Thus far, James Robinson’s work on Superman has been pretty stellar non-stop since Superman left the title to charmingly awkward Daxamite Mon-El. With the recent “Codename: Patriot” arc spread across all Superman titles (and a one-shot), however, the recently-excellent Superman family books have devolved into a predictable mess, and worse yet, a predictable mess that requires you to be reading all the Superman family titles to enjoy.
The book starts in the middle of a conflict about… something… between Kara and Mon-El and Nightwing and Flamebird, and things don’t get much clearer from there. A lot happens in the issue, but it’s all so intricately tied into the “Codename: Patriot” story that regular readers of Robinson’s run shouldn’t even bother picking the book up unless they’ve invested in the entire arc. This is not to say that you can’t follow what’s happening; after a few pages to orient yourself, you should have no trouble with that. The problem comes with the realization that you just won’t care to – these problems, taken out of context, seem trite and dull. Even Guedes, normally excellent, offers a clunky opening fight scene, though he comes back up to his usual high standards shortly thereafter.
Supposedly, Gail Simone’s much-rumored Big Event for next year has been either pushed back or shelved indefinitely in favor of a Johns-penned Earth/Krypton war. If “Codename: Patriot” is any hint at all as to what we could expect from such an event, all it will do is drag a number of otherwise excellent titles through the mud in pursuit of the sort of racial-themed action books that X-Men has been doing pretty much nonstop for the last 40 years. We get it: humans hate everyone and everything indiscriminately. Can we move on yet?
- Cal Cleary