With another perfect balance between the nostalgic flavor of the silver age and modern sensibilities, this Robert Venditti script again finds that sweet spot of Kryptonian excellence. It scales it way down in terms of antagonists, this adventure is down to earth compared to the last issue but doesn't lose a step, hitting every note with precision. On one side, Lois is chasing down a story on a city council proposal to legalize casinos in Metropolis. On the other hand, Superman is perplexed by a rash of criminal acts committed by people without criminal histories, all jammed up with gambling debts. These two stories dance with each other and intersect in the best possible ways, again letting both Jimmy Olsen and Perry White affect the story in intriguing ways.
It's essential to stop and note something that Paul Pelletier, Drew Hennessy, and Adriano Lucas really got right here: Clark Kent. To get the polite, aw-shucks earnestness right and still switch over to the power and the glory with a simple popping of buttons is actually a hard line to walk. Again, everything about this issue (and its predecessor) balances things with deftness. Likewise, the script uses the identity of the mild-mannered reporter with great cleverness to forward the pursuit of justice, even showing how he takes hard news by "hitting the pop."
Then there's the antagonist this time: with a shtick that'd get a smirk from George Reeves, The Gambler has almost all the angles lined up. His Cagney-esque dialogue and dog track wardrobe is another hole in one for the visual team, and his confidence is never shaken because of the pitch-perfect conclusion.
Clark Kent is the hardest part of Superman to get right, and this issue makes it look easy. The news is as clear a part of the story as the cape or the incredible powers Superman brings to bear. When you add to all that the fact that this is a wholly self-contained issue, a done-in-one that asks for little more than what's contained in these pages … this is a kind of killer accomplishment. This is the second issue in a row to get everything right, so one more means that it will be a guaranteed purchase until it screws up three in a row — super rare even before the arguable end of western civilization. RATING: BUY.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow #2
Someone is running bets on Superman's exploits throughout Metropolis and putting ordinary citizens in harm's way. Can Superman locate this villainous gambler in time or will the house take all?!