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Superman #4

77
Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 17 critic ratings.

Introducing the Kryptonite Klaw!

Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite, but what happens when other dangerous superhumans are exposed to it?

If Superman wants to stop Metropolis’s newest enemies, he must uncover Lex Luthor’s secret past!

Publication Date
Publisher
Format
Kindle Edition
Print Lenght
27 pages
Language
English
Amazon ASIN
B0C2W1SSM3

6%
18%
76%
17 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100

    You Don't Read Comics

    Superman #4 is a marvelous comic. The saga of Dr. Pharm and Graft continues, while also doing incredible character work and throwing in some interesting changes to the game. The Superman renaissance continues, and Superman is at its forefront.

  • 100

    Fortress of Solitude

  • 100

    Get Your Comic On

    It might only be issue #4 but Superman is kicking off a brand new arc today. The new creative team of Williamson and Campbell really came out of the gate swinging with the Parasite storyline which mostly wrapped up last month. So the question on everyone’s mind is can they keep up the incredible momentum?

    Of course the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

    Issue #4 is brilliantly booked ended by a pair of scenes which setup a brand new problem for Clark, Lex and SuperCorp. If you’re reading carefully then there’s some clear signposting of the final panels in the opening scene. Bravo to Williamson for introducing this plot point without literally laying it all on the table. I appreciate when a writer allows me to draw my own conclusions as I’m reading only to confirm (or destroy) them at the end.

    (…)

    Another interesting choice by Williamson this issue is to bump the timeline along by a few weeks. It allows the book to maintain its strong sense of pacing by covering only the highlights of SuperCorp and the new partnership between Clark and Lex. Superman could easily have spent a number of issues exploring what’s seen in just a handful of panels. But it’s the right decision. To have focussed on building up SuperCorp more closely would have pumped the breaks on a series which doesn’t need it.

    The bulk of issue #4 is made up exploring how the pair are working together in the here-and-now. With just a little time on a very interesting flashback to an unexplored corner of Lex Luthor’s story. The choice to portray such a legendary villain as a potential hero for the city could be controversial. As I was reading it I could feel social media complaining that not all villains need to be sympathetic. But when Clark questions the validity of Lex’s story it perfectly swept away any concern. How right Clark is to question whether Lex would tell his true origin and not paint himself the hero. Brilliant work by Williamson.

    Jamal Campbell’s artwork continues to be outstanding. It’s consistent across all four issues and absolute dynamite stuff. The Kryptonite infected version of Silver Banshee looks formidable and there are some cool visuals from Nick Dragotta to go alongside Lex’s questionable flashback.

    Another five star issue for Team Superman. The story is headed in an excellent direction, spearheaded by the incredible visuals of Campbell. The Man of Steel never looked better.

  • 95

    Geek Dad

    This has been one of the best Superman runs in recent memory, and certainly the best that focuses on Superman in his most iconic settings—Metropolis, with his classic supporting cast, and sparring with Lex Luthor. Lex has supposedly turned over a new leaf behind bars, aiding Superman in his battle against the criminal masterminds Dr. Pharm and Mr. Graft. These mysterious associates of Luthor’s transformed Parasite, and have now turned their eyes on another villain—Silver Banshee, who was retired from villainy and living a quiet life with her new significant other until Pharm showed up at her door. Using a twisted form of Kryptonite, Pharm is super-charging the villains of Metropolis—and Luthor, who nearly kills a particularly rude inmate this issue in a hilarious way, knows more than he’s letting on. And you know what that means—it’s flashback time!

    When I saw Nick Dragotta was sharing art duties this issue, I was worried Campbell wasn’t hitting deadlines. Dragotta is a great artist, but Campbell’s art is a huge part of the appeal. Instead, it’s a short segment set during Luthor’s earliest days in Metropolis, when he encountered Pharm and Graft for the first time and uncovered their twisted human experiments—and even made a brief go of trying to be a hero himself. It’s clear Williamson does think there is something better hiding under Luthor, it’s just buried deep and essentially destroyed by his massive ego. It’s a great take on the iconic rogue, one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. And then there’s the oddball last-act twist, which reveals who Silver Banshee’s paramour is—and gives one of Superman’s most iconic supporting characters something new to do in the series. Another fantastic issue.

  • 95

    Comic Watch

    As Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell move onto their second Superman arc, they dodge a sophomore slump and launch directly into an issue rife with some of the best character writing the title has seen in quite some time. While the first three issues were extremely strong and clever, this one begins to hunker us down for a longer haul, taking the time to dive a little deeper into the unreliable history of Dr. Pharm and Lex.

    The issue opens with Siobhan McDougall, a.k.a. The Silver Banshee, becoming next in line for Dr. Pharm’s kryptonite experiments as she’s attacked in her apartment. The opening is strong and uses dialogue to see for later that will come off as a surprise, but when considering some of the lines, it falls into place with elegance. Between Campbell’s dynamic art and Williamson’s propensity to show the human lives of our super-powered characters, an expansive and grounded tone begins to take the series over significantly. Comics in the modern day have grown disconnected from our characters’ lives outside the action. The more we lose of that, the more shallow and less believable these stories become. Williamson’s Superman and the world around him is a version of the character that can be wholly believed in. While this sense of scope and depth was there in the first arc, it did have to bear the brunt of opening the run-up and had to remain focused on the action. However, Williamson stretches his legs a bit more with character and world-building.

    Silver Banshee’s story is set up in a way that allows her to be an antagonist without regressing all the character’s progress as an individual. The last page regarding her was something straight out of the silver age, but the book’s livelier tone and humanly grounded nature keep it from being out of place.

    Case in point, Lex Luthor. Williamson spends a lot of time with Lex, utilizing conversation and silent action to re-characterize the version of Luthor in a post-Death Metal DC. This isn’t an inherently evil Lex, but instead, one whose deepest insecurities and ego lead him down the wrong paths as a human being. He’s being written and portrayed as a lawful gray, thanks to how well Williamson can make that grayness believable. There’s even a little bit of retconning with Luthor that’s here not only to justify his more heroic tendencies but also to push the plot forward, and it works. It’s an additive retcon and serves to flesh out our modern Metropolis a bit further. If PKJ’s Action Comics was about re-introducing Superman, then Williamson’s Superman title clearly focuses on creating a Lex Luthor to match it.

    The tone in this book remains very reminiscent of the animated series from decades ago, and it’s a tone that works more than any other tone has worked for Clark in decades. Jamal Campbell’s art, and Nick Draggotta’s guest pages, elevate this story so much that every page is just a tremendous experience, from visuals to the story.

    Excellent in every way, Superman #4 is proof that Joshua Williamson & Jamal Campbell’s work on this title isn’t just a happy accident. It’s concrete excellence.

  • 90

    ComicBook.com

    It’s becoming more challenging to find new avenues of praise for DC’s Superman series, but it’s a challenge I’ll gladly embrace. Writer Joshua Williamson pulls the curtain back on the book’s larger villains just enough without sacrificing the intriguing aura of mystery that surrounds them. Williamson continues to work wonders with Superman’s classic rogues gallery, and Silver Banshee is the latest recipient. As with Parasite, not only are her powers amped up, but they are brought to life in visually creative ways thanks to the stunning work of artist Jamal Campbell and letterer Ariana Maher. Something I didn’t expect was the welcome swerve with Luthor, and while you can’t really trust anything he says, if even a tiny percentage of it is true, this set the tone for it beautifully. Artist Nick Dragotta and colorist Frank Martin sync up with Campbell’s work well while also adding their own flair to the proceedings, and coupled with the continuing teases of Marlyn Moonlight, I simply can’t get enough. Superman continues to fire on all cylinders, and is unquestionably one of DC’s best and brightest.

  • 90

    Weird Science DC Comics

    Superman #4 continues Superman’s struggle to find and stop Dr. Pharm and Graft with Lex Luthor’s reluctant help. The story gets better and better as the issue progresses, and the last-moment twist is amazing. Couple a great story with fantastic art, and this issue is a winner.

  • 90

    Lyles Movie Files

    Four issues into his Superman run and Williamson is breathing new and exciting life to The Man of Steel’s adventures in a classic Silver and Bronze Age manner where anything can happen while still making sense and fitting into established continuity. Instead of the opposite where long-term storytelling is a dumped for a fleeting, bad idea that forever alters the character.

    (…)

    Jamal Campbell’s artwork is so enthralling thanks to the rich, expressive characters and detailed backdrops. Nick Dragotta handles the art for the Luthor flashback. The artist switch was fairly smooth this time thanks to their complementary styles.

    Superman feels noticeably fresher with Williamson conceiving fascinating subplots, Superman-level threats and Campbell’s gorgeous artwork. This arc is growing steadily and this issue is an ideal jumping on point for readers who’ve heard good things but haven’t checked it out yet.

  • 90

    Henchman-4-Hire

    This series is just plain fun. It’s pure Superman goodness, with a healthy dose of charm on every page. We’ve got this new threat, and they are sufficiently evil and doing their evil thing. Lex gives us a solid flashback to flesh out more of their story and his rivalry with them. It’s a little silly, the idea that Lex Luthor was a superhero when he first arrived in Metropolis, but I think we can easily chalk that up to just being fun and that he’s an unreliable narrator for that flashback. It works splendidly. Couple that with the ways they are using classic Superman villains as their pawns, and it combines the classic with the new, and that works splendidly. Obviously this isn’t the first story to ever do such a thing, but it’s working well here, and that’s all that really matters.

    I like the use of Silver Banshee here. I can’t wait to find out how she and Jimmy Olsen hit it off and started dating. The opening scene gives it away that she’s dating Jimmy, so that dampens the last page shocker somewhat, but it’s fine. And obviously the artwork is stupendous on a character like Silver Banshee. I hope DC gives Jamal Campbell all the room they need to keep this series looking gorgeous. Having a guest like Dragotta in for the flashback will hopefully take some pressure off Campbell. The flashback artwork worked nicely.

    My only gripe for the issue is a line from Dr. Pharm where they say they’ve always wondered if Kryptonite could be used to affect other metahumans. No thank you. Kryptonite doesn’t affect Superman just because he has super-powers, it’s related to it being his home planet. Kryptonite shouldn’t be used to affect super-powers in general. That’s not how any of this works!

    The first storyline is done, and this new one is already here with a load of charm and some of the best artwork in comics.

  • 90

    Comics Nexus by Inside Pulse

    am intrigued by Dr. Pharm’s plans for Superman’s rogues gallery. Using the Kryptonite Klaw to infect them, which Pharm sees as experimentation, and see what happens is intriguing from writer Joshua Williamson. It allows for an ongoing narrative for several issues as well as interesting issue-to-issue battles with Superman and his partner the imprisoned Lex Luthor. Solid art for this issue from Jamal Campbell and team.

  • 90

    First Comics News

  • 87

    The Super Powered Fancast

    The Story: Fun, thrilling and filled with great twists, Williamson continues to craft a new and interesting story for Superman and I really enjoyed how it not only connects to Lex, but the revelations it forces from him. I was genuinely intrigued by the back story and how it makes sense for the character in a weird way. Not only is the new revelations about Lex engaging, but the twist with Jimmy towards the end sold me on coming back to read the next issue.

    The Art: Campbell and Dragotta deliver some beautifully detailed and lively art filled with great energy. The visual styles complement each other wonderfully and enhance the story even more.

  • 85

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    Superman #4 kicks off a new story as Silver Banshee gets roped into the schemes of Dr. Pharm and Graft to combat the Man of Steel. The story and writing by Joshua Williamson continues to be great, particularly with the handling of Superman and Lex Luthor’s new dynamic with each other which has a give and take nature to it. Jamal Campbell’s art is just as great whether it’s illustrating Silver Banshee and her new powers or just Superman, Luthor, and the rest of Metropolis. One downside is that the fight between Superman and Silver Banshee is pretty short. However, the comic does provide a spicy reveal that I’m confident the creative team can handle and expand on in the next issue.

  • 80

    AIPT

    As the Dawn of DC ushers in a new era for DC Comics, Superman #4 is ready to show off exactly how he’s changing to fit Lex Luthor’s new vision. Writer Joshua Williamson and artist Nick Dragotta have come together to answer the question of just how much Superman can rely on his life-long nemesis. With a new villain on the horizon, the answer could decide the fate of Metropolis.

    (…)

    As always, the future looks bright after Superman #4. The art remains a highlight, especially whenever the newly mutated Silver Banshee is on the prowl. The intrigue in the run is already piling up as SuperCorp builds legitimacy, and the added romance between Jimmy and Banshee is sure to add some fun conflict in future issues.

  • 80

    Supergirl Comic Box Commentary

    Superman #4 came out last week, another crackling issue in the latest run by Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell. I have been pretty impressed with the book so far with its revitalization/reimagination of some classic Superman villains mixed with the ongoing Lex and Superman team-up plot.

    (…)

    Jamal Campbell’s art is really luscious and alive. I have really enjoyed the work on the book so far. Superman looks beefy and tough. The supporting characters are expressive and fun. The villains are monstrous. I know Campbell doesn’t usually stick around long on monthlies but I wouldn’t mind a 6 issue on/6 issue off staggering to keep him on the book for a bit more.

  • 80

    Superman Homepage

    I enjoyed this issue very much. The back and forth between Clark and Lex continues to entertain, especially the actions of Lex on an inmate. I like that Jimmy is being given more to do and that we’re finally seeing Lois struggling with what passes for modern journalism. It’s a brilliant issue that is finally giving us more information on Dr. Pharm and Graft. So why am I docking a point? The montage page. I know it is meant to gloss over the growing partnership between Lex and Clark but all it did was annoy me – because I want to know what these four adventures were!

  • 50

    Major Spoilers

    Superman #4 drops the ball in a few different ways. It doesn’t really nail a good dynamic between Superman and Lex, with Lex coming off as over the top and Superman being just sort of there because it’s his book. A good portion of this issue is eaten up by a flashback that is grating to read, and ultimately not a whole lot happens here that pushes the plot forward. The one saving grace is that there’s a nice twist at the end that might be a fun wrinkle to explore.

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