Comics Anonymous

SUPERMAN #1 by G-Man
October 4, 2011, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: , ,

A new outfit for Superman is on show from our first glimpse at the cover and early news of this issue had noted some key changes other than the suit itself but how would this work given the knowledge EVERYONE has on this character…..

Now I’ll be honest from the start here… outwith some Elseworlds titles… Superman hasn’t been my favourite superhero over the years but with DC working some magic in Action Comics (thanks Grant Morrison), I’m a bit more open to the character’s possibilities. even more so in light of the changes we’ve heard about.

The issue opens with the Metropolis beacon that is the Daily Planet building and its iconic Gold Globe, explaining it’s meaning to the city over the course of time. The last panel on the first page sees it crumbling to the ground in a poignant testimony for the need to move on and look to the future instead of clinging to the past. A wake up call to the non-believers in DC’s attempts with the New 52 perhaps… who knows?

Immediately we’re thrust into a new look Metropolis fit for a new look Superman/Clark Kent combo.  We immediately get to see the recognizable faces of Perry White, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, but the city we see them live/work in has grown-up fast from the early days of Superman’s fame, or at least from what we’d come to expect from our preconceived ideas of what that should include.

A fast evolving Metropolis sees the Daily Planet bought over and absorbed into a bigger company, Galaxy Communications, and we learn quickly that Lois Lane has embraced the quick evolution away from printed news, leaving Clark and Perry (who retains his editorship of the Daily Planet) racing to compete with a high-tech world. A forward-thinking approach given that I sit here typing on an internet blog to voice my opinions on a printed comic.  We then get to hear a few choice words between Lois & Clark to confirm that their relationship is not the one we’d have expected and more than a little stretched.  City meets Smallville in approach there, I guess.

Our attention is diverted from Metropolis slightly by the event mentioned in Stormwatch #1 (released in week 1… when Supes is released in week 4… go figure?). Anyhoo, I’m none the wiser and will be trawling back into Stormwatch to join the dots on that one.

Meanwhile, back in Metropolis we’ve got some newsworthy goings-on as some weird shit starts kicking off, all in the form of fire… LOTS of fire.  The kind of fire that Superman should be dealing with really and that’s how the rest of this issue plays out for the most part: Superman vs fire while the printing presses warm up and the keyboard keys melt with a flurry of typing and posting.

OK lets face it, Superman saves the day. That’s a no-brainer and would we really have expected more from an issue like this? Probably not.  The most interesting parts of this book are in the calmer moments… Superman floating over the rubble of the old Daily Planet building and the closing scenes where we learn that Lois is in fact married and Clark is thought of nothing more than a ‘friend’, although even that gets downgraded to ‘colleague’.  Kent’s super-hearing lets him disappear into the lift after turning up unannounced at Lois’s apartment only to be confronted by her and her partner.  Clark apologises for interrupting and for his earlier heated comments and heads for the lift.  Disappearing he can still hear the remainder of their private conversation and further mention of Clark as a loner… can’t help but feel sorry for the guy here… superpowers don’t tend to mean much in this reality, outwith the gossip and headlines they generate.

For me these two scenes work the best and show us that Clark/Kal-El is truly alone in Metropolis, if not on Earth.  The rest of the issue, although beautifully drawn and structured well in terms of panels, was just TOO word heavy for me and this gave the pages a cramped feeling. The damn book seemed to shrink in my hands.  Action scenes which were cramped with discussions and narrative seemed to lose their momentum.  Bit of a tough slog to get through but the bookend scenes opened/closed the issue well enough to make me feel like I started and ended somewhere, even if I was still trying to process the information in-between.

G-Man @gjwatson85

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