Since the start of the new 52, there has been a distinct lack of good Superman comics. While some argue that Grant Morrison’s Action Comics was fun, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. The closest I’ve seen to a competent Superman has been in recent Justice League comics, where he appears as more an afterthought than main character. Today sees the release of SUPERMAN UNCHAINED by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, two of the best creators DC has in its roster.
Snyder jumps into Superman without any hesitation. The inner dialogue of Kal-El thinking back to days in Smallville with Pete and Lana were spot on. It was interesting that Snyder’s Superman is one that doubts himself and is not exactly quick on his feet. He eventually saves the day, but its interesting to see his thought process as he juggles two live astronauts, a ton of satellite wreckage and the atmosphere of Earth. Then, later on, when he's in his Clark Kent disguise, it's nice to see Snyder try to make the best of Clark’s new 52 status as a single, working man who is absent from the Daily Planet roster.
It’s great to see Snyder keep the classic characterizations of Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen in the new 52 in their new settings. Despite being in prison, Lex is still classically cold and calculating and still trying to prove himself as Superman’s better. Lois is still the busy know-it-all who has to correct her enraged editor, Perry White. Jimmy Olsen is still instantly recognizable as Clark Kent’s best friend. While it’s not the old DCU, it’s the closest we’re gonna get to classic characterizations.
Jim Lee brings his A+ game with the super-fold out spread pages but is uneven throughout the rest of the issue. Some parts of the issue look rushed and less defined. Hopefully Lee has had enough time to complete more issues so that we don’t get unnecessarily long delays on this series.
Just as with his Batman run, Snyder brings a new mythology to the character. Within the first issue, Snyder has opened up a 75-year mystery that looks intriguing. It will be interesting to see where Snyder goes with this book in the months to come.
In summary, Superman Unchained #1 is the best Superman book that DC has published in almost 3 years. If you have found yourself wanting a Superman book with classic characterizations of your favorite characters, then look no further; the new flagship Superman book has premiered and, with a promising first issue, Snyder may already have a legendary Superman story underneath his belt.
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