers who conspire to dethrone Kalibak,. They consider joining Granny Goodness and the Furies to fight Kalibak. However, they don’t want Granny to become their ruler. The men are killing another dog to eat it for food when Jon intervenes. Flying overhead with red eyes blazing radiant heat down upon them, Superboy attacks. “I’d rather eat school food.” The statement is relatable and funny. Jon defeats his enemies with heat rays and cold breath. Afterword, Jon consoles the dogs he saved. A panel shows the dogs huddled together, licking each other, which for Jonathan reminds him of his family who is currently scattered on Apokolips. The dogs help Jon find his family. Jon demonstrates courage and independence during this sequence defeating the group of armed men. It’s Jon’s perseverance that drives my the interest in this story.
The story transitions back to Lex and Superman who are ambushed by Kalibak while they are arguing with each other. He blasts them with a lightning bolt which knocks Lex out and leaves Superman disoriented. Kalibak captures and bounds Lex and Superman who are helpless witnesses to his evil plan. He forces a group of men to use the “Chaos Cannon” toward the “Fire
Pits.” The men refuse and Kalibak’s advisors tell him that it’s too dangerous. Kalibak resolves the issue by forcing Superman to go into the Fire Pits as he plans to fire the Chaos Cannon. Superman cautions Kalibak that he should listen to his men. The story sets up a significant cliffhanger during this sequence. Is Superman powerful enough to defeat Kalibak and his men?
Granny Goodness and the Furies approach while Kalibak is implementing his plan. Superman responds, “You and your hens are not welcome here, Granny.” It’s an interesting choice of words by Superman. Kalibak and Granny exchange verbal barbs each claiming to know the way to find Darkseid. Granny slugs Kalibak. He gets up and shouts, “This is war!” A panel shows Lois running from the Furies toward Superman, “Clark!” Lois urges Superman to help her find Jon. Superman, instead, prioritizes stabilizing the planet. He knocks Kalibak into the Chaos Cannon in one shot. Kalibak, thinking that Superman wants his throne, ignites the Chaos Cannon into the Fire Pit which has devastating effects. The sun explodes leaving the planet dark and cold.
The next panel shows an unconscious Superman being held by Kalibak. Granny yells, ”What have you done?” The story ends with the image of Jon riding an armored dog and its pack down a ridge toward Kalibak, “Let my mom and dad go!” The courage of Super Boy maintains me throughout this story. Will this be a coming of age moment for Super Boy? Can he match Kalibak? And, who’s side is Granny Goodness fighting on? I can hardly wait to find the answers to these important questions.