Review by Frank Plowright
One has to feel a little sorry for Greg Rucka. Over the course of Unconventional Warfare and That Healing Touch he’s gradually been building a shadowy, powerful and manipulative villain in Ruin, who has a seemingly intimate knowledge of Superman’s weaknesses and friends. Yet when the time comes for the big pay-off story he’s forced to postpone it due to having to shoehorn in all kinds of other material.
Superman’s story here is continually crossing over with other titles published around the same time, requiring significant info-dumps in the form of text pages. This is better than avoiding the information, or a commercial ploy of merely directing the reader to other books, but still makes for a fragmentary read. So does the intrusion of these plots into Superman. Much of the mid-section is more to do with events in Identity Crisis, The Omac Project and Infinite Crisis. This distracts from the plot most readers would surely prefer to see take precedence. If the tension matched that plot there would be no problem, but Rucka would clearly prefer not to deal with events from elsewhere, and these issues are scripted by the team of Nunzio deFilippis and Christina Weir.
When left to his own devices Rucka supplies the goods. There’s an excellent opening chapter counterpointing an article Lois Lane is writing about Superman with his ongoing investigation into Ruin. This concludes with Ruin being unmasked and revealed as the person that writer Greg Rucka has been hinting is responsible. The following chapters, however, sow considerable doubt.
Lois Lane proves remarkably persistent in researching events in Umac in which she has a personal interest, and suspicions that they were initiated simply to force Superman’s involvement, and Lieutenant Lupe Leocadio proves equally persistent in tracking down Ruin. The ultimate revelation may disappoint, however.
Karl Kerschl draws most of the book, his storytelling clear, his action scenes kinetic and the human moments given due emotional weight. The conclusion is the work of Renato Guedes, from his contributions here and previously an extremely adaptable artist. His thin line is slightly more decorative, and he’s also responsible for colouring his work.