Review by: Charles E. Henning Written by: Micheal Turner, Joe Kelly Art by: Talent Caldwell Published by: DC Comics
“We all feel that way sometimes. Powerless. Like puppets hanging from God’s fingertips.”
At it’s core, I feel Superman: Godfall is an allegory. A metaphorical tale about the mundane existence a majority of us all live. Let’s be honest folks, none of us are Indiana Jones, and the only Holy Grail we are searching for is the great white porcelain throne on Taco Tuesday. But as Switchfoot sang years ago, “We are meant to live for so much more.” We start our story off with seeing Kal-El in a handful of situations not often seen. These include riding a motorcycle, burning breakfast and even being married to a woman who isn’t a world known journalist. In other words, “domesticated.” Not quite a house husband, but at least a little neutered. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention….powerless. No flight, no heat vision, not in the least bit (yep, I’m going to say it) super. Then again, are you really powerless if you never knew you had powers in the first place? In this reality, Kal-El is a government worker for a near communist Krypton. A boring job on any planet for sure. However, while on a motorcycle ride home from work, he is attacked by a gang of renegade aliens shattering his illusion of normalcy. While fighting for his life, Kal -El is hit with a strange ray of light. This of course, awakens something deep inside of Kal-El and I’m not talking about an emo Clark Kent. “This morning, I woke up a nobody. An hour later I was the target for alien guerillas looking for someone to hurt, and then….I shot fire from my eyes.”
This reminds me of coworkers talking down to us after things finally start going our way. Saying things like “Good for you kid, but the truth is you just got lucky. Don’t lose yourself thinking you are more than us. You belong down here in the trenches, just like you have always been.” Of course, we know Kal-El isn’t just daydreaming. And in fact, he is getting far left from lucky when tragedy strikes amidst the arrival of more new powers. This is the part of the story where our hero finally starts to realize his full potential, but there is no time to celebrate. If you ever thought freeze breathe was one of Kal- El’s lamer powers, this scene may change your mind. Mind you this is no Marvel movie; there will be no laughter here. On the other hand, there may be a shed tear or two. As many learn along the way, tragedy brings our greatest strengths to the surface. And along with that, our loved ones begin to show their true colors. Kal-El discovers the hard way that sometimes our friends become enemies and our enemies become allies. But as the saying goes, it is always darkest before dawn. When everything appears to have fallen apart for Kal-El, he finally sees all the puzzle pieces laying before him. I have to admit, while reading this very fast paced story arc, I actually found myself scratching my head. While a good read, I just couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on. I actually convinced myself that I might be reading an Elseworld comic. Then a little more than halfway through the story, the twist is revealed. Boom! Okay, it makes sense now. Flip back a page, okay maybe two pages. Wait, how didn’t I see that before? Don’t worry, this isn’t a pulled punch here. This isn’t one of those stories where things don’t add up. Neither a taped on ending nor a quick rewrite. This is more of an aha moment. Quite like many moments we have in our own lives. Why didn’t it work out with those last three girlfriends? Why did I get fired from that job I hated? The truth is, everything you thought was perfect may simply be just a lie. Superman: Godfall is a tale of many truths. I hope you can find some meaning in it like I did. I have heard other people call it a thinly veiled take on religion, but I don’t necessarily agree. I can see the similarities, but I really feel you can take more than just a “God” aspect out of the ordeal. Faith or no faith, this story can lift you out of where you are and give you some hope in heading for a different direction. Then again folks, this is just a comic book. Take it with a grain of salt.