Superman: Up in the Sky #2
Written by: Tom King
Illustrated by: Andy Kubert
Reviewed by: Joe Bones
Before reading on check out my review of Issue#1.
“When a young girl was kidnapped and taken to the furthest reaches of space, Superman vowed to bring her back. As he follows the trail of the abduction aliens through the cosmos, each stop offers new clues…and a new challenge.”
Author Tom King’s strengths as a writer really show through in Superman: Up in the Sky #2. This issues contains Parts Three and Four of the ongoing story, which was originally published in a series of Wal-Mart exclusive collections of individual Superman stories. Issue #2 continues Superman’s search for the kidnapped little girl, but does so in an unexpected style. One would expect to see a linear progression of specific moments in Superman’s search for the girl. Yet King advances the plot in an unexpected way. Not much is revealed about the girl’s whereabouts, and the mystery of her disappearance is subtly deepened. King makes up for the lack of bread crumbs or direct answers by inserting moments of great emotion into the narrative. King shies away from an action packed story in favor of showcasing Superman’s best qualities with authentic character moments.
My favorite excerpt from part 3:
Superman: Did I find that girl? Did I bring her back?
Alien Coach: No, I suppose not.
Superman: Then I’m not done.
Part Three centers around a boxing match. It’s Superman versus an intergalactic mercenary called Mighto. Both possess super strength and enhanced invulnerability and agree to only use these powers during their fight. The stakes are high. If Superman loses, he must give up his search and return to Earth. If Superman wins, Mighto will give him information pertaining to the girl’s kidnapping. In just twelve pages, King creates a story that perfectly balances action, drama, and heart. Each page and subsequent scene is framed by a text box announcing the round of the match being shown. Kubert draws the boxing match in an interesting way, and King’s script highlights Superman’s determination. This combination of the art and prose makes for a compelling story.
My favorite quote from part 4:
All can be lost…but none are alone. — Superman
Part Four opens with Superman floating unconscious through space. He is picked up by an alien spacecraft and taken to the ship’s healer. While trying to heal Superman, the healer ends up linking his mind with Superman’s, and experiences his memories. The rest of the story centers around the healer as snippets of Superman’s memories play through the alien’s mind, shown in text bubbles. It is through these shared memories that we get a glimpse of the next leg of Superman’s journey through space, and trace details of how he came to be wounded and unconscious. It is a beautiful tale, and literally brought tears to my eyes. Part Four is a story told from a perspective other than Superman’s It is light on action but full of emotionality. Its conclusion is both heart-wrenching and uplifting.
Tom King and Andy Kubert are at the top of their respective game in Up in the Sky #2. It’s an honest shame that it took this story so long to be individually released. I have high hopes that the over arching story will continues to get even better over the next four issues. This issue set the bar very high, but I have every confidence that King and Kubert will continue to outdo themselves. Even if you don’t read the entire mini-series, I highly recommend going to your local comic book store and picking up this issue just for Part 4. It’s a story that deserves to be read, and this issue in a shining example of quality comic book storytelling.