(COMIC) SUPERMAN #8

STORY: Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens
ART: Dan Jurgens and Jesus Marino

Superman is a complex character that’s often harder to write for than other, less powerful heroes. When the hero has almost no weaknesses and a whole arsenal of superhuman abilities, their stories can quickly become stale and repetitive. Fortunately, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens are incorporating Helspont and the Daemonites – from the Wildstorm imprint – into Superman’s mythos, giving him an enemy that isn’t as readily ‘hit-able’ as Metallo or Parasite. One of the best ways to tell a Superman story – at least these days – is to invoke Clark’s demi-god status. While all of Earth’s other heroes have enough humanity to give them weaknesses, Superman is so far above them, in terms of raw power, that the true meat of his stories come from the psychological implications behind Clark’s actions.

Superman #8 explores this with a conversation between Superman and the warlord Helspont. The Daemonite warrior tells Clark his tale, one of fear and betrayal from his peers. He was one the pride and glory of the Daemonite empire, until those in power saw Helspont as a liability against the empire itself. He was cast out, exiled from his culture. Helspont sees Clark as a conqueror; it’s all he can see, really. Helspont’s culture is one of dominion, and Clark is the most powerful being on the planet, so why wouldn’t he rule? Helspont makes Clark on offer to leave Earth if Clark will help him reclaim his place in the Daemonite Empire. Clark, of course, refuses, and Helspont shows Clark just how powerful he is.

Unfortunately, our favorite Daemonite pretty much just disappears before the brawl can really get underway. Ol’ Supes chalks it up to a strategical retreat, but it comes off as a lame way of ending this particular confrontation – nothing is answered and Clark simply goes back to his life. With a villain like Helspont making his debut in the DC universe, I expected a little more pomp and circumstance.

GRADE:
B-
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