What is this about?
In this issue, Superman investigates the disappearance of dozens of children. The story begins when a boy named Zachariah is abducted while playing a handheld game in an abandoned building. Superman suppresses his own fears of losing Jon as he flies to meet a group of terrified parents. Superman tracks the boy down eventually leading to a confrontation with Parallax, then Sinestro. This book is about how fear can overcome an entire city and how finding its root cause can reveal multiple enemies.
Two weeks after Zachariah’s disappearance, Superman is shown flying to meet a group of grieving parents. A wall displays the photos of dozens of missing children. Superman states, “We all need to find that extra minute inside ourselves if we are going to hold on.” Superman wishes to reassure people that their children are safe but admits to them that he has no leads. He cautions them to be courageous. The author depicts Superman as fearful of Jonathan’s safety. Panels show inner worries that Jonathan will be missing in the morning when Superman wakes. The author effectively communicates the duality of the situation for Superman. He presents as confident to a group of parents while having fears about his son’s safety.
The villains are not immediately revealed to the casual reader. However, experienced DC fans will recognize Parallax to be the villain abducting the children early on. The initial hint comes in the opening panels when a small bright-yellow creature possesses Zachariah. Parallax is a yellow demonic parasite.The artist effectively shows the city under the control of Parallax because of their fear and paranoia. For example, Superman is viewed as looking down over the city at a skyline enveloped in yellow light. Historically, we know that Parallax gains his power and control through his victim’s fear.
A surprise comes when two children demonstrate unusual powers. For instance, both Zachariah and a young girl, while possessed by Parallax, defeat Superman by shooting him with yellow energy. The twist in the plot keeps the reader interested in the eventual outcome.
When Superman locates Parallax and confronts him, it is uncertain whether Superman will come out victorious because of the previous encounter with the two children. Unfortunately, Parallax recognizes Superman’s fear, making him vulnerable to Parallax’s control. Superman superficially claims that fear can always be overcome before giving control over to Parallax. Both the dialogue and the art show an environment filled with fear. Everything is yellow, including Parallax, the webs that have captured the abducted children, and the outlying scenery. In addition, Superman’s dialogue is centered around fear. Despite denying fear’s power, Superman actually reinforces its power by focusing on it.
Sinestro is revealed as the villain behind Parallax at the very end of the book. He was once the greatest Green Lantern turned villain after destroying his home planet becoming an enemy of the Green Lantern Corps.
“Wrong! ” “You have something that belongs to me Superman”, states Sinestro.
The story is compelling because it convinces the reader that both the people and Superman are vulnerable. It does this by effectively portraying the villains, Parallax and Sinestro, as formidable. They have quickly taken control of the city and everyone is fearful, including Superman. The story is fun because it reads as a children’s adventure and a superhero story with a cliffhanger at the end. It reminds the reader of the emotional stakes throughout. Battles between Superman and Parallax are epic. For instance, Superman is fighting off Parallax while he is depicted as being drained of his energy, all in front of dozens of abducted children. The story ends with a cliffhanger. What are Sinestro’s intentions? Will Superman break free and will overcome Parallax and defeat Sinestro!?
Reviewed by Tom Zimm
Superman #29 A Minute Longer
Written by Keith Champagne
Art by: Pencils by Doug Mahnke; Inks by Jaime Mendoza with Scott Hanna & Rob Hunter; Colors by Wil Quintana and Tony Avina; Letters by Rob Leigh
Published by Publisher DC
Release Date: 8/16/2017