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Superman: For Tomorrow Vol. 2
Review by James W. Powell

Superman: For Tomorrow Vol. 2

Brian Azzarello
Jim Lee
Scott Williams and others
Alex Sinclair
Rob Leigh and
Nick Napolitano

DC Comics
Hardcover Collection
Publish Date
August 17, 2005
Cover Price

For those of you looking for a quick, two minute review, know this, Superman: For Tomorrow Vol. 2 does not quite live up to the expectations set by the first volume (review). Close, but not quite. It ends up slipping a little too far into the realm of superhero clichés and doesn't completely satisfy.

For those looking for a little more in-depth information on what I thought about this book, read on.

In For Tomorrow Vol. 2, focus begins to shift a bit away from the mystery of The Vanishing and quickly falls into the action/adventure roles that are typical of Superman stories. Superman learns the truth about the device that caused The Vanishing, and he plans to use it again, even if it means a battle with Wonder Woman. I can't really explain too much more without getting into spoiler territory, but all you need to know is that he catches up with Lois (naturally) and must fight some super villains to save her and others.

Granted, writer Brian Azzarello stills keeps some amount of focus on Superman's internal struggle, but unfortunately, the passion isn't felt in this second half the way it was in the first. Perhaps that's because the action becomes bigger, but most likely it's due to the fact that it gets bogged down with a few too many details. There's a bit too much explanation concerning where the people of The Vanishing went and how Superman was involved. Doing so took me out of the story and I could no longer relate to our hero.

The key conflict throughout this story has been Superman's desire to live up to his father's legacy. But while Vol. 1 deals with the unknown and focuses on maintaining some mystery, all is revealed in this chapter. And for me, the reality seems a bit too cartoony and unrealistic for the powerful, almost realistic beginning. Sure, the emotion is still there, but it's a bit buried under unnecessary wizz bang action. It's one thing to relate to Superman when he's talking to a priest about what he considers to be a sin, it's another for him to be having similar struggles and revelations while he's beating the crap out of Zod with explosions going off all around and huge round house punches being thrown.

But this is, afterall, a superhero book, and some of that is to be expected. Still, I wonder if the truth behind The Vanishing and Superman's internal struggle could've stayed a little more down to earth. I won't lie, some of the fight scenes really helped this story by making the pace a little quicker and more fun, especially the battle with Wonder Woman, which was surprisingly suspenseful. But in the end, it seemed that a new understanding came too quickly for the Man of Steel, and it wasn't nearly as powerful as the scenes leading to it.


Students of comic art could use Superman: For Tomorrow Vol. 2 as an aide for learning how important an inker is to any comic story. Scott Williams has been inking Jim Lee's art for years, and he's come to enhance the artist's panels. When they team up, the art is clean and precise, even with Lee's style of using slashing lines in the details of each piece.

However, this book includes nine other inkers, and it's fairly easy to pick out many of the differences in inking styles. While one panel may be clean, another might over-emphasize the slashing lines, which gives the art an overly sketched look. It just looks sloppy. And the details get lost in the haze.

Luckily, the colors are steady and beautiful throughout. The pages are bright, vivid, and consistently powerful. Although the story is a bit more introspective, a bit more dark than most Superman books, this is definitely a superhero comic book, with bright reds and blues dominating the color palette. And that only adds to the power of the icon and helps keep the story true to Superman's nature while the story deviates into uncharted territory.

Bonus Features
Surprisingly, you don't get that much here. There's the obligatory cover reproductions, and an afterward by Jim Lee. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the bonus features is that the Jim Lee sketchbook is only two pages long, with only a handful of sketches. And unlike Vol. 1, there isn't much in the way of explanation of the sketches.
Final Words

Although the second chapter doesn't manage to reach the expectations created in the first, it does fairly well in keeping the pace and tone of the story moving in the right direction. I was hoping for something a little more darker and original than a fight with Zod at the climax, but what can you do? The art isn't as good as the first volume either, what with all the inkers taking part in the arc, but it's still Jim Lee and it's still high quality.

I recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed the first chapter, but those who haven't read the first part might want to wait until the entire story is available in trade paperback...and then borrow a friend's copy.

Slightly Recommended

Be sure to check out the review for the first volume of Superman: For Tomorrow.

James has written for such fine web sites as DVDtalk, Broken Frontier, and Paperback Reader. He lives in Denver with his lovely wife and two cats who wake him up at 3 a.m.
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