Plot & Script: Priest
Plot & Art: Carlo Pagulayan
Inks: Jason Paz
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Willie Schubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 13th, 2023
Superman faces a moral dilemma in Superman: Lost #4 when he’s offered a way home, but doing so will leave an alien world at the mercy of interstellar pirates. Superman, thousands of light years from Earth and yearning for home, must wrestle with his conscience like never before, in a miniseries that continues putting Superman through an ordeal he’s never faced before.
After last issues cliffhanger (where Superman’s life support apparatus is lost in the midst of space), we skip ahead in time in Superman: Lost #4 to show Superman returning back to the first world he had found when he first got teleported to this area of space. Most of the book takes place there, as we see Superman living as Clark Kent on the world, trying to figure out a way back to Earth while living in an area of the planet that’s oxygen-rich.
It’s a bit disappointing seeing Clark return to the planet he started from. What I hoped would be a “Star Trek: Voyager”-style miniseries, where Clark would travel space, seeing new worlds and encountering new cultures, has reset everything back to square one again. With this being issue 4 of a 10 issue miniseries, we’re almost halfway through the story and it feels like Clark has made no progress at all. There’s no feeling of forward movement at all. In fact, it feels like Clark is going backward. As the issue opens, he’s living in an advanced holographic simulation of his home in Smallville (he even calls this planet “Smallville”). It’s like Smallville and his nostalgia have become a crutch for him, almost an addiction that deflects from his need to get back to Earth.
The Ferengi-like interstellar pirates from Issue 2 return and we learn their race is called the Contrectatio. This is the only interesting part of the issue, as they attack the surface of the planet, hoping to scavenge the debris for money. It puts Clark in a dilemma, as the Contrectatio are more than willing to give him a ride back to Earth in their hyperdrive ships, but only if Clark stays out of their way as they attack the planet. Think it’s an easy decision for Clark? Think again, because the situation has many layers that go beyond the good vs. evil stuff that Clark normally faces. It’s fascinating seeing Clark in a moral dilemma such as this, where there are no easy answers. This fills the second half of the issue and saves it from being mediocre. A surprise character shows up at the end and hopefully their presence will make next issue far more enjoyable than this one.
Carlo Pagulayan’s art on Superman: Lost #4 is wonderfully detailed and very reminiscent of other classic artists of cosmic stories such as Jim Starlin and Ron Lim. The art conveys the characters’ emotions perfectly, especially Clark and his anguish at the situation he’s in, lost and so far from home.
Superman: Lost #4 is the weakest issue of the miniseries so far, feeling more like a step back than a leap forward. But putting Clark in a moral dilemma he’s rarely faced before, in addition to a great surprise character popping up at the end, makes the book better than average.