Review: Superman Unchained #1

Superman Unchained #1 CoverThis year marks 75 years since the Man of Steel debuted and it looks like a decent celebration with a new Batman/Superman series, the Man of Steel in theaters and also Superman Unchained by the talented Scott Snyder and Jim Lee. I’ve generally been unimpressed with the line of Superman comics since the debut of the New 52, and went into reading this debut issue hoping we finally get the Superman comics we deserve. The answer is yes and no.

When numerous satellites begin to fall from the sky in one day, the logical suspect is Lex Luthor—even though he’s still locked up in prison! But a stranger question remains: If Superman didn’t stop the last satellite from falling, who did? There’s a mystery hidden where even Superman can’t see it—Can The Man of Steel drag a decades-old secret into the light?

With the new series, writer Scott Snyder has said there’s an effort to do a Superman story that shows him in ways we haven’t seen him before. It’s goal is to explore his powers and why he does what he does from certain vantage points that would be new to the reader. While there’s the classic and iconic, it attempts to mix in fresh and different. And that’s something I felt with this first issue.

Reading it, the vibe I got was being thrust into an action movie. This is the set up for that story to expect, the blip before the opening credits role. We have the iconic part of Superman doing what he can to save individuals and putting his safety on the line as well as using his varied powers to do so. Then there’s the new and fresh and that I get a bit more iffy about.

It’s difficult to go into details but looks like we have the introduction of a new character who traces back to World War II and the bombing of Nagasaki. That actually made me uneasy. Taking a true historical event and twisting it even a little caused me discomfort as if trivializing that real world event. It’s a minor issue, but still an issue for me and since it opens the brand new comic, me rolling my eyes so soon took me out of what was to come.

The action and the satellites was fun though and Superman following up from that scene created a face pace story that took you to various locales. My biggest pet peeve was Luthor. I don’t read other Superman comics, so his being in prison made me wonder “why.” Again, something that threw me off a little. There’s also the fact a similar storyline is occurring in another comic with another publisher.

Overall though, Snyder kicks of the comic strong with internal monologue and dialogue that gives us a past paced entertaining comic with some introspection.

Team that up with Jim Lee’s art. The man still lays out amazing scenes and shows why he’s one of the top artists for so many years. I love me some good Lee art and we get to see some of that here. The oddest thing though is the inclusion of  a bonus two-sided, tipped-in poster measuring 11.6875” x 18.875” that is part of the reading experience. Though DC claims it and can be easily removed (for display), those of us who like near mint comics will be forced to get multiple copies, I couldn’t get my poster to restick to the card it’s on. A minor quibble, but an overall cool inclusion. I can see many fanboys and fangirls having issues with taking the poster out though.

Overall, the debut comic is fun and exciting. Though not perfect, it’s a great introduction and debut that has me interested in coming back for the second issue to see what else they have. There’s a lot here that celebrates the old and the new when it comes to the Last Son of Krypton, and that’s exactly what he deserves celebrating 75 years.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jim Lee
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25  Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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One comment

  • Such a great start out with #1, both Scott and Jim showcase some serious talent. I love where this seems to be going and I really enjoyed that intro couple of pages, a nice bit of throwback there, nice touch. I am super excited to see #2.