SUPERMAN #27 by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Scott Godlewski
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
With a family centric story, SUPERMAN #27 isn't a superhero tale. As the opening to the "Declaration" arc, writers Tomasi and Gleason give us a taste of Super-Dad and some American history -- although the textbook feel might not appeal to every reader.
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The DC Rebirth run of SUPERMAN has been focused solely on family. Because of that, I’ve developed a deep love for the character. After the recent cataclysmic events of “Black Dawn,” Superman has decided to reveal Superboy to the public. With that new exposure comes new problems. SUPERMAN #27 sees the Kent family overworked and lacking time as a family with their many duties. So, to give them a chance to relax, Lois does what any sane person would do. She rents a van and takes her family cross-country to celebrate America’s greatest landmarks. It’s time to hit the road with America’s favorite family, the Kents!

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Fourth of July Fervor

Superman #27
Courtesy of DC Comics

SUPERMAN #27 opens at night, with the titular hero flying home from a Justice League mission. As he approaches Hamilton County, the many hours of missions and journalism hit him hard as his eyes shut and he crashes into the ground. The next morning, the family sets out on their road trip, stopping at Niagra Falls, Philadelphia, and several war monuments along the way.

So that’s about it. SUPERMAN #27 is the opening chapter of the newest story arc, “Declaration,” but besides the opening and closing scenes, this isn’t a superhero story. So, in many ways, it reads like a history book. In some moments, it was fascinating, with Lois expounding on the greater history of Deborah Sampson or Jon explaining the horrors of World War I. For the most part, though, it never quite strays outside of a textbook territory. There was no real plot to this opening chapter, but I never found this truly taxing.

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As the opening salvo for “Declaration,” writer Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason deviate from prior arcs. This is a calm, family moment. This is the flow of day-to-day life. Anyone who has studied Hero with a Thousand Faces understands story openings have to establish the way life was at the start. Before “Declaration,” Tomasi and Gleason opened their stories with metaphorical fireworks, gripping you right away and anchoring the story as a superhero tale. Yet SUPERMAN #27 isn’t one of those stories. The tale is centered on family, and while that may irk some readers, I found it rather touching.

Exploring Your Roots

Superman #27
Courtesy of DC Comics

One of my favorite SUPERMAN issues in the Rebirth run is SUPERMAN #7. This issue focused on the Kent family attending a carnival, playing games, and going on rides. There’s still some superhero-ing, but it’s done on a small scale. Superman rushes off and stops some teenagers from robbing the carnival ticket booth. So the focus there was family and community, and the story shined a light on the humanity of Clark Kent.

Move ahead twenty issues, and Tomasi and Gleason are at it again, giving us a firm anchor into the man behind the Superman. The first stop on the family’s tour is Niagra Falls, where Jon and Clark go surfing over the edge. For any other comic book, this would be an inane moment that should be avoided for the plot’s sake. Yet for SUPERMAN #27, this is the plot. It’s moments like these that make this series shine, where Superman is just Super-Dad. When Clark awkwardly stands in the doorway with two glasses of wine, and asks Lois, “Wanna look at the stars and make out?” you instantly fall more in love with these characters.

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So my one issue, in terms of character, is Lois. I love Lois Lane-Kent and have really enjoyed her throughout the SUPERMAN series. Yet, she barely makes an impact in this issue outside of her American historical knowledge. So she just didn’t get her chance to shine in this installment like her husband and son did, which is uncommon for this series. I can only hope that this will be remedied in the coming issues.

Final Thoughts: SUPERMAN #27

SUPERMAN #27 isn’t for every reader. Those looking for a straightforward superhero tale probably won’t enjoy this narrative. Clark doesn’t even wear his costume except for three separate pages. For those uninterested in American history, the textbook style of storytelling can be far too matter-of-fact. So it doesn’t feel natural in the midst of this touching family narrative.

So who will enjoy this issue? I think anyone that’s a true Superman fan will be drawn in. The art alone should bring in readers. Scott Godlewski’s work strikes a perfect balance between his predecessors’, leaning on an action/cartoon style that feels light and airy amidst the fun of this issue. At its heart, this is a story to balance the divine being that is the Man of Steel. It feels slow-paced and fun. The reader gets to see Super-Dad come alive, and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. This wasn’t a great Superman story, but it did good by Clark Kent.

2 Comments

  1. Jonah Falcon

    July 20, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I liked it. It was a nice breather episode, and far better than, say, Action Comics #701.

    Reply

    • AJ Zender

      July 22, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I completely agree. It was a really cool breather, and did a great job showing a different, important side of Superman. I haven’t read Action Comics 701, though it is somewhat infamous…

      Reply

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