Review: Superman #51

Superman faces his ultimate enemy in the latest issue of Superman written by Peter J. Tomasi and drawn by Mikel Janin.

If you want to avoid spoilers for this comic then skip to the overall section at the end.
Warning: Spoilers for Superman #51

Superman Lives

Comic panel of Superman #51
DC Comics

Superman is dying. In the Fortress of Solitude, he's being scanned. The ravages of the firepits of Apokalypse, the Kryptonite poisoning and the battle with Rao have taken their toll. Superman thinks about all the lost time. All the people he won't be able to help. Krypto growls at him as he smashes the Fortress in frustration. They look at a new statue of Ma and Pa Kent in the Fortress which is very heart-warming.

Miles away, in the Shanxi Province, there's a computer spitting a bunch of techno babble scanning for the Fortress of Solitude. A woman called Dr. Omen starts hacking into the system. Who knew the Fortress runs on Windows 10?

Superman gets a warning and heads for the computer. The computer resets the firewall and Krypto get him his cape. This looks like a job for Superman. We gotta say it's great to see Krypto back in the comics. We've missed the little guy.

There's Always a Job for Superman

Comic panel of Superman #51
DC Comics

In Smallville Superman flies up to a woman wearing a Superman shirt. Dressed as Clark he teases Lana Lang about not being strong enough to push him on the swing. They remember the days he pushed her all the way around. After she teases him she goes flying off the swing. It's a touching moment between two old friends.

They visit "Smallville Cemetary" and Clark tells Lana that he's dying. He asks her to bury him next to his parents Jonathan and Martha. She says it's morbid. But he's thinking about how the thing that's killing him helped save thousands of people. It's a wonderful way of looking at what's happening to him.

Back in Shanxi Province, Dr. Omen tells a mysterious figure in a chamber that their time to shine has come.

Lois' Best Friend

Comic panel of Superman #51
DC Comics

Meanwhile, in North Branch Minnesota outside of a diner, a policeman tells a man he matches the description of an escaped parolee from Shawshank. He bolts but gets hit with a fireball and falls in the river. A couple passing by goes to help and the guy flares up yelling "I'm Superman". He even has a Superman symbol on his chest. We have no idea where this is going.

Lois is eating alone and reading a book when Superman knocks on the windows. Lois says that after all the secret identity situation made her realize how much she misses talking to her best friend Clark. He takes her for a ride into the sky and says he wants her to tell the story of Clark Kent and Superman.

Overall: Buy Superman #51 by Peter J. Tomasi and Mikel Janin

Comic cover of Superman #51
DC Comics

While the concept behind the comic isn't ground-breaking or new Tomasi finds a way to make it feel fresh and original.
The biggest action scene in the comic involves a computer hacker, so you know it's not going to be an action-packed issue.

It's the conversations between Superman and his friends that make this comic enjoyable. As Lana and Clark remember old times and Lois reflects on their friendship we have carried along on the journey.

Mikel Janin does a remarkable job on this comic. This story is all about people and every face in the comic is expressive and powerful. From Superman's warm smile to Lana's eyes puffy from crying we get to feel everything they feel from the heart. At the same time, it has a power and majesty that makes it dynamic.

Janin's coloring is splendid as he combines muted tones and bright colors to make the figures pop out of the page.

It's rare for a comic book to be both somber and heart-warming and this comic does both exceptionally well. As Superman travels through the world visiting his friends to say goodbye you have to admire his optimistic outlook. Superman's greatest strength is not his muscles, but his heart and this comic is full of heart.

About Superman #51 by Peter J. Tomasi and Mikel Janin

  • Writer Peter J. Tomasi
  • Artwork by Mikel Janin
  • Inking by Mikel Janin
  • Color by Mikel Janin
  • Synopsis: It's the start of a new chapter in the Man of Steel's life that will change everything you know as the epic eight-part 'Super League,' all written by Peter J. Tomasi, spans BATMAN/SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN, and ACTION COMICS in April and May!  His time without powers made Kal-El realize that the world is in need of more protectors...more super-powered beings like himself. But where will he find such beings? 
  • On Sale Date: April 6, 2016
  • U.S. Price: 3.99

Final Thoughts

Superman #51 by Peter J. Tomasi and Mikel Janin is a great start to the final story arc leading to DC Rebirth and it's worth picking up.