Superman #14

by Alex J. on November 30, 2012

Superman #14

Superman has always been a problem character.  The thing is that writing a good story for the Man of Steel actually isn’t an impossible task, it’s just a very difficult one.  After all, what challenges can a writer present for this god-like being with superpowers that incorporate everything from heat vision to ventriloquism?  I would love to say that the H'el on Earth series does this brilliantly with an antagonist who is not only able to stand up to Superman, but who is also interesting to read about.  However, if I were to say that, then it would be a complete lie.


H’el on Earth is another story arc that spans multiple series.  This time, the good folks at DC have informed us that in order to understand this story, we will also have to pick up some Superboy and Supergirl issues.  Apparently, according to this company, this is the only way to sell your products if you’re in the comics business.


So, for those who have missed out on the thrilling adventure thus far, a quick recap might be in order.  Just in case the hint wasn’t obvious, this is the part of the review with spoilers.


First, we have Clark Kent who decides to leave his job with a speech that was adequately compared to a third grader’s insufferable prattle about what he wants to be when he grows up.  Then we have Superman fighting a giant Kryptonian dragon that happens to be partially dead.  To make things even weirder, we have the Man of Steel hurled into Ireland by said dragon and then eventually meeting up with Supergirl who yells at her cousin for killing the giant, destructive beast.


As Superman and Supergirl argue about the fate of the poor monster, we see that they are actually being watched by some creepy voyeur who happens to be only half dressed.  This pervert is revealed to us as some guy called H’el.  This man with the incredibly subtle name happens to also be a Kryptonian because, as we’ve all learned during the Silver Age of Comics, the Last Son of Krypton was actually an ironic title for Superman.


We also see that Krypton was apparently from the Star Wars galaxy because it is explained to us that anyone from the planet has an inbred distrust of clones.  As a result, our cleverly named antagonist proceeds to capture Superboy, brings the kid to Supergirl's underwater Fortress of Solitude, and asks her if she wants her cousin’s genetic duplicate murdered.  If you think this is all over the edge, stay tuned, because it gets creepier.


Kara tells He’l that she wants to check with her cousin to see if he’s cool with the murder of a teenager.  I understand that Superman fans are probably wondering what is wrong with this girl for assuming, even for a split second, that the boy scout of the metahuman world would allow such a thing, but I kind of understand her point.  I mean, a teenager with powers equal to the strongest being on Earth plus some telekinesis sounds really annoying if not downright dangerous.


Supergirl then barges into Clark Kent’s apartment dressed in her costume only to find that he is with Lois Lane.  The few readers who still care at this point are left wondering how Superman is going to get out of this messy situation.


That basically sums up everything that has so far occurred in this comic series.  If you think it all sounds completely ridiculous, then you are right.  Superman #14 only continues to add to the outrageousness of this story arc.


This issue opens up with the argument between Lois Lane and Clark Kent.  It turns out that Flashpoint left these two individuals in a relationship that is fraught with sexual tension.  Fortunately, the heated discussion between these characters leads to the awkwardness of reading Superman say the words “Booty call.”  For some reason, it just feels wrong to see the farm boy who grew up in a place called Smallville utter this phrase.


From this point on, the issue just degrades further.  The character of H’el comes off just as one-dimensional as Superman himself when left in the hands of bad writers.  As any classic villain, he spews out a back story in an attempt to show his adversary that they aren’t so different after all.  The result is that the readers begin to understand just how lazy the writers were when they came up with this antagonist.


From what can be seen so far in the story, it appears that H’el was created just to give Superman another punching bag.  Sure, there are times when the writers attempt to give us moral questions, but even these are clichéd and come off as insincere attempts in between fight scenes.  Even H’el’s attempt to distance Kal-El from his cousin is so ill-conceived that one doesn’t need X-Ray vision to see through such an obvious ploy.


As was stated above, it takes very talented and extraordinary writing to make a good Superman story.  Unfortunately, H’el on Earth has so far proven to lack this integral ingredient, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope that this story will improve.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


lucstclair's picture

Your review doesn't surprize me one bit, I never liked this New 52 Superman and I don't think I ever will. That doesn't mean I didn't like your review, it was really good.