Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Superman Unchained #3

Comic Review: Superman Unchained #3

Superman Unchained #3 Jim Lee New 52 Wraith

Scott Snyder explores the nature of Superman’s heroism by putting him beside a government yesman who’s every bit as powerful as the Man of Steel – if not more so.

Snyder’s new nemesis for Supes has been lurking on the edges of his story for two issues now, but we finally get a full introduction to him here. He’s big, tough and positively radiating the same sun-powered energy that drives Superman.

He’s also very hard to get a name out of.

His name is —

Jim Lee’s art is top notch once again. He gets another opportunity to show Superman bursting through something – the “unchained” part of Superman Unchained – and Lee makes it look fantastic.

Lee also has a great character design for the government’s supercrony, W–

Sorry, you want his name?

It’s —


Okay, it’s Wraith.


That’s the game Snyder plays with his script all issue as he strings his reader along and cuts in every time he’s about to give the guy’s name. It’s irritating more than anything else, but Wraith himself is an interesting character.

Snyder doesn’t write Wraith like the big irradiated brute he appears to be. Instead, he’s more of an old soldier, sober and calm even when Superman is trying to outmuscle him. Wraith’s been doing the government’s dirty work for decades – think back to that Nagasaki scene at the start of issue #1 – and he is, in every way, what General Lane wishes Superman was.

Wraith has echoes of the old Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns Superman. He’s purely a government weapon, whereas Snyder’s Superman is a “saving kittens from trees” type of hero, as Lane puts it.

It’s not personal at all for Wraith, and that’s what makes him such an interesting read. He’s going to follow orders, no matter what.

And getting back to Lee, his Wraith design looks fantastic. Wraith looks like Doomsday but bursting with red energy and with a bird of some kind emblazoned in red light on his chest.

He’s also got a hood, because with a name like Wraith, you’d better have a hood.

Scott Snyder and Jim Lee prove with Superman Unchained #3 that this title is the flagship Superman series of the New 52.

May Superman never run out of chains to break.

9 out of 10

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