Superman Unchained #3: Wraith


Superman’s story is heating up. Writer Scott Snyder’s swing at the first superhero takes an interesting turn in issue #3. For those who sought a big battle between our Superman and the super powered giant revealed as Wraith in issue #3 of Superman Unchained, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Don’t worry, some kind of throw down is imminent, but not now. Snyder is looking to build a bigger story, something detailing General Lane’s desire to use power instead of diplomacy.

At the end of issue #2, Superman had been sent to his knees by both the force of the Wraith, and a sonic blast from General Lane’s latest weapons. Issue #3 picks up with Superman down, red-eyed and ready to take out Lane’s weapons. He’s in an odd predicament though. Between Wraith and Lane, Superman is not the most powerful alien in the room. Sure, Superman attempts to beat his chest, but Wraith soon shows him just how insignificant his powers truly are.

From there, Snyder begins to push the story arc into the next phase. We get an idea of where Wraith came from and how he ended up working for the United States. Snyder even sneaks in the idea that maybe this wasn’t an accident, something he could exploit later on in the series. Lois Lane is in a heap of trouble, crashing a plane into a frozen lake and discovering a miracle. Finally, we have Lex Luthor, who is using his mechanically animated, comatose self to escape his captors. Where is Lex headed? The Snyder-penned and Dustin Ngyuen-drawn epilogue wraps that up in a peculiar way.

Let’s be honest, Superman Unchained is the best thing going for Superman fans. Until DC mops up the mess left by Superman and Action Comics, those who love the big blue boy scout should turn to Unchained. Superman is most interesting when he’s up against something he can’t power through. Wraith is something he can’t beat, something that will ultimately seek to do him harm. General Lane has called Superman’s character into question. It’s a psychological and physical gut-check, one that creates the drama for the series. Couple that with this bizarre Lex Luthor turn, and Unchained makes Superman interesting again.

Jim Lee’s art. It’s hard to write about simply because there’s little left to say. His line work is incredible, his detail work near perfect, every panel he touches is a mini-masterpiece no matter how insignificant it seems. Lee knows how to create drama through character faces, and knows how to unleash action. His level of professionalism and ability, issue after issue, is astounding. Superman Unchained is no different.

Superman Unchained reinvigorates the hero through keen insight and flawless art. There’s a reason Superman has been around seventy-five years. Snyder and Lee take those reasons and ramp them up as high as they can.

(4 Story, 4.5 Art) 


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