Superman Volume 5: Hopes and Fears
Writers: Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason, Keith Champagne, James Bonny
Artists: Scott Godlewski, Tyler Kirkham, Doug Mahnke, Ed Benes, Philip Tan, Jaime Mendoza, Scott Hanna, Rob Hunter
Colorists: Gabe Eltaeb, Arif Prianto, Wil Quintana, Tony Aviña, Dinei Ribeiro, Tomeu Morey, Sunny Gho
Letterers: Rob Leigh, Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Review by Cory Webber
Superman Volume 5: Hopes and Fears is comprised of three very different stories involving the Kent family. First, the Kents’ family road trip takes some strange and unexpected turns that reveal a foreboding threat reaching out to touch their lives; you can bet that they’re going to need a vacation after their vacation! Second, when Parallax takes over Superman’s body, it’s up to Sinestro to save the day. Finally, Lois takes an interview with the assassin Deathstroke, and he has his sights set on Superman!
Superman Volume 5: Hopes and Fears is split up into three separate stories. I will break up my review accordingly. This volume collects Superman #27-32.
STORY #1: Declaration
In this story, the Kent family takes a road trip, at the behest of Lois, to celebrate the U.S.A.’s Independence Day. In addition to organizing this trip, she makes them take it in an RV, so they can sacrifice their powers as they ponder the sacrifices made by others for their country.
Now, this two-parter was chock full of both fun and serious stops. First of all, Superman and Superboy body surfed Niagara Falls. Most noteworthy in this story, however, is when Lois chooses to visit the grave of Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Civil War. It’s always a nice touch when superheroes acknowledge what an actual, real-life hero is. To me, this is what gives Superman hope about the human race.
Politics come up frequently in this issue without feeling heavy-handed. Rather, there are a handful of moments that Clark and Lois use as teaching moments for Jon. As a result, the story never feels too preachy.
These smaller arcs can sometimes be a refreshing change of pace from the larger, overarching stories that comprise, and add to, the overall mythos. And such is the case with this one. It is heartfelt, sweet and patriotic, without being jingoistic. The story takes pride in the good actions taken by ordinary people with extraordinary bravery. Something that is all too easy, especially in these times, is to allow fear to be overwhelming. However, this story focuses on the inspirational acts that give us hope that there are still good people doing good things.
The art here, provided by series regular Patrick Gleason, is lighthearted and fun without feeling out of place for some of the more serious moments. He continues to knock it out of the park for this series.
STORY #2: A Minute Longer
Continuing with the theme of hope and fear, this two-parter examines some of Superman’s fears; mainly, that something bad could happen to his son. This feeling hits close to home when children Jon’s age end up missing around town. As a result, this leads to him discovering that Parallax is behind it all. Now, he figures if he can possess Superman’s body, then he can become unstoppable. Obviously, he doesn’t know that Superman understands the role of fear and how to overcome it.
Supes truly has some insightful things to say about fear and hope. None more so than when he says that fear is inside all of us, yet a single shred of hope is enough to overcome it. This story does a fine job of showing what Superman’s fears are. An inspiring notion that gives us mere mortals hope that we, too, can overcome our fears with hope. The key is focusing on the joy, love, and hope in our hearts.
The overall composition of this story is great. The real star here is the coloring. And, in a two-page spread that depicts all of Superman’s fears, the colors are vibrant and crisp.
Of the three, this story was my least favorite. However, that being said, this chapter provided a great examination of the roles fear and hope play in determining the quality of life we can try to have.
STORY #3: Breaking Point
The final story of Superman Volume 5: Hopes and Fears focuses on Lois Lane. And, it reminds us why she is Clark’s equal in every way. The story involves her tracking down Deathstroke to interview him for the Daily Planet. Things turn upside down when she ends up being his target for a hit. This plays on Clark’s fear of losing Lois.
Of the three stories, I liked the art here the best. Tyler Kirkham does some dynamic work here. His inking really lent some depth and emotion to the proceedings. One page, in particular, has stood out in my mind since I first saw it. It is the page where Lois finally tracks down Deathstroke in a shaded alleyway in Prague.
James Bonny’s writing is fantastic. He really nails Lois as a fierce, investigative journalist and overall badass. Bonny’s pacing was tight, and he wrote the action very fluidly. There was even an intriguing reveal as to who hired Deathstroke to test Superman. The action between Deathstroke and Superman was intense. Deathstroke’s skill was on full display as he went toe-to-toe with the man of steel. The matchup was believable and well-executed.
Verdict: Buy it.
Superman Volume 5: Hopes and Fears was a wonderful examination of how hope and fear can be driving forces in our lives. And Superman, the ultimate Boy Scout, teaches us how to have hope in spite of our greatest fears. Something we could all stand to do a little better at during these trying times.