"Rack and Ruin Part II"
Writer: Greg Rucka (plot), Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (script)
Artist: Renato Guedes
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Superman must find a way to defeat Ruin while trying to save Pete Ross, Lana Lang and their son Clark from Ruin's machinations.
Commentary: All in all, a very satisfying end to the Ruin storyline. Part of me would have preferred to have Greg Rucka be the sole writer behind the final chapter, but DeFilippis and Weir did a wonderful job of scripting the book and keeping it consistent with the tone of the storyline.
This is the first time in years that I have been satisfied with an extended storyline's conclusion, at least as far as Superman is concerned. Too often over the past five years the stories were set-up nicely but the pay off was terrible. The Zod debacle that Joe Kelly seemed to be responsible for was a great example of how a storyline can run for years and when it is finally resolved the end result was boring at best. Ruin has to be one of the best new Superman villains in some time and Rucka played the idea out nicely. Even the interludes that popped up from time to time made the story better because it gave the narrative flow a more organic feel to it.
Plus I will never complain about the Mr. Mxyzptlk issues, especially the last one.
The overall theme of Clark never turning his back on his friends played out nicely as well. He never gave up on Pete and in a way he hasn't given up on Professor Hamilton either. To Superman's mind Hamilton is just a sick man who needs help. Hamilton did his best to outthink Superman and manipulate the situation so that no matter what Superman did he would end up looking bad and fail. What Hamilton didn't count on is one of the basic tenets of Superman's personality; there is always a way no matter how impossible the situation may seem.
The resolution of Lupe's involvement in the story ended as it should have. Rucka took a chance in having her give Pete Ross a pretty righteous beating while he was in custody but she was vindicated in the end and didn't have to die to get that way. Of course she had to be blown up real good to achieve this, but at least she's alive and recovering. Her true character came through at the right moment and while it may seem a little cheesy, it works for the story and characters concerned.
In The End: A wonderful conclusion to a great storyline. This was an interesting exercise in what makes Superman work as a character, and I enjoyed the themes Rucka and his fellow writers explored. There were many twists and turns along the way, and the conclusion was most satisfying. Characters were brought down and then redeemed, and Superman showed that no matter what they do to him, Superman will never give up on his friends. This is a great time to be reading this title in particular and the Superman books in general.
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