Solid As A Submarine
So that cover is DRASTICALLY different from the original solicit, and while the overall design is pretty lackluster, this is one of the RARE cases where added text actually makes the cover BETTER. Initially I saw the design and I was like, uh? Then I read the caption and I was intrigued.
I still wish Dan Jurgens was on full art duties instead of Jesus Merino doing the finishes, but it looks a bit better this time around. It looks more like the Dan Jurgens I know. But really, Norm Rapmund on inks would pretty much fix the problem entirely.
Giffen's gotten a bit better at Superman's inner voice, but he still goes a little overboard with the 'tongue in cheek' humor. Especially Giffen's favorite overused sarcastic remark, "Not TOO X." I guess I can't technically fault this issue on it, but I'm sick and tired of Giffen using that phrase ALL THE DAMN TIME. I think it's a weak sarcastic remark, and I've seen enough of it to last 3 lifetimes thanks to Giffen. I'm also not sure how I feel about his Lois Lane. I'm not sure I buy that she's skeptical about Superman having a secret identity, I would've thought she'd be the first one to want to see a human side to him. But I have to say, Giffen completely NAILED Jimmy Olson.
The storyline here is a culmination of a lot of things all set up in this issue. It works surprisingly well, and the cover receives more of a long term foreboding tone, as we know SOMETHING is suspicious about that sub, but get very little clues on what it is. Then Anguish shows up (I guess Masochist was too 'controversial' or something?). I mean, 'Anguish' sounds kinda cliche, Masochist is a little more interesting and unusual. Either way, she brings a lot of interesting possibilities into the spotlight with the continual freudian slips she makes. Meanwhile we've got a blogger who thinks he's gotten proof on Superman's secret identity. I'd like to know what it is, because the implications brought upon by it ties everything together in a neat bow, funneling all the loose ends of this issue straight into the solid rope of the next one.
In Conclusion: 3.5/5
It's still really solid, it's still FAR better than any of Perez's first six issues, the story and pacing and art are all improved from the previous two issues... but something is still missing to bring this up to 'great.' Part of it is Giffen's script for Superman's inner monologue. He's a little too silly at times, so he doesn't always feel like 'Superman.'