DC’s “Villains Month” ends this week, but the stories haven’t slowed down one bit! Though the titles have varied in quality, I was especially excited for Superman #23.4: Parasite. Read on to find out more about what could very well be my favorite issue from this event!
Superman #23.4: Parasite follows the story of a young punk and bike messenger named Joshua Michael Alan. We meet him after he’s already transformed into the monstrous Parasite, a monster cursed with an insatiable appetite than can be temporarily sated by draining human life force. Joshua contemplates suicide as he reflects on the negative turns in his life that led him to become this creature. A chance meeting with the Man of Steel, however, will change his entire outlook on life and fill him with new purpose.
Aaron Kuder forms the cornerstone of this issue’s creative team, filling the duties of both writer and artist. Kuder’s art is nothing short of amazing. From the great eye-catching cover seen above (which is even better in its 3D incarnation), to the full page spread of Parasite battling Superman, we’re treated to a visual feast when reading this issue. I can’t complain whatsoever about the art: I took a lot longer to read this issue than I normally would since I spent so much time viewing the intricacies of each panel. Tomeu Morey and Dan Brown aid Kuder through their coloring work, handling the interiors and cover, respectively. The palettes they use are awesome, using muted tones for the background to contrast with the bright purple of Parasite’s skin or his dyed pink hair before his metamorphosis. Letterer Rob Leigh does great work as well, cleverly placing giant words in the background of some scenes to indicate the hateful thoughts of Parasite. Overall, the art is top notch.
Though Kuder is better known for his artwork than his writing, I think he did a solid job with the story. Despite a lack of scripting experience, Kuder’s pacing, dialogue, and plot are all strong in this issue. I like that Kuder gave Parasite a backstory that can allow the reader to feel sympathy for the villain without reverting to trite tropes such as a miserable childhood or interference by government agencies. We see that Joshua had his share of problems, but he wasn’t exactly the kindest guy; he feels like a real person, with both positive and negative qualities. My only complaint is that the actual transformation is rather poorly explained and feels rather abrupt.
Superman #23.4: Parasite is a great stand-alone Villains Month story. The artwork is superb and the story is great as well. Given the end of this comic, I’m hoping Parasite might show up sometime during DC’s crossover Forever Evil, perhaps to fight Ultraman (aka an alternate Earth evil version of Superman). Though people often complain Superman’s rogues gallery is lame, this issue proves that wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt. Whether you love Parasite as a villain or have no idea who he is, I urge you to pick up this issue!
-compelling story that does not fall for typical tropes of villains’ origins
-interesting set up for Parasite’s future in the DC Universe
-Parasite’s transformation hasty and poorly explained
Brett Seth Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. Since he has three first names, he’s untrustworthy according this issue.
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