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Superman #15 is the second chapter in the “Multiplicity” arc, a storyline that sees Supermen and Superwomen from across multiple Earths under threat from mysterious forces for as yet unknown reasons. It’s a crackerjack issue, albeit one I think that is a little bit hampered by its large rotating art team. Nevertheless, it further confirms that the Superman-family of titles, and this title in particular, is really nailing the kind of large-scale, imaginative adventures under which Superman thrives.
The issue finds our Superman attending a meeting of the multi-dimensional super-team that has taken on the role of opposing this threat. Writers Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason keep our starring Superman front and center among a group of alternate versions by having him immediately take action and begin formulating a plan to save the remaining Supers. If you aren’t kind of excited by familiar and new versions of Superman and his allies all teaming up as an army against an implacable threat, then I don’t know what you’re doing reading super-hero comics, frankly. Tomasi and Gleason are smart enough to know this, and don’t dilly-dally in making sure that our heroes seems proactive and competent in crafting a plan of action. Though the issue is a bit episodic in nature, revolving as it does around efforts to collect allies from different realities, the plot never loses momentum or ceases to ratchet up the tension and drive towards its climax, with the issue closing on a pretty great moment.
The art for Superman #15 was handled by a a bunch of different artists, including Ed Benes, Ryan Sook, Clay Mann and Jorge Jimenez. I like all of their work a lot, and nothing they deliver here is below their usual excellent standards, it’s more in the way the disparate styles are integrated. The book is broken up into different scenes set on different Earths, so the approach of using multiple teams should have worked perfectly. However, the transitions between the styles isn’t clear enough to keep the issue from feeling a bit disjointed. There’s an attempt to give the issue a cohesive feel so that nothing feels too different form each other, and in this case I think it works against the approach. Again, nothing I think is bad per se, but I just thought the issue wound up feeling like they needed to scramble to get the pages done to hit the deadline rather than a tightly orchestrated approach of integrating disparate styles into an intentional aesthetic. That having been said, other people may not mind the execution at all, so this is largely a personal taste thing.
On the whole, Superman #15 is yet another example of how well DC, and this creative team in particular, is handling the character right now. After the last lacklustre few years, it finally feels like Superman is connecting with readers and going on the kinds of adventures worthy of his iconic stature. This issue, despite its cosmically high stakes and serious tone, feels like an adventure that we can have fun reading, with a hero at the center that lives up to the name Superman. 8/10