REVIEW: ‘Superman: Red & Blue,’ Issue #5

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Superman: Red and Blue #5

Superman: Red & Blue #5 is an anthology series published by DC Comics. In line with the previous installments, this issue contains five stories focused on the Man of Steel. “Fetch” is written by Judd Winick, illustrated by Ibrahim Moustafa, and lettered by Wes Abbott. “De-Escalation” is written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Valentine De Landro, and lettered by Abbott. “Your Favorite” is written by Josh Williamson, penciled by Chris Sprouse, inked by Karl Story, colored by Hi-Fi, and lettered by Josh Reed. “Red Sun…Blue Dot” is written and illustrated by Mark Buckingham, colored by Lee Loughridge, and lettered by Pat Brosseau. Finally, “Generations” is written, illustrated, and lettered by Daniel Warren Johnson.

Where previous installments of Superman: Red & Blue focused on Superman’s friends and foes, respectively, this issue chooses to chronicle various points in his life-particularly in his childhood. “Red Sun…Blue Dot” and “Fetch” are the biggest examples of this, with the former recounting Kal-El’s journey from Krypton to Earth and “Fetch” featuring a young Clark meeting Krypto the Superdog. “Fetch” is an utterly heartwarming tale, with Winick’s script exploring the bond between Clark and Krypto and how important it is for Clark to encounter another Kryptonian. Moustafa’s art has a contrast between high-soaring scenes with Clark and Krypto playing a super-speed game of fetch and small, human moments with a boy and his dog watching the sunrise. “Red Sun…Blue Dot” is one massive set piece, as Buckingham illustrates Kal-El’s pod traveling through pods of space whales and past multiple planets as Jor-El narrates Krypton’s final hours.

Another surprisingly moving story is “Your Favorite,” which centers around ‘Superman’s Pal’ Jimmy Olsen as he is asked what his favorite Superman pic is. Willamson chooses a different approach from this story, eschewing the high-stakes conflict and concepts of The Flash and Infinite Frontier for a more subdued approach. It definitely works here, as the picture that Jimmy picks is a reminder that for all of his alien origins and superpowers, Superman is human at heart. Sprouse, Story, and Hi-Fi utilize the series’ titular color scheme to great effect, with Hi-Fi dividing the red and blue hues among a nine-page grid that features Superman battling Lex Luthor and a collection of foes with Jimmy rushing to get the shot. Sprouse and Story also give a classic look to the story, especially with their depiction of Superman, which resembles the late Christopher Reeve.

However, “De-Escalation” and “Generations” are the best, as well as the most emotional stories in the book. Wilson, best known as the co-creator of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel writes a tense yet emotional tale in “De-Escalation,” where Clark manages to talk down a young robber attempting to hold up a corner store he frequents. She never has Clark transform into Superman, showing that it’s one thing to fight with Doomsday or General Zod than it is to talk down a scared kid. De Landro’s artwork also has Clark Kent bearing a resemblance to Reeve, with a mostly black and white color scheme. “Generations” chronicles the life of Clark’s adoptive father, Jonathan, and then seamlessly transitions to Superman’s life as a hero-with a simple phrase repeated throughout. This story shows the impact that Jonathan had on Clark and proves that whether it’s Superman or Beta Ray Bill, Johnson knows how to capture the whole of the characters he writes-both in soulful prose and dynamic artwork.

Superman: Red & Blue #5 is packed full of emotion from the first page to the last, featuring a collection of stories that reinforce the Man of Steel’s humanity. With only one issue left, I can only hope that this series ends on a high note.

Superman: Red & Blue #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Superman: Red & Blue #5
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TL;DR

Superman: Red & Blue #5 is packed full of emotion from the first page to the last, featuring a collection of stories that reinforce the Man of Steel’s humanity. With only one issue left, I can only hope that this series ends on a high note.