Superman: Redemption takes on some heady issues in the graphic novel’s compilation of three stories, kind of making for an anthology of the power of belief. This is one of those graphic novels that you can hurry through or take your times and read a story every now and again.
I liked Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco’s story, “Angel,” which is where the cover comes from. Although the idea of supermen rising to near godhood among the rest of us is an old one, Busiek makes it personal through his character, Barbara Johnson. This story was touted as being the first Superman had to deal with regarding someone that thought they could just call him whenever they needed him (which makes me think of him constantly listening for Lois’s voice or Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch).
Although Superman struggles with Barbara Johnson’s needs and how to handle it, the story does become a little preachy. The saccharine sweet ending especially lends to this, even though the tale probably couldn’t be resolved happily any other way. The art is really good and Superman looks good in action, but the back and forth with the action development slows things down a little.
Fabian Nicieza strikes a different chord for belief in “Redemption.” This story is longer than the first, but probably could have been resolved just as quickly. The author throws in a crisis in Africa and Superman’s own religious upbringing and choice about church attendance. I enjoyed the scenes with Superman talking to Lois and Ma Kent, but it delayed the inevitable because the reader knows how the tale has to end. Allan Goldman’s art is striking and I liked his panels a lot. Everything has a finished look to it and I got the sense of a complete world rather than stripped down images you can sometimes get.
“The Beast From Krypton” is just a fun-filled romp in a way. Superman becomes possessed by a demon and it takes Zatanna and the Phantom Stranger to pull him from the brink. There are a lot of scenes in this issue that you really wouldn’t expect to see in the regular comic. Superman spitballing Luthor to death was a hoot and made me laugh out loud. I’ve been reading about Superman for years and I never once thought what an incredible weapon a super-powered spitball would be. I’ll never forget it now, though. Walter Simonson’s art was kind of edgy and different, and reminded me of the heavy inks on a Jack Kirby story.
All in all, this anthology was easy to read and leaves the reader with a little to think about and a big chuckle at the end.