Story: Brandon M. Easton
Art: Jahnoy Lindsay
Colors: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Andworld Design
What They Say:
As Clark tries to bring his article on the prison system to press, Superman comes face-to-face with the man behind the series of prison breaks from Stryker’s Island. Can Superman bring him to justice or will he make his own break for it?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The conclusion to this storyline is one that goes about as expected but that can be found in comics – and Superman comics – going back decades. It’s one reason that Brandon Easton’s story has worked because he understands Superman’s place in the scheme of things, as a beacon of hope rather than someone that will change everything. Jahnoy Lindsay has done solid work on this run to give us a Superman with a very real physical presence but there’s a good bit of character and heart that comes from how he’s presented as well, both as Superman and as Clark Kent. combine that with Marissa Louise’s color design and there’s a solid consistent and enjoyable look about this storyline as a whole.
With Superman in red kryptonite chains, the man behind all of this continues to make his point about how he doesn’t have to killer Superman but rather that by simply capturing him he’s shown his skill level. What we find out is that the guy has an impulse control disorder and removes his helmet to reveal his name – Carl Draper – and that he’s the world’s best locksmith. There’s a mildly interesting backstory there as to how he ended up in this situation and why he did it, always coming down to money, but he also makes clear that the reason it worked so well is because he played on the fear of black men in order to drive the narrative that would make businesses and others want his skillset when it comes to protection. Combine that with wanting to raise funds in order to get surgery to help with his disorder and you get a complicated villain that’s too self-aware but also struggling in his own way.
The action is an easy wrap-up element as Superman can clearly take him down without hurting him or anyone else, though the bit about the steel felt like it’s something that’s a little too simple and easy. But it allows the remainder of the issue, several pages worth, to focus on Clark’s story as he tells it about the men that were incarcerated when they shouldn’t be, the larger statistics and reality of the situation, and then him on the train getting a vibe for how people are reading it. I do like that a small conversation breaks out among the passengers, but it’s the same conversation that’s been had for decades. I heard it growing up in the 80s, almost word for word. Which is sad, unfortunate, and unsurprising. Superman is the beacon we need but when some prefer to stay blind it can do only so much.
The Truth & Justice series goes a bit more bluntly here but it’s the kind of area where bluntness is basically what’s needed. The story works well in going through the general superpowered crimes that are being organized here and the impact of it while showing how it’s all rooted in racism and fear in order to make the big score. Easton’s script works well and I think the final pages capture a good blend of how both Clark and Superman think about these things as both aspects of him have to approach it differently. At the same time. Lindsay’s artwork works well to capture the emotion and feeling of those going through the bad situations and with Superman showing what he’s made of. It’s an interesting story that I think will read even better now that you can go through all three installments at once.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: February 12th, 2021