Written by: Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi
Art by: Patrick Gleason and Doug Mahnke
Superman #24 brings us one step closer to closing out one of the strangest Superman arcs in Rebirth thus far. This is part 5 of 6 in “Black Dawn”, and we’re finally starting to get some explanation about what the heck has been going on. Still no explanation about Lois’ leg though…
The start of this issue explains where the Super-Elite came from and how Manchester Black assembled them. It’s nice to finally have some clarity about Kathy and Cobb’s origins, but it’s a pretty out-there story and just adds more complexity to this already complex arc.
Fast forwarding to present day, Clark was able to get Lois safely to a hospital to treat her wounds. He feels guilty about her injuries, but she simply reminds him that she believes in him to do the right thing, and that he’s the only one who can find their son, free the other captives, and get to the bottom of this threat. Like I mentioned, there’s no further explanation about Lois’ leg, which is a bummer, and makes me wonder if they’re suggesting the hospital reattached it. Which, if that’s the case, I will call foul due to the fact that Superman cauterized her wound!
Anyways, Superman flies off to Cobb’s household to begin investigating, and to his surprise he is met there by Jon. Superman tries to grab Jon, but Jon is reluctant and doesn’t understand why his dad didn’t do more to help his mom. Before Superman can explain, Manchester Black arrives on scene and reveals his plan. He’s wants Superboy to abandon his father’s ideology to align with his own sense of justice; because in his mind, Superman’s morals keep him from exacting true justice.
Manchester Black (somehow) brings them into the chamber where Batman, Robin, Frankenstein, and Frankenstein’s wife are being held. He then captures Superman in the black slime, which as far as I know still is a nameless substance. But before he can fully trap Superman, Kathy and Cobb appear on the scene and deal Manchester Black a heft blow. He quickly retaliates with a fatal blow to Cobb, but Superman has just enough time to get free and free the others as well.
With everyone free and ready to take Manchester Black down, he finally pulls out his pocket ace and seemingly possesses Jon, turning him into Superboy Black.
Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi dug themselves quite a hole with this story arc. Every issue has added a new major problem, and now that the arc is approaching it’s final issue, they have to start resolving the plot. This means the gravity of certain moments gets drowned out by the massive story around them. For instance, Lois and Clark dealing with the loss of her leg. Jon’s trust in his dad being damaged after seeing his mom get injured. These are big character moments that seem to take a back seat so that the issue can focus on resolving the plot. Even so, the story is still coherent enough to enjoy, and this issue answered a few of those big questions.
Doug Mahnke and Patrick Gleason both provide art on this issue, with Gleason on the first 7 pages, and Mahnke on the rest. Since the start of Rebirth, I’ve grown to love Gleason’s art and it has started to feel like a staple of this book. Mahnke’s work on this issue was great, but since his work is so stylistically different from Gleason, the change was definitely felt.