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On the south side of Philadelphia three locals are working on their truck. In the mist of figuring out if it's the transmission or catalytic converter the Man of Steel walks by. He helps them out within seconds and leaves them in awe. Soon a horde of local media catch wind and are on Superman's tail, asking him all sorts of questions but everyone just wants to know one thing, why? Why is Superman walking and where is he going? Superman's response is simple; he'll know when he gets there. As the day goes on Superman stops and eats at a dinner and chats with the patrons. From there he hassles some drug dealers and stumbles across a woman named Felicity, who is pondering suicide on the top of a building. She makes Superman promise that no matter what she decides to do, he lets her do it. Floating five feet away from her, he agrees.
J. Michael Staczynski (Thor, Teen Titans), has done the impossible and has taken a great character in Superman and managed something that has desperately been needed for years. He made this character engaging, deep and compassionate without being weak and most of all... insightful. Everything Superman said in the issue carried more weight than him punching any brick wall or picking up a car over his head. He spoke with an open heart but he also remembered who he was speaking to from the drug dealers in the hood to the little kid offering him his candy. Eddy Barrows (Action Comics, Teen Titans) does an admirable job with the art. The strongest part is the expressions in the characters faces that bring more impact to Staczynski's words. The perfect example of when this book shines is when Superman meets Felicity on the buildings ledge. This is single handedly one of my all-time favorite comic book moments ever.
People have been complaining that not a whole lot goes on in the book. That's where they are wrong. There is so much ground work being set for the Last Son of Krypton as a meaningful character, its literally punching you in the face throughout the book. Comic book readers have and writers (to an extent) have been spoiled when dealing with the likes of Kal-El. They both seem to fall in the same tired routine. He beats something up, saves the Daily Planet and kisses Lois...hard, on the lips. The fact that Staczynski is consecrating on the "man" aspect of Superman is something a lot of readers just are not ready for. After embarrassing Superman outings like the "War of the Supermen" for example, it's a pure joy to read and see this kind of storytelling finally happen to the Red and Blue icon.
Story – 9.9
Plot – 9.5
Art – 8.5
Overall – 9.3