Superman: The Last Son by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner

details
Title: Superman: The Last Son.
Writer(s): Goeff Johns & Richard Donner.
Artist(s): Adam Kubert, Eric Powell, Arthur Adams, Eric Wight, Joe Kubert, Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, Rags Morales, Mark Farmer, Tony S. Daniel, Gary Frank, Jonathan Sibal & Stéphane Roux.
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart, Edgar Delgado, Alex Sinclair, Lee Loughridge, Joe Kubert, Pete Carlsson, Jeromy Cox, Brad Anderson & Karine Boccanfuso.
Letterer(s): Rob Leigh, Nick J. Napolitano, Travis Lanham, Phil Balsman & Joe Kubert.
PublisherDC Comics.

Format
: Hardcover – Deluxe edition.
Release Date: March 9th 2021.
Pages: 288.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779509116.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

thoughts

It’s truly agonizing to find yourself in a foreign environment where you’re often reminded that you don’t belong. Despite doing your best to fit in, to convince the people around you that you only wish for their well-being, you sometimes just can’t help feeling alone deep down. For one superhero, his arrival to Earth allowed him to be with people who looked like him but remained internally segregated by his unbelievable powers that humans could only dream of. However, when he finally meets someone like him, he can’t help but feel appeased that he might not be the last of his kind in the universe, that he might not be the last son of Krypton. In a never-before-seen team-up, writer Geoff Johns (Flashpoint, Blackest Night) joins forces with famed film director Richard Donner (Superman: The Movie, Lethal Weapon) to write a Man of Steel story alongside artists Adam Kubert (Wolverine, X-Men) and Eric Powell (The Goon).

What is Superman: The Last Son about? Believing to be the sole survivor of his native planet Krypton, Clark Kent went on to live his life as an outstanding yet klutz investigative journalist and, when trouble arises, as the Man of Steel for the citizens of Earth. It is the sudden descent of a rocket crash-landing into the middle of the streets of Metropolis that he and his wife Lois Lane discover a little boy who speaks Krpytonese. Compelled to protect him at all cost, they both decide to raise him as their own but his arrival also comes with a new set of problems, a problem that takes the form of General Zod and his renegade followers who have escaped the Phantom Zone looking to seize the child and rule Earth to create New Krypton. Unfortunately for Superman, this won’t be the only issue he’ll be running into as he later must go after Luthor’s monstrosity known as Bizarro who happens to have kidnapped Clark Kent’s father to bring him to his own twisted planet.

This special deluxe edition collects for the first time ever every celebrated collaboration within the Action Comics series between Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, that is Action Comics #844-846, #851, and #855-857, and Action Comics Annual #10-11. It also includes an introduction by actor Marc McClure (known for his portrayal of Jimmy Olsen in the 1980s Superman movies) as well as a special and short sketchbook section from Adam Kubert.
 

“And the hope we had for our future can be shared with the people of Earth by you… the last son of Krypton.”

— Geoff Johns & Richard Donner

There is plenty to appreciate from this story arc that introduces fans to a new character that will quickly enamour Superman on an intimate level. Through him, he sees a lot of himself and will feel an urge to protect him from those who wish to weaponize him before he could even grow up to make his own decisions in life. This connection to someone who apparently has Kryptonian origins is key to understanding Superman’s own predicament on Earth as an alien living among humans. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t delve much deeper into the emotional tie between these characters as it introduces Zod and his minions, steering the narrative towards a grand spectacle with chaotic repercussions. This then shifts the story towards action rather than psychological exploration, especially once Lex Luthor enters the picture and introduces his own team of lunatics. The impact of the finale, unfortunately, suffers from this formula and ends flatly rather than intensely but at least wraps up neatly enough to move on to other things.

If the introduction of this new kid in the block isn’t enough, fans will also learn the details regarding the various Kryptonite colours and their effect on Kryptonians throughout this volume. On top of that, the additional story included in this volume focuses on Bizarro with an original adventure that perfectly fits with his character’s odd nature. As off-the-wall as it is, not necessarily a flaw in itself, it remains quite zany, especially if you are familiar with Bizarro’s twisted mind. And let me tell you that Bizarro’s World, filled with funhouse-mirror versions of Superman’s allies, foes, and world, is even more twisted than you could imagine. Luckily, Adam Kubert and Eric Powell’s artwork make for an entertaining style that vividly captures these adventures and impressively brings to life these characters. Remaining conceptually loyal to the story-telling elements, their artwork rhymes wonderfully with writer Geoff John and Richard Donner’s stories without adding any more hiccups to this volume (one could argue that the additional stories at the end are quite forgettable but could be seen as bonuses to avid readers more than anything).

Superman: The Last Son is an amusing yet familiar story expanding on the Man of Steel’s sense of belonging and triumphant lore.


EXHIBITA
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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14 comments

  • The only Bizarro storyline I enjoyed was an Elseworld’s one where Bizarro was the only Superman and ended up giving his life for either Lois or the world. It was wicked sad. But I don’t care for him as a character overall 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that does sound very sad. In this story, Bizarro has his own version of Lois on Bizarro World. It’s “twisted” but the story wasn’t meant to be too emotional. It was mostly to get us to understand how Bizarro talks and understands the world (the whole inverted thing).

      I can’t say I’m a huge fan of his character either. I mean, if we ever get a live-action version of Bizarro, I’ll be truly excited and curious as to how they pull it off but the odds of that happening for now are quite slim.

      Liked by 1 person

  • This surfaced a couple thoughts. The first was about these collections that gather together different runs of a bigger series into what appears to be one storyline, and how well you think they flow as a single story. This contains issues 844 to 846 but is missing 847 to 850, then it includes 851, etc. Do you think this way of collecting leaves us with something less, or do you think it works to strengthen the storyline? I see you did mention stories at the end being forgettable and bonuses, but I’m not sure which issues made up those stories.

    The other thought I had was with these stories focusing more on the action than the emotion, and whether one or the other might resonate more with the larger target audience, whoever they happen to be. When younger I can see myself more drawn to action stories than emotional stories. And yet thinking back to my favorite comic book stories of my youth the ones that come to mind immediately are the more emotional stories. They stick with me longer, regardless of how much I might have enjoyed the more action-based stories. I’m not sure where I’m going with this line of thought, but I’ll let you know if I ever get there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great thoughts, Todd. I’ve always found it a bit chaotic, especially when it comes to older comic book runs. For this volume, they really went ahead to STRICTLY collect the issues where Geoff Johns and Richard Donner wrote stories together. So, if we take a look at #847, which was excluded, it was written by Dwayne McDuffie but, surprisingly, it was a companion story to The Last Son and actually gave us a bit more content that was related to this story… Unfortunately, we don’t get to read that one here. And then #848 and 848 is a two-part story written by Fabian Nicieza. It has nothing to do with The Last Son, this time. And then #850 is a celebratory issue (because it’s the 850th issue of the Action Comics run), so they made a whole other story for that special issue. Usually, when they collect stories, they try to make it flow properly without missing too many parts. In this case, it would’ve indeed been interesting to have #847, but the decision was really to stick to stories written by the duo (I guess there might be other factors related to sales, and who to credit on the cover and all too). The bonus issues I was speaking off comes from Action Comics Annual #10-11. I don’t know if you’ve ever run into an “Annual” issue within a DC comic book series before but they usually contain multiple writers and artists, multiple stories, and no particular overarching story. This volume collects those for whatever reason and they really don’t add much to either the 1st story with the new Kryptonian kid or the 2nd story with Bizarro. I’m always glad to be able to read these older stories but they usually always suffer in structure because of how things were marketed back in the day. After all, issues didn’t always release at a specific frequency (it could take weeks before the next issue came out, for example).

      Hahahah I like your thoughts there. I think I make it a point in this review to specify that absence of its more emotional touch, which would’ve been fantastic if it explored it more, and its sudden shift towards more action. It’s a tough balance to get and I definitely understand why the more emotional stories are more powerful and memorable for me. Action is fun, in doses, and probably waaaaay better in a movie/tv series though.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Sounds interesting. I love Superman because for me the storyline has always implied Christianity, heaven and earth with science as a lesser factor. Have a great weekend!💞

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve heard that this is really good, and the fact that Richard Donner is involved only makes this graphic novel more intriguing. Donner has clearly shown over the years that he cares about the Superman character, and Geoff Johns isn’t a bad writer himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re curious to see what Donner and Johns achieve together. You can tell that they kept ideas from Donner’s movie to help with their story too. Fun collaboration.

      Like

  • Spot on review Lashaan, I tend to agree with pretty much all you say – this is a decent enough one-off read that doesn’t quite live up to what it promises. It also gets marks off because Eric Powell’s art didn’t really ‘jive’ with me.

    It’s interesting to know that one of Geoff Johns’ early jobs was working for Richard Donner!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks man, I’m glad to hear that we’re on the same page for this one. I was quite surprised that Johns and Donner had worked on a couple of issues together in the past too. You can tell that some of Donner’s ideas from the movies are actually kept in the story too. I wonder if such collaborations will ever occur again in the future. Probably way more expensive nowadays to get a director to work with writers on a comic book today hahah

      Liked by 1 person

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