What is this all about?
In this issue, Superman continues his fight with Parallax and Sinestro. Parallax has control of Superman and is using his power to fight his own battle with Sinestro. Sinestro is supremely confident that he’ll bring Parallax to submission and defeat Superman with his great might. In this story, Superman is able to confront his deepest fears and by doing so keep his family safe.
The story begins with Superman possessed by the evil parasite Parallax who is using Superman’s powers to fight Sinestro. Parallax appears to have the upper hand; however, Sinestro utilizes support from a group called the Weaponers to neutralize Superman. Superman is brought underground and out of contact with the sun, which would regenerate and strengthen him. However, a panel clearly shows him wearing a yellow ring, which will come into play later in the issue. Sinestro is determined to drive every bit of Parallax out of Superman. The book does not explain why Parallax and Sinestro are in conflict. Superman’s motivation is connected to his desire to keep his son safe. However, we are not reminded of this until the end of the story.
Parallax claims that fear can overcome courage. However, Superman confronts his belief assuring Parallax that courage is always stronger than fear. We are provided with a series of panels depicting all of Superman’s greatest fears. Superman sees Metropolis in flames, Louis dying, Jon being teased by bullies, and finally, Jon accusing Superman of being a neglectful father. The story transitions back to the present with Superman stating to Sinestro, “I believe in something greater than fear”. Tracking the emotional importance of the story is difficult and convoluted. Superman’s fears are depicted as real; however, they directly contradict his own words to Sinestro earlier in the panel. The reader is left wondering if Superman is delusional, courageous, or just a victim.
Sinestro is helped by Lyssa Drak and a group of lightning-wielding beings named the "Weaponers". Weaponers can use their lightning to attack or transport others. Sinestro demonstrates leadership over these beings and they are fighting on his side. However, Sinestro, in his rage and determination, attacks one of the Weaponers who is saved by Superman. This act of compassion on Superman’s part begins to win over the group of Weaponers.
Superman subdues Sinestro and then confronts Parallax. He says to Parallax, “give me the worst that you've got”. Superman makes the argument that everyone has fear but everyone has joy, hope, and love in their hearts, as well. He puts on a yellow ring-while enveloped by Parallax. Superman claims, “A single ray of hope can hold all the fear in the universe at bay”, and he proceeds to defeat Parallax by sucking his presence into the yellow ring, which formerly belonged to Sinestro. Superman’s transition from being controlled by Parallax to defeating both of his enemies happens extremely fast and is hard to track. Superman’s message to the Weaponers, that positive choices can overcome our fears, is a powerful message. However, the conflict between Parallax and Sinestro lacked meaning because the reason for their conflict was not rooted in anything tangible.
The conflict in the story involves Parallax, Superman, and Sinestro. However, Superman correctly identifies fear as the greatest enemy for everyone. Superman uses his courage and willingness to show compassion, even towards his enemies, as a springboard to speak out against letting fear rule. The story comes full circle as Superman watches his son, Jon, sleeping safely in his bed. Ultimately, the story felt detached from what’s been happening in this book since Rebirth which limited its impactfulness. The art was beautiful and the story involved, historically, three very interesting characters. The overall message, to make choices daily to overcome our fears, is an important one in our day and time.
Reviewed by Tom Zimm Superman #30 A moment longer part 2, hopes and fears Written by Keith Champagne Art by: Ed Benes, Tyler Kirkham & Philip Tan; Colors by, Dinei Ribeiro, Tomeu Morey & Sunny Gho; Letters by, Rob Leigh Published by DC Release Date: 09/06/2017