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Review: 'Superman Unchained' #5

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Superman Unchained #5

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There are moments of backstory in this issue that are well told tales of Clark growing up and discovering his powers. It had a lot of heart put into it and the art fit perfectly into that story. Dustin Nguyen provides artwork for the flashback sequences and it really illustrates the telling of who Superman is but what makes it really work is the way bits of it are sprinkled throughout the main story.

This issue also still has Superman working with Wraith. It's a strange alliance and one we'll have to keep a close eye on. More and more, Wraith is becoming an interesting character. It's fascinating to see the details of his story trickle out and for Superman to be able to interact with someone close to the same power level. He's already told Superman some things about his powers he wasn't familiar with.

Of course there is more to the issue than just Superman and Wraith. Lois has found herself captured by Ascension. Lois was featured some more in this issue and faced off against a villain far more powerful than her. You have to love seeing Lois in such a feisty manner. Hopefully it won't mean the end for her.

Although I missed seeing Lex Luthor, this issue may be the best of the series so far. Scott Snyder finally reveals his intent behind juxtaposing Wraith against Superman. This story is less about seeing two ubermensch go head to head and more about exploring the tension between dueling notions: Being true to one's self against subjugating individuality in service to a greater cause. In this regard, Snyder accomplishes something many writers struggle to do: Make Superman human. Artistically, Jim Lee continues to deliver the sort of superhero style that he's built his reputation on in the main storyline; however, it is Dustin Nguyen who truly stands out in this issue. His warm, lush watercolors capture the sense of nostalgia, which our most cherished memories often bring, during the flashbacks to Clark's first discovery of his powers. These sequences remind me how much I love origin stories when they are done well like this (even if it is just a snippet of Superman's origin).

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