Page 45 Review by Stephen
Superman's best when you just dip in.
Actually, I'd go further: all superheroes are best dipped into. Their artificially long-term life leads to so much silliness, padding, inconsistency, strains of credulity above and beyond their basic premise, and after 80 years (condensed into 10 or so in DC Land) it's more than a little odd to find Clark Kent still being barked at by would-be father figure Perry after all that they've gone through together. Let's not even get into Jimmy Olsen in any way, shape or form. But if you ignore almost everything that has gone before in this space-chap's history (and I have as much as possible over my years of reading comics), it then doesn't matter. Okay, Perry is barking at Clark - that's what he does. Fine.
Now that I've got that out of my system, this is meatier than most Superman stories (outside of ALL-STAR SUPERMAN and KINGDOM COME), both because it boasts slick visuals by DOOMSDAY CLOCK's Gary Frank (the man who has made an art out of depicting well-weighted levitation), and through having something to say.
Several things, actually.
Imagine a childhood in which you're unable to interact with your peers properly, for fear of breaking them. Also because you're lying to them every single day, hiding the fact that you're an alien.
Childhood is a very physical experience full of rough and tumble, be it sports, climbing trees or wrestling your best friend to the ground because he said something stupid, then hitting him over the head with a metal-topped cricket stump. For young Clark Kent that would come with its risks. But then into his life came The Legion Of Superheroes: kids from the future built of much sturdier stock who don't break so easily, and don't care if you're an alien because they're from numerous different planets themselves. Suddenly you can play because they open up a temporary temporal doorway to fantastical adventures in which Clark can be all that he is without destroying all that he loves. Under such circumstances, you're going to bond...
Since then life on Earth has changed. I don't mean now, I mean in the future where The Legion Of Superheroes reside.
For a start, they're on the run, specifically because they're aliens. Earth is no longer so welcome to aliens as it used to be, as the baby boy of a dying alien race finds out, catapulted into space (as the last son of Krypton was) in the hope that he could be received and fostered as warmly as his predecessor.
Nope. Earth has united in its xenophobia (it's nice to know we can unite over something, however paradoxical), dispelled the myth through archaeological evidence that Superman was anything other than a super-human born in Smallville, and used this to twist everything that Kal-El ever stood for, which is embracing diversity and helping all others around you, regardless of whether they're your own kind. Instead it's now detention camps for "foreigners" - a bit like those we don't like to talk about in England and America right now - and justice is upheld by a group of strictly Earth-born superheroes who... hmmm... did they fail their auditions for the Legion Of Superheroes? There's nothing quite as human as a chip on your shoulder.
What's Superman going to make of this perversion? Well, he's going to be awfully polite, obviously. I wish for once he'd just lose his temper.
But why exactly do the Legion, his friends since childhood, not want him there? It may have something to do with that old shepherds' proverb:
Red sky at night...? Shepherd's delight!
Red sun in the morning then all day long? That's fairly deleterious for your average Kryptonian, son.