Subway Shorts – What the…?

The latest issue of Superman finds the Kent family on a vacation road trip and moralizing about America. In Batman, we get… the origin of Kite Man… Is that really his name? Seriously, I don’t know what’s going on here.

Superman 27
Written by Peter J. Tomasi 
Art by Scott Godlewski and Gabe Eltaeb 

This is probably the first issue of Superman in the Rebirth era that I truly didn’t like. The Kent family ends up piling into an RV and goes on a road trip to see some historic American landmarks and – outside of Jon and Clark body surfing down Niagara Falls – Clark and Lois moralizing about the state of the country.

The family visits sites in New York and Philadelphia and tries to teach Jon lessons about right and wrong, but everything comes off very heavy handed and preachy.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When the family meets a disabled veteran in Philadelphia and invites him to come to dinner with him, Clark gets in the face of a waitress who tells the veteran that she doesn’t want him in there making any trouble and causing a scene.

Clark’s more right-wing rail against Hollywood and praise of the military is countered by Jon apparently seeing a particularly ubiquitous bumper sticker for the first time.

Lois uses that as an opportunity to preach acceptance and tolerance of all religions and cultures. It’s a good message but, again, out of place in a Superman comic book.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the lessons and the opinions Lois and Clark are trying to teach their son here, but it came off really poorly. I understand wanting to reach out to the readers and show Superman as a beacon, someone who is always trying to do what’s right, but Tomasi’s story here just took it too far and instead of showing Superman being a moral compass, he decided to have Clark and Lois tell us what we should be thinking.

It certainly didn’t have the intended effect on me. I’ve enjoyed the more personal family stories Superman has told since Rebirth, and I’d like to see them continue, but this just brought the story into a bad direction.

This was the start of a new story arc, with the family touring the country for a bit of a break before settling in to their new life in Metropolis. I don’t know if I can handle multiple issues of this kind of thing.

Batman 27
Written by Tom King 
Art by Davide Gianfelice, Clay Mann and Danny Miki 

We take a break from the main narrative of the ongoing WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES to get an interlude set during the same timeframe. The issue sets up the inclusion of, according to the advance copy for the book, a surprising important piece of the story.

Kite Man.

No apparently not. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the character, he was created in 1960 by Bill Finger, Chris Russell and Dick Sprang. And I’m sure I’d heard it before, but they really play up Kite Man’s alter ego here for effect.

I just… Yeah. I don’t know.

I assume everything will pay off in the end, because Tom King has provided a number of good moments since he took over the main Batman title, but this just felt like a wasted issue.