Superman’s encounters with the dangerous and unfamiliar continue in issue #11, this time with an inter-dimensional threat that looks inspired by a famous movie monster. Superman travels all the way to Russia to investigate a research installation which is being descended on by the national military. Superman’s visit to the facility uncovers the secret mission of the sub he tried to save in issue #9.
Superman first hears of the situation as Clark Kent. As payback for standing up Lois Lane’s sister, Lucy, Kent treats the Lane sisters and Lois’ new boyfriend to a fancy dinner. Lucy and Clark get along fine, and she proposes they go bungee jumping the next morning. Things are going more smoothly than Kent imagined until Morgan Edge appears. Edge and Lois have a pointed back and forth about journalistic integrity until news about the Russian facility sends them rushing to cover the situation in their various roles.
Kent makes his way to the roof, peels off his dinner jack and dress shirt, and gets himself battle ready. Superman #11’s cover comes with the line, “Secret of the suit revealed!” and readers get to see the suit forming the armor and cape from S shield on his chest. It’s probably not the secret people had in mind when they saw the cover, and it’s a huge letdown because it doesn’t even compete with the other discovery in the book.
After Superman finds a wake of destruction and death, he speaks with Ivan, a Russian who works in security. Ivan explains that the Russians have been in want of their own super man, and after discovering another dimension full of life, something traveled through an open portal.
Whatever was in the pod that was dropped into the ocean and picked up by the Russian sub has escaped, killing scientists, soldiers, and and civilians on its way to a nuclear reactor. The inter-dimensional traveler has left no trace of life until Superman enters its crosshairs. For no particular reason, Superman comes into the battle overconfident, and the combatant shows it has the ability to cut through Superman’s armor, perform efficient sneak attacks, and use technology to take Superman down for the count.
It’s a better fight than last issue when Superman dealt with an emotionally unstable and intangible troublemaker named Anguish. This month’s battle showcases a being that speaks no language Superman can understand which allows the action to speak for itself. And while Superman is quickly overwhelmed by the interloper’s ability and tactics, there is a clearer sense of tension and danger. Things could get very physical if Superman could only gather himself and land a hit, but the issue ends without a single Superman punch landing.
The cover might sell a few copies because of what it advertises, but the bigger event in this issue is the final payoff for what was picked up in that sub in issue #9. When it finally shows its form, there are striking similarities to the Predator alien seen in movies. Both wear a mask, sport hand weapons with claws, grow their hair in dreadlocks, and wear minimal and tribal looking outfits. The look for the inter-dimensional creature seems derivative and its full-page reveal doesn’t hit home. Coupling that with the less-than-cool reveal about Superman’s suit forms a double-headed disappointment spear that makes a womp-womp sound when it hits. It’s not the most disappointing thing in the world, and there are bright spots, but overall, it’s on par with the rest of the Superman issues.
Jurgens’ pencils look good, as usual, but they’re a little more inconsistent this time around especially with wider shots when facial details get smaller. The writing is also solid, but again, nothing spectacular about this issue. There’s a potential love story building between Lucy and Clark, but the sparks aren’t flying. Storylines building tension between Lois and her boss Morgan, Lois and Clark because of the new boyfriend, and Lucy and Clark build in the background, but after a couple months of seeing the story of the Russian sub develop and turn into the main storyline, one wonders if any of these plotlines will turn into anything really significant.
Superman #11 ends with him beaten and at the mercy of the creature from another dimension. An editor’s note follows the standard tagline, Continued in the next issue of Superman! The note reads: “Provided we still have one!” Let’s hope #12 is worth the wait.
Superman #11 (2012)
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Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencils: Dan Jurgens
Inks: Jesus Merino, Vicente Cifuentes, and Rob Hunter
Colors: Hi-Fi and the Hories
Letters: Rob Leigh