The Superman franchise has gotten off to a slow start with their Dawn Of DC direction. That is not a bad thing since the Superman franchise is in rebuild mode for the entire line. While not everything has worked the building blocks are there for the long-term future of the Superman franchise. Quickly the Superman series by Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell is the premiere title for the franchise. The first issue did everything you want from a first issue. Now how will they follow-up? Let’s find out with Superman #2.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Overwhelmed by the Parasite clones draining his powers Superman makes a run to SuperCorp.
Somewhere underground a group of mad scientist call out Dr. Pharm and Graft for unleashing Parasite on Metropolis and experimenting on Bizarro as that could bring Superman’s attention to them. Dr. Pharm and Graft show no concern about their choices.
At SuperCorp, Superman gets a message from Lex Luthor to break him out of prison so they can team-up to defeat the Parasite. Superman tells Mercy Graves what Lex told him and says he won’t do it.
Instead Superman contacts the rest of the Super-Family for help. Superman (Jon Kent), Supergirl, Super-Man, Osul-Ra, Otho-Ra, and the Steels quickly working saving people and create an ice wall around Metropolis to keep the Parasite clones from spreading across the world.
Jon tells his dad that he couldn’t find his mom.
Superman quickly rushes to the Daily Planet to find Lois Lane but instead finds a new hero named Marilyn Moonlight. After introducing herself, Marilyn Moonlight uses her powers to recharge Superman.
Newly charged Superman looks for Lois while ignoring Lex demands to break him out of prison to help.
Superman is suddenly attacked by Lois Lane and the rest of the Daily Planet staff that have all been turned into versions of Parasite. Using his x-ray vision Superman discover Parasite has evolved to be able to infect other people through the air.
Superman tells the rest of the Super-Family about what he learned. As he does Superman gets infected and starts being turned into a Parasite. End of issue.
Superman #2 is the shining example of what you want from a top title not just from the Superman franchise but for DC Comics. As soon as you open up this comic book the story has a big event feel. The crisis caused by Parasite has a large scale that truly challenges not just Superman but the entire Super-Family.
With how long Superman has been around its easy to say every story possible has been told. But that is what that response is: Easy. Part of the reason why the Batman comics continue to do well is that they aren’t just falling in the same infinite loop of superhero stories. We’ve seen the best comics in the Batman franchise be the ones that tackle different genres and how a world of superheroes and supervillains fits that tone. That is exactly what Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell do in Superman #2 as they take Parasite and naturally present him as a villain straight out of a horror movie. In doing so there is a tension created that we don’t normally see from a Superman comic.
Throughout Superman #2 what shines through is the chemistry Williamson and Campbell already have as a creative team. There is a trust with how the story of Parasite causing this city-wide power outage that we see. We see that from how Parasite clones are presented through all the darkness to the debut of Marilyn Moonlight. Williamson and Campbell work together with the writing and artwork, respectively, to make every scene pop off the page.
This direction for Parasite does a great job at invoking fear. Parasite was already one of Superman’s most dangerous villains. Not that he has the ability to not just clone himself but infect others to turn them into part of this Parasite army works to the horror villain vibes of the character in Superman #2. There are enough jump scare-type moments that make this the most dangerous version of Parasite we’ve seen.
By extension, this works to build up the credibility for the debuting Dr. Pharm and Graft. As knew characters Dr. Pharm and Graft need to have credibility built up to be a major threat. That is what Williamson and Campbell make sure to take the time to do. Its not a long scene with the cabal of mad scientist but its just enough to understand why Dr. Pharm and Graft should be viewed as major long-term threats Superman will have to deal with. Adding in how Dr. Pharm and Graft are drawing some inspiration from the mad scientist version of Lex Luthor as Dr. Pharm is cutting into Bizarro was well done.
Speaking of, Lex Luthor trying to use this Parasite crisis to convince Superman to break him out of prison is exactly what you expect from him. Lex won’t just go quietly and let him become forgotten because he is in prison. He already made preparations before being arrested so he could get out, as we saw in the first issue. Trying to leverage all the problems Superman is having with dealing with Parasite to argue why he should be set free is what makes Lex a villain you love to hate. Sure, he positions this as him trying to help but in reality Lex is only looking out for best for himself in the long-run and Superman knows this.
Which gets us into how Williamson and Campbell make great use of the current direction of the franchise with the entire Superman Family helping deal with the Parasite crisis. Even though Superman is the title character it does not mean this has to be a completely solo title. There is a new status quo for the franchise with the Superman Family finally working as a team rather than group of individuals. Jon Kent, Supergirl, Super-Man, Osul-Ra, Otho-Ra, and the Steels immediately responding to dealing with Parasite is the unity you want to see from this direction.
Having the entire Superman Family involved also elevates the story to feel like a big event. Specifically when it comes to the revelation that Parasite’s power has evolved so he can infect people through the air to turn them into clones of himself. Now the danger level of Parasite is even greater because as soon as this revelation is made we see Superman infected. This creates a lot of questions with how the Superman Family can deal with this turn of events.
This all makes the debut of Marilyn Moonlight even more intriguing. Williamson and Campbell do a great job giving the character a mysterious vibe. She makes it clear that she is a hero that Metropolis doesn’t know it needs. Her entire presentation is cool and leaves you wanting to learn and see more from her. With how things turned out in the end Marilyn Moonlight
Superman #2 delivers exactly what you want from the premiere series in a franchise. The crisis caused by Parasite comes across as a big event that the entire Superman Family must deal with. In the process we see more building blocks placed that build out the long-term future of the series.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10