Written by: Christopher Priest
Art by: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz
Colors by: Jeremy Cox
Letters by: Willie Schubert
Cover art by: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz
Cover price: $4.99
Release date: June 13, 2023
Oof! What is Christopher Priest trying to do with this title? In Superman: Lost #4, Priest has a golden opportunity to tell far-out adventures that don’t need to adhere to any continuity related to Earth, and he’s absolutely squandering it. Why? Because Superman isn’t doing anything of substance whatsoever.
When last we left Superman, he intervened with the population of an alien world to suggest they modify their planetary defense systems to stop killing pods of space dolphins. Superman didn’t actually accomplish anything. He just offered the suggestion that the aliens may or may not take.
Now, Superman returns to “Kansas” on Tapestry, near the city of “New-Ark” because he let his emotions get the better of him during the space dolphin debacle, and he crushed his AI assistant with the coordinates home. Years later, Clark Kent makes himself at home in a facsimile of the Kent farm he built in “Kansas” while occasionally venturing out to “New-Ark” to continue being a superhero. Suddenly, he receives word the citizens of “New-Ark” are under attack by an alien invasion. Oddly enough, the invasion turns out to be a salvage mission commissioned by “Victor” because the ignorant folks of “New-Ark” would rather believe in Fake News than live in Utopia.
Oh, boy! There’s so much to unpack in this standard-sized-yet-overpriced issue, and very little of it is good.
Priest is trying to draw thinly-veiled metaphors for real-world social issues, but it’s all mashed together in a bizarre hodgepodge of references, so no one point comes through clearly. The story references, Fake News/Misinformation, people voting against their own best interests on everything from school lunches to social programs, Victor suggests Utopia is achieved via socialism but willingly acknowledges the citizens of “New-Ark” were voted out because they won’t believe in Utopia, suggesting people would rather believe lies, global warming as a conspiracy, and more.
There are so many social references lumped together, the plot (if you can call it that) turns out to be mostly gibberish. If you peel back the layers, the citizens of “New-Ark” are under attack by a scavenger race who are so thoughtless, they didn’t even realize they were harming anyone. Superman moves to intervene (again), and that’s about it.
If you look at the writing execution, the issue (much like the series) falls apart. There is no clear plot. A conflict arises, but Superman makes almost no progress toward doing anything about it or resuming his trip home. The pacing is impossible to quantify because the plot is indecipherable, so you don’t know how fast or slow you’re going other than through the issue count. And the dialog reads like a city hall council’s meeting agenda.
This comic is nonsense.
If there’s one bright spot, it’s Carlo Pagulayan and Jason Paz’s art. You can’t fault the visuals because this comic looks great, but this is one of the few times I’m comfortable affirming the art is wasted on this script.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Bits and Pieces:
Superman: Lost #4 is gibberish wrapped in nonsense. Priest is going out of his way to use Superman’s time lost in space to create as many on-the-nose metaphors for real-life social ills as possible. It reads like a city hall meeting agenda rattled off in random order, printed on excellent art. If Priest is using Superman’s predicament to make a soapbox point, he’s missing the mark spectacularly.