Friday, September 3, 2021

Review: Superman '78 #1

Superman "78 #1 came out last week and it definitely lived up to the hype.

I was a kid when Superman the Movie came out and I believed a man could fly. I think Christopher Reeve was a fantastic Superman and Clark; you believed people would be fooled by the glasses and posture, keeping his identity straight. And I believed that a spunky, independent woman like Margot Kidder's Lois was the perfect match for Superman. Add to that a deliciously snarky and slightly overconfident Luthor by Gene Hackman and you had a universe that I loved visiting.

When DC announced this mini-series, I was champing at the bit to read it. I always wanted to see Richard Donner introduce a Brainiac to his vision. When writer Robert Venditti said that the Coluan was the villain of this book, it made me smile.

And then artist Wilfredo Torres began leaking art, I became even more excited. His stuff evokes the actors from the movies perfectly. I mean, when you see his Jackie Cooper Perry White, you'll see.

Of course the story has to be good. And this is a great opening chapter. A nice wrinkle to the origin seen in the first movie has been seamlessly added. This is a world that isn't filled with super-beings, hero or villain. So seeing how the citizens react to the action and how they will react to the upcoming battles will be fascinating to read. As I said, we get Brainiac too. I'm happy. 

On to the book!

We start at Krypton's destruction. Kal's 'chandelier ship' takes off while a very Brando Jor-El looks on with Lara.

But then the new wrinkle.

Jor-El's city, presumably Kandor, is bottled in red energy. He knows that something isn't right. But at least Kal escaped.

Now Superman's birth parents being shrunk and remaining alive is a pretty big leap. But given all we know, having Brainiac bottling a Kryptonian city makes sense. And that adds some interesting juice to the mix.

Of course, we will hopefully have some explanation of time within the bottle. If I recall, the trip Kal takes in space (in the movie) is hundreds if not thousands of years. 

Here's hoping that Jor doesn't become a villain.

And it is Brainiac, coolly observing the destruction from his ship. He has his specimen.

Interestingly, I like how he says that he considers them t be a careless, dangerous civilization. Did he think them a threat and destroy Krypton somehow? Or did he simply witness the result of their own sins, grabbing a city for scientific experimentation?


On Earth, we definitely have a feeling that this is between Superman I and Superman II. This is a Clark still learning the ropes of being a reporter. Lois has to tell him to be confident and go out and get the story. I like that she is supportive of him and compliments him. They make a good team. 

I love the little personality quirks we see in Lois in this scene. She eats hot dogs for breakfast. And, of course, she doesn't have her wallet on her, sticking Clark with the bill. That all sounds like the Kidder Lois.

Very nice chemistry here.

Lois isn't the only one telling Clark to live up to his skills.

Perry tells him to go out and get the story. Find an angle and work thing through. Be a reporter. I love an irascible Perry White. He should be feisty.

The scene ends with a funny joke of Perry saying stories don't fall out of the sky only to have a Brainiac drone plummet out of the sky into downtown Metropolis.

Look at Torres work here. It is resembles to actors enough to give you the feeling of the movie without trying so hard for it to look weird. 

As I said in the intro, there hasn't been anything super or otherworldly on this world before. Only Superman stopping an all too human Lex with his missiles. So I love the panic on the streets when the Brainiac drone starts blasting away and doling out the property damage. This isn't a city of tomorrow used to super-battles.

Clark immediately springs into action, running past Shuster Station (nice name drop) and into an alley with Otisburgh graffiti (another nice name drop) and giving us a classic shirt rip!


With the crowds panicked and running, Lois guides Jimmy towards the battle.

I love her grit here. She says they need to push through the crowd because the stories are always in front of you, not behind you. Sage advice to the future Mr. Action.

Even that line 'put that camera to work' just sizzles for some reason. This is Lois from the movies.

The drone is scanning to asses the threat level of Earth. 

Perhaps Brainiac feels he needs to deal with any sort of civilization who could become a danger to him or the universe. Maybe he thinks he's the bad guy.

The drone thinks Earth is no threat level. That is until Superman introduces himself.

Another classic feeling scene. Loved it.

The two brawl through the city until the drone scans Superman and realizes that he is a Kryptonian.

Superman finally destroys the thing but not before it sends its data back to Brainiac.

And then a closer look at Brainiac.

It is interesting to hear him say that Superman's presence is a danger to Earth. Maybe he would bypass or spare Earth as a nonthreat if Superman wasn't there? But now he needs to collect Kal.

We know from a future solicit that Superman ends up in the bottle city. I wondered why Superman would leave Earth to go there. But now it seems that he might be forcefully placed there!

Solid cliffhanger. Brainiac is on his way to Earth. How will a still newbie of a Superman deal with the intergalactic threat?

This was an absolute treat. The story isn't a quick read but I flew through it joyfully. I even reread it immediately after I read it the first time, a surefire sign of a fun comic.

Can't wait for more. Brilliant.

Overall grade: A


Anonymous said...

Best Superman story I've read in a while now. It was actually fun. I hope they can continue it.

William Ashley Vaughan said...

Loved it. For ten minutes I was back at the theatre in Mandeville watching classic Superman on the screen. Here's hoping it sells through the roof so we get a sequel and Supergirl '84.

Anonymous said...

For once, something I highly anticipated came thru like gangbusters, at least insofar as this first issue is concerned. I wonder if DC paid any "likeness rights" to Chris Reeve or Margot Kidder's estates? It's utterly sobering to realize that of that stellar cast only Gene Hackman and Valerie Perrine are still with us. I too hope for huge sales on this one, if only to validate one of my favorite incarnations of the character and possibly open the door to a Supergirl '84 book...for that fact the two of them could team up finally the sky is the limit I suppose.