Because I don’t keep up with this title, I was a little concerned that I might be at a bit of a loss starting this without having read Vol 4, but I needn’t have worried.
Hopes and Fears collects three separate story arcs of the Superman title, and little prior knowledge is required:
The Kents go on a road trip over the Fourth of July weekend, taking a break from their daily routine and paying call at various patriotic landmarks.
Superman goes toe-to-toe with Parallax, an avatar of Fear, which brings Sinestro into his orbit.
Lois rushes in to write a story about Deathstroke, and the situation takes a turn for the worse.
In the current political climate, the first arc set me on my guard. While the flag-waving patriotism is a hallmark of Superman–“truth, justice, and the American way” and all–it’s also a bit harder to swallow. In Tomasi’s hands, the patriotism is aggressively earnest, and criticisms are noted before being swiftly dismissed. When Lois sharply suggests Jon question his history about why women’s stories are not a larger part of the narrative, she quickly follows it up with… well, there really isn’t an argument there. It’s just dropped. The story isn’t trying to engage in any kind of dialogue; it’s pretty much fireworks and apple pie all the way.
Ultimately, nothing much happens in the book. The best story arc is Deathstroke, but even that one ends on a bit of a flat note. (I’m sure the ending was supposed to be a bigger deal than it turns out to be, but as a stopping point for this volume, it feels too random. Perhaps the story continues in the next volume such that it leads somewhere interesting.)
All in all, this probably wasn’t the best book as my first experience reading a Superman title, but it’s a solid 3/5.
I was provided with a complimentary copy from NetGalley in order to facilitate this review.