As Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason take a break to prepare for their next big story arc Keith Champagne has stepped in to fill the writer duties for the Superman ongoing series. For his arc Champagne has not held back in delivering something big as we see Superman clash with the Sinestro Corps, specifically Parallax and Sinestro. The last issue resulted in Parallax taking over and having complete control of Superman. Now that is something that we all know won’t sit well for the recently returned Sinestro. As Sinestro looks to reclaim his previous power before making his presence known to Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps regaining Parallax’s powers will be a major development for him. Will that happen or will the Parallax-Superman be to powerful to control? Let’s find out with Superman #30.
Writer: Keith Champagne
Artists: Ed Benes, Tyler Kirkham and Philip Tan
Colorist: Dinei Ribeiro, Tomeu Morey and Sunny Gho
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Parallax, now in control of Superman’s body, easily overpowers Sinestro and drives him through an abandoned building. As he does so Parallax mocks Sinestro for the things he thought him and being less than Parallax.
The Weaponers of Qward show up and use their numbers and weapons to help Sinestro knock Parallax out.
Underground Qward’s surface Sinestro has captured Parallax and Superman. Sinestro mocks Parallax for burying himself inside Superman’s subconscious.
Superman tries to reason with Sinestro but the villain does not want to hear anything from Superman. Sinestro explains that all he wants is Parallax’s powers inside of Superman to rebuild his Corps.
Sinestro then proceeds to begin the exorcism process to reclaim Parallax from Superman. As the process goes on Superman lives out all his greatest fears, including losing Lois to cancer and turning into a Doomsday-like creature that kills the Justice League.
He then begins to live out a life where Superboy turns on his father for not being there for their family in order to be Superman.
Superman yells at Sinestro that Parallax is not inside him anymore but Sinestro does not believe it.
Lyssa Drak tells Sinestro that he should take off his ring in order to draw Parallax out to him using his own fear. Sinestro believes this to be a ploy from Parallax and puts Lyssa Drak in an energy bubble.
Parallax suddenly attacks Sinestro, revealing he has taken over one of the Weaponers of Qward. Sinestro tries to attack the Weaponer but is stopped by Superman’s heat vision.
Parallax uses the opening to take over the rest of the Weaponers and turn them against Sinestro. Sinestro easily deflects all their attacks. Parallax uses the attacks as a way to escape. Sinestro and Lyssa give chase while leaving Superman behind unable to move.
After a few hours Superman is able to eventually escape his bindings and finds Sinestro fighting Parallax. Sinestro is unable to overpower Parallax and gets knocked out.
Superman takes his turn and allows Parallax to eat him. Once inside Parallax, Superman is able to use Sinestro’s a Yellow Lantern ring against Parallax. He then uses the power of hope and fear together with the ring to absorb Parallax in the ring.
Superman tells Sinestro that he will give the ring with Parallax in it to the Green Lantern Corps. Sinestro demands his ring back but Superman tells Sinestro to carefully think about his next move since the Weaponers heard what he said about them. Lyssa uses her powers to teleport herself and Sinestro out of Qward.
Superman tells all the Weaponers that they do not have to live in fear of Sinestro anymore. He goes on to tell them that they have the choice to do whatever they want with their lives.
Sometime later Superman returns home and finds Jon asleep. Lois thanks Clark for saving the kids from Paralax. Lois kisses Jon in the cheek. Clark tells Lois he’ll see her in the living room but right now he just wants to stand there and take a breathe. End of issue.
The Good: While he is from another world it is rare to see Superman have an adventure that crosses over to what is going on with the rest of the galaxy. That fact makes Superman #30’s clash between the Man of Steel and Sinestro so refreshing. It’s a match-up that we haven’t seen done to death and worked to re-establish two major players in the DC Universe.
What makes this fight between Superman and Sinestro work so well is how Keith Champagne characterizes them to be polar opposites. The way each character carries themselves is so different from one another that it made their dialogue much more powerful. Because while we did see a short fight between them it was the battle of how you treat others that made Superman #30 so fun to read.
Champagne does a great job with using this issue as a way to re-establish who Sinestro is as a leader. Since the character has been away there has been a lot of things that have happened to shake up the status quo of the Lantern Corps standing with one another. One of the big ones is how Soranik has fully embraced not only being the leader of the Sinestro Corps but has taken on the last name of Sinestro.
With those changes it was important for Champagne, as the one writing Sinestro first big adventure since returning, to show how the character does have an uphill battle in front of him. With this latest development of losing his ring and the power of Parallax, Sinestro is set-up to have his back against the wall with only Lyssa Drak to back him up. That situation may end up making Sinestro even more dangerous when he shows up next as he will be playing with a “nothing left to lose” mentality.
Superman #30 also does a good job in showing us what happens when Sinestro has all the advantages. Seeing how he mercilessly punished Superman and used the Weaponers of Qward like redshirt grunts was Sinestro at his best/worst. With Sinestro losing because of his approach in trying to reclaim Parallax it does put the question out there if he will go about a different way in accomplishing his goals moving forward.
Complimenting Sinestro’s actions was how Champagne used that to emphasize the inspirational figure Superman is. Being the one that inspires and brings hope to others is possibly Superman’s greatest power. Superman used that ability to great effect as he was possibly able to inspire the Weaponers of Qward to act for themselves finally. That would be a big change for the Weaponers, who have been nothing more than tools for Sinestro, and could lead to bigger changes in other comics, namely the Green Lantern titles.
Also, getting a glimpse at Superman’s greatest fear was a good way to highlight what is most important to Clark Kent. Though many of them had to do with not being able to be the Superman everyone needs, the ones that stood out was his fear of losing his family. It further goes to show how one of the things that has made this Superman series so engaging is the Kent family dynamic. The strength Clark finds in having Lois and Jon safe is what gives him his strength to push forward. That in turn made the conclusion have an even greater feel good ending to it.
Even though I normally am against an artist-by-committee comic, Superman #30 featured three artists in Ed Benes, Tyler Kirkham and Philip Tan that all had a similar look. Keeping that consistency in design was big as the artwork was able to enhance everything going on between Superman and Sinestro, rather than distract because of the distinct clash in art styles. That consistency helped in emphasizing the brutality Sinestro brought to the battle and the hope Superman used to defeat Sinestro and Parallax.
The Bad: While it did not hurt the overall enjoyment of the story it was odd to see how easily Superman was able defeat Parallax. Though Champagne did show us that Superman was able to overcome some of his fears it did not feel like enough for him to be able to control a Yellow Lantern ring. That moment just goes to highlight one thing that is a turn off when it comes to Superman as far to often his God-like powers are used to overcome everything.
It would’ve been better if we saw Superman defeat Parallax and Sinestro in a different way. Because in this way it did make it seem like it was an easy thing to control a Lantern Corps ring, which we know not to be the case.
Overall: Superman #30 was a good ending to a rare clash between Superman and Sinestro. Since Sinestro has not been seen in a while, Keith Champagne did a great job in re-establishing the character’s status quo and setting up an even bigger story for the character in the future. For his part, Superman was able to come out of this battle stronger as we saw how the power of his family kept him strong. Combine that by some strong artwork from the team of Ed Benes, Tyler Kirkham and Philip Tan, and we have a comic in Superman #30 that all Man of Steel fans will enjoy.