Friday, June 17, 2016
Review: Superman #1
Superman #1 came out this week and continued to the transition to the post-Rebirth super-family and their stories. Last week's Action Comics focused on Metropolis. This week's Superman focused on the home life of the Smiths, the current last name of the Clark and Lois.
With Lois maintaining her life as Author X and Clark now out as Superman, the family has moved to Hamilton County, upstate from Metropolis. Some of this seemed there to inform people who didn't read the Lois and Clark mini-series. Other parts did start or move existing plot lines along.
But overall, this seemed to slightly miss the magic of the recent months. While so much of 'The Last Days of Superman' and Rebirth has been about reclaiming some of the magic of the past, this issue seemed to lean a little bit more towards the New 52, a grimmer world. And it all hinges on one gruesome scene.
Storytellers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason do hit on some nice moments. In particular, the interaction between 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' feels so natural and loving. The art is a little wonky for my tastes, a sort of mix between manga and Rankin/Bass Lord of the Rings movies.
Still, overall, I thought this was a decent start. Something of a double rather than a home run.
This Superman knows that the world needs to know Superman is around. It is time for the primary colors to fly. Very nice.
Now there is a mystery here. When Clark touches the ground, he leaves a glowing blue hand print. He talks about Mr. Oz. What does this all mean?
Could this be a clue about the true nature of these two Supermen?
And so this Superman puts in the primary colors and flies into action.
I liked this double splash showing scenes from the past. Much like the Wonder Woman mirror smash, we see a bunch of scenes. Some look like they are from Morrison's run. One looks like a Fleischer cartoon. That spaceship is definitely the New 52 cradle. So I don't know how many of these are from this pre-Flashpoint Superman's life?
Or is this just another way to honor the past?
But there is definitely some hero worship here. Jon sees his dad dealing with a barn fire and is thrilled his dad is Superman. He is just a boy, complete with broken action figures. But he is more.
It was here that the art seemed a little to odd. I wanted to start singing 'The Greatest Adventure is what lies ahead ..."
Maybe it's me.
Jon is all excited with his new found super-hero dad and his own burgeoning powers. He is excited to help his dad rebuild part of the barn. And he promises only to use his powers when his father is around. That is asking quite a lot from a kid.
Unfortunately, Jon's powers are just coming to fruition. He has no control. When he sees his cat Goldie being flown away by a hungry hawk, his heat vision activates on its own. The result it is that he burns his pet cat to a crisp.
This is pretty horrific. I mean, do I really need to see this charred skeleton? Of the pet cat?
Did I need there to be some tragic lesson for Jon? Gone is the smiling kid with the toys. Things got grim. This moment made me gasp. It felt a little New 52.
This wasn't intentional. Just sad.
The whole macabre scene is witnessed by a Kathy Branden, the new neighbor.
Is she scared? Does she see how devastated Clark is? Will she be a Lana? Since she knows Jon's powers, will she be more like Pete Ross?
I like this idea to add a supporting cast for Jon, the super-son. And her seeing this event adds a nice wrinkle.
Later, she visits the house to introduce herself. The interaction between her and Jon is completely awkward.
When Jon screams at his parents, he is sent to his room.
Again, it is asking a lot of a 7 year old to hide his powers. He is being told he needs to be honest and true but then he is told to lie about who he and his family are. It's complex. So who can blame Jon for being confused.
So much of this must be fueled by the tragedy of the afternoon. There is just too much for Jon to work through.
The issue ends with Jon sulking in his room and seeing the reuniting of the Trinity ... together again for the first time!!!!
Don't ask me why Wonder Woman as her sword drawn. Can't it be sheathed?
But this is a new Superman. It makes sense for Diana and Bruce to seek him out, ask him questions, figure out what his deal truly is. It's a whole new world. And Jon is part of it.
So overall, I liked the Clark/Lois interaction. I liked the opening scene a ton. I love this ending which makes sense.
But that cat scene is such a downer. I was hoping that Jon would go into the Super-Sons book untarnished. He would be the bright, sunny foil to the brooding Damien. That bloody pet death just soured my feeling for the whole book a bit. It seemed an unnecessary plot point to move Jon's story along.
Overall grade: B