REVIEW: ‘Superman: Red & Blue,’ Issue #4

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Superman: Red & Blue #4

Superman: Red & Blue #4  is an anthology series published by DC Comics. The latest issue contains five new stories, with a focus on the Man of Steel’s foes. “Namrepus” is written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Audrey Mok, colored by Jordie Bellaire and lettered by Dave Sharpe; “Prospect of Tomorrow” is written and illustrated by Francis Manapul and lettered by Sharpe; “A Little is a Lot” is written by Robert Vendetti, illustrated by Alitha Martinez, colored by Emilio Lopez, and lettered by Sharpe; “For The Man Who Has Nothing” is written by Michael W. Conrad, illustrated by Cully Hammer, and lettered by Pat Brousseau; and “#SavedBySuperman” is written by Rich Douek, illustrated by Joe Quinones, and lettered by Sharpe.

Both “Prospect of Tomorrow” and “For The Man Who Has Nothing” put the focus on Superman’s clone Bizarro, and offer a measure of empathy for the stone-skinned creature. “Prospect of Tomorrow” is visually stunning, both in terms of Manapul’s artwork which continues to cement his place as one of the best artists in the comic industry and the setting. Superman and the Endurance rover travel through the dusty red plains of Mars, with sandstorms whipping around them and pebbles bouncing off of Superman’s invulnerable flesh. The red and blue color scheme is also utilized to great effect under Manapul, with Bizarro’s costume taking on a darker hue of red and blue and Mars being a massive patch of red dust.

“For The Man Who Has Nothing” was utterly heartbreaking, as it featured Mr. Mxyzptlk using his reality-warping powers to torment Bizarro. However, Conrad and Hammer deliver a surprisingly heartfelt ending that needs to be read to be believed. One of the things I’ve always loved about Superman is that he tries to help everyone-and that help is extended to his enemies, which Conrad’s script perfectly underlines. Hammer’s angular, blocky artwork is a perfect fit for Bizarro’s craggy face and offers surprising depths of emotion throughout the story.

Mxyzptlk also features prominently in “Namrepus,” where Superman turns the tables on his fifth-dimension nemesis. Waid has written plenty of great Superman stories-including Superman: Birthright, which I still consider the definitive Superman origin story-and; here, he comes up with a unique story that flips a classic element of Superman lore. Mok’s artwork is also a delight, as it features an aesthetic similar to legendary Superman artist Curt Swan-including Mxyzptlk’s classic costume. It also marks a reunion for Waid and Mok, as the two previously worked on the Archie relaunch. Another standout tale would be “#SavedBySuperman,” which delves into how Superman would handle the social media generation. Ironically, a Robot Chicken sketch previously did the same thing-but Douek and Quinones take a decidedly more emotional turn. It’s for the best as Superman explains to vlogger Prescott Daly why he does what he does.

Superman: Red & Blue #4 offers a new perspective on one of the Man of Steel’s iconic foes while continuing to highlight Superman’s depths of compassion and drive to do the right thing. If you’re a Superman fan, you owe it to yourself to read this series.

Superman: Red & Blue #4 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

Superman: Red & Blue #4
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TL;DR

Superman: Red & Blue #4 offers a new perspective on one of the Man of Steel’s iconic foes while continuing to highlight Superman’s depths of compassion and drive to do the right thing. If you’re a Superman fan, you owe it to yourself to read this series.