Review – Superman #1: A New Era Begins

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Superman #1 David Mack Variant, Credit to DC Comics

Superman #1 – Brian Michael Bendis, Writer; Ivan Reis, Penciller; Joe Prado, Inker; Alex Sinclair, Colorist

Ray – 7.5/10

Ray: Coming off the controversial Man of Steel miniseries, Brian Michael Bendis is launching his first ongoing Superman series. So how is Superman #1? Well, very similar to Man of Steel – some things work very well, but as the issue goes on, there continue to be odd character-based false notes that keep it from entirely clicking with me. As the issue opens, Superman is desperate to find his family, who is in an unknown location around the galaxy. However, he’s interrupted by a Dominator invasion and forced to disrupt his mission to defend Earth, which he takes as a wakeup call to trust that Lois has this in hand and she and Jon will be fine. I’m not a fan of Bendis separating the Super-family, but the scenes that show Clark thinking back to the happier times are pretty strong. The segment with Lois is one of the issue’s best – I’m not sure why he chose to remove her from the title, because Bendis clearly enjoys writing her, and it shows. I’m less sure about his take on Jon, who kind of comes off sullen and rebellious in his few flashback scenes.

Superman is on a mission. Credit to DC Comics

One of Bendis’ weak points on this series so far has been his portrayal of the Justice League, with his Hal and Barry coming off as overly jokey in particular. This works when you’re dealing with Peter Parker and Danny Rand, but Hal and Barry are seasoned veteran heroes. They’re not going to be using words like “caca”, and they’re certainly not going to be riffing insensitively on all Superman’s lost in the destruction of the Fortress. Superman’s decision to raise the Fortress again and rebuild, but this time in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, is odd but provides one of the issue’s most gorgeous scenes. I’m happy to see J’onn J’onnz making a big comeback in the DCU, but this version feels sort of opposite of the one we see in Justice League – he’s distant, almost menacing, and seems to be coaching Superman to take on the role of a global leader whether he wants to or not given some coming catastrophe. The issue ends with a bang, as Supergirl’s gambit to trap Rogol Zaar in the Phantom Zone backfires – badly – and somehow ends with the Earth being sucked in as well. At this point, I’m not entirely sold, but I am intrigued. Bendis always has a long-game on his properties, and he’s just setting up shop here.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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