Review: Superman #1

Storytellers – Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason, Inker – Mick Gray

The pre-Flashpoint Superman is back as the DC Universe’s Superman. Actually, he is filling in for the recently deceased New 52 Superman, but that does not lessen the joy at seeing him back as the “official” Superman of the DCU.

The story opens with Clark visiting the grave of the New 52 Superman, reaffirming his commitment to continue his work as Superman. Although Clark admits that he doesn’t believe this world’s Superman will be coming back from the dead, something odd seems to be up at the gravesite. Maybe we might eventually see a resurrected New 52 Superman after all.

Oddly enough, even though the book is titled Superman, the focus is on his son Jonathan, as is shown in the story’s title “Son of Superman”. At first, it seems that being the son of the world’s foremost superhero is as amazing as we would think it should be. Jonathan is happily settling into his new residence on a farm near Metropolis and adjusting to his family’s new name (White having been exchanged for Smith).

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However, Jonathan quickly learns a tragic lesson that makes him question whether his developing powers are as awesome as he thought or a burden. To further complicate matters, it appears he’s blown his secret identity before he even properly has one.

He inability to face what he has done or to face his parents leads to conflict with Lois and Clark. Suddenly his bright and hopeful life has turned dark and foreboding.

As the issue ends, Jonathan is caught watching his father’s meeting with Batman and Wonder Woman. Then he is instructed to quickly and quietly come with his father. Where to? We’ll have to wait until next issue to find out.

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The Good:

It’s a tiny detail, but that little serif on the bottom of the Superman S-Symbol speaks volumes. The costume may be a bit different, but it’s the Superman we knew and loved from before the Flashpoint changed everything – and this is symbolic of the old being reincorporated into the DCU.

Although they have been around for a few months now in Superman: Lois and Clark, it is good to see that Clark and Lois’ marriage is healthy and that they are committed to giving Jonathan the same kind of grounded upbringing that Jonathan and Martha Kent gave Clark. Hopefully, the family relationship will remain at the core of this title.

The Bad:

I’m still not 100% sold on the new iteration of the Superman costume. It’s an improvement over the armoured New 52 Superman costume, but personally, I’d like to see the return of the traditional costume, red shorts included.

Also, while it serves to teach Jonathan an important lesson about his powers, it still upsets me a bit to see an animal harmed in a story – even if no real animal was harmed. Maybe a near-miss or minor injury might have sufficed instead of the drastic fate the poor creature met in the story.

The Verdict:

This issue once again shows that DC means it when they promised to bring back the missing heart of the pre-Flashpoint DCU and merging it with the new. We get the old with the return of Clark to his place as Superman and we get the old in seeing Jonathan’s early steps towards his destiny as a new Superboy. This title promises to be one of the standout successes of DC’s lineup.

4.5outof5

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.