“Clark. I need you. Last night. A home invasion on West Conway. Nothing taken. Older couple murdered. They had four foster children. Girls. Ages five to ten. Two of the girls are dead. One’s missing. One was found. Shot but alive. She’s at Gotham Mercy.”
“The girl. In the hospital…Talk to her.”Tom King, Superman: Up In The Sky
I’ve witnessed a lot of bad interpretations of Superman recently.
Maybe it’s because people think Superman is just this one thing? The strong guy who can fly, move planets, and take all the stress/panic/crisis out of a situation because, hey, he’s Superman. Who’s going to stop him? I can see how it’d be easy to fall into this pit. Various runs, both in print and film, of this character typically try to break that mold.
“Bring in the villain who is bigger than Superman. Kill him. Write him out of the show or movie completely. Put him in black!”
And they’re all wrong. That’s not what makes Superman great.
This book right here shows what makes Superman great.
I’ve written about Tom King’s writing on here before. In the time since I’ve grown to become a huge fan of his, feeling that rush of writing feeling after finishing up one of his stories. (For example, I was going to give myself the day off from writing but after finishing up this book I had to talk about it.) He brings a weight, a gravity, to every story he tells, yet it’s never loaded down with nonsense, dragging on for page after page. King keeps it light, brisk, and the story moves fast, but you feel every page as he breaks down the ultimate Superman story.
A young girl has gone missing. Stolen, right up into space. No one can go after her. No one but Superman. But if he leaves Earth for too long will it be safe? Will the girl be safe? Is she even worth it? And how far can a Superman push himself across the stars to find someone who, when compared to the fate of billions, doesn’t even matter?
King, with his amazing artistic collaborators Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, and Brad Anderson, tell this fantastical space odyssey of boxing and war and healing and death and hope and history. You don’t need to know anything else about Superman except who he is. That’s it. The rest of the story is filled in for you as we see an individual pushed to his limits, taken to the extreme, and delve the depths of his own philosophies, to save one girl.
“But Superman,” you might say.
“But Alice,” he would reply.
Brilliant writing, and, like I said earlier this week, something to learn from.
Thanks for reading,