Title: Superman: Up in the Sky.
Writer(s): Tom King.
Penciller(s): Andy Kubert.
Inker(s): Sandra Hope.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson.
Letterer(s): Clayton Cowles.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: April 21st, 2020.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Heroes come and go. They sacrifice a bit, or all of them, to achieve something that will put a smile on another’s face. But whatever happens to them, they will always leave something behind. Whether it’s a little impression from far away or a life-changing event that directly implies them, heroes see themselves immortalized in the memory of those who witness them in action, sometimes even becoming legends who will go down in history as symbols of a society’s identity. However, within all heroes are emotions fundamental to their personalities. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t human, it is through their actions and their ability to communicate that we identify them as heroes. And sometimes, there’s a toll far too great to ever describe that comes with being a hero. Award-winning writer Tom King (Batman, Mister Miracle, The Sheriff of Babylon) teams up with legendary artist Andry Kubert (Flashpoint, Batman: The Dark Knight III: Master Race) to explore Metropolis’s greatest hero and the lengths he’d go to to save a single little child.
What is Superman: Up in the Sky about? Following a home invasion in Gotham, Batman requests Superman’s help in solving a mystery that no one has time for: who kidnapped a young girl and flew away with her off the planet? Despite being busy in Metropolis with large-scale and crisis-level problems on a daily basis, his mind continuously goes back to this missing girl who might be lost and incredibly scared alone out in the galaxy. As he convinces himself that no life can be ignored, his moral dilemma leads him on an adventure like none other, looking for answers that will help him bring back this girl to her home on Earth. But, at what cost?
Although writer Tom King will probably mostly be known for his contribution to Nightwing and Batman’s characters, he has also dipped his toe occasionally in portraying a fairly impressive and memorable Superman. His ability to deliver one of the best bromances between Superman and Batman also highlights his understanding of their relationship, mostly through the Man of Tomorrow’s character. This time around, for the first time ever, he is even given the opportunity to explore the iconic hero in a brand-new and original stand-alone tale. In that optic, he looks to highlight Clark Kent and Superman’s most humane traits as they ponder one of the hardest questions that any hero has to ask themselves on a daily basis: is one life worth as much as the life of many?
While it is an intimate tale that only really succeeds in its execution upon reaching the final act where emotions are discretely solicited from the reader, the keyword associated with most of the journey is “bizarre”. As Superman struggles to decide what he will do about this lost girl, he ultimately finds himself convinced that his life is meaningless if he cannot save those who need help. He then goes on to merge his conscience with a terrifying source of data which hence allows Tom King to present various short stories of all kind where Clark Kent and Superman have their very existence challenged. From a boxing fight with Mighto to a war mission gone awry, there is very little context given to the reader but still allow enough substance to understand what makes Superman, Superman.
Although the ending has to convince the reader, there is an inspiring trait that can be noted through the artwork completely delivered by artist Andy Kubert. Through stunning splash pages and meticulous attention to detail, especially in his ability to convey powerful emotions in his characters, he succeeds in captivating the reader in a trance similar to what Superman suffers throughout the story without losing the reader in the sequences that are harder to understand due to their lack of context. The bold and contrasting colouring executed by Brad Anderson, on top of Sandra Hope’s inking, also gives a familiar yet refreshing tone to the overall tale. The graphic novel thus gains immensely in the synchronized execution of both story-telling and artwork.
Superman: Up in the Sky is an eccentric yet heartwarming character study of The Man of Steel as he puts his life and values on the line to save a little girl from danger.
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!