Review: Superman #1

SM_Cv1_dsThe Last Son of Krypton must decide whether to help his young son use his new and rapidly increasing abilities, or hide them from the world.

Looking for a Superman comic full of action? Yeah, this issue is not it. Superman #1, written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason is a very interesting first issue that in a way is an origin issue, but not for Clark White/Superman [It’s been pointed out in the comments that Lois gives the last name “Smith,” a departure from before – Ed]. Instead, the focus really is about his son. This Superman is more about the super boy that is learning his way through his powers.

The issue is reflective in many ways with Tomasi having Clark thinking about what his presence on Earth means and his role in taking over as Superman. The issue also is a fascinating first steps for his son using his powers and it all together feels like a reset and classic “origin” tale in some ways. But, instead of us getting a retelling of Superman’s origin, instead it’s his son who goes through some of the similar steps as his father did. It’s brilliant to make this the focus which gives us the familiar drum beats but not a repeat of what we’ve seen so many times. Again, a blending of the old and new which is the underlying theme and goal of Rebirth.

And that homage to what’s come before isn’t just in the story. Artist Patrick Gleason riffs on the 1986 John Byrne Man of Steel #1 in a two page spread that reminded me of that comic’s cover. It’s a great spread, hell I want it as a poster, that transitions from the black suit Clark White used to wear and the morose reflective beginning, to a more colorful and hopeful new direction. That goes directly into another two page spread walking us through this Superman’s history. It’s pretty blunt as to what’s being gone for and it really works.

I loved this issue. Its focus on the White family is a step back from high flying action we can get elsewhere and the focus on the next generation is such a great direction. The comic isn’t full of action, but it has a hell of a lot of heart. I haven’t read much Superman for a while, but this has me counting down until the next issue.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi Art: Patrick Gleason
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

11 comments

  • (1) I’m a bit confused of timing with Action Comics ending with Doomsday appearing. Do we just assume these are different stories that are unrelated?
    (2) Lois introduced herself as Lois Smith!? Was this a mistake in the writing or are they hiding their new name now?

    • 1) The two comics would work together. This could have happened after Action Comics and work easily in the timeline.
      2) Didn’t notice the name change. It was White before, right? They moved, so maybe they changed their name?

      • Thanks, Brett.

        (1) At the end of Action Comics, it seemed that Luthor and Superman were fighting then see Doomsday. Now in Superman #1 we are back on the farm. I guess just a little confusing for me but I’ll keep them separate.

        (2) I downloaded this issue from the DC Comics app. Lois introduced herself to the little girl as Lois Smith.. and then when the little girl was leaving, she referred to Clark as Mr. Smith. Very strange as White should be the name they keep. Smith has no significance, White does (Perry White, obviously). I assumed maybe it was an error in the comic, because why would they change their name again?

        • 1) Yeah, comics often have this continuity type issues. Wolverine was in how many places at the same time? I’m thinking this happens post Action Comics because he’s shaven and in Action Comics he shaves them immediately takes off. So this being in the down time after is possible. Before, not so much. We’ll see though.
          2) Yeah, I didn’t even notice the name change until you mentioned it. Not sure why they did that, but possibly due to their move and threats against them due to the book Lois was writing they changed it again. We’ll see if it comes up, but something to watch for.

          • One last thing – Clark talks about how important it is to keep their secret identities.. but, where are his glasses? People will see Superman and Clark White/Smith are the same. Unless he plans to spend all of his time on the farm upstate

            • Ha. I still think it’s silly that it works. Then again, there was that other Clark in Action Comics, so who knows at this point. But, since the New 52 Clark’s identity was revealed, wouldn’t people know who he is? Then again, he’s a bit older.

  • Good point! I wonder if that “new Clark” from Action comics is a set up by Mr. Oz to ‘reboot’ the secret identity.

    Also – what was up with Clark’s hand leaving a glowing blue hand print at New52 Superman grave? I hope they don’t start changing things around. Getting post-crisis / pre-flashpoint superman is what brought me back into this!

    • In DC Universe: Rebirth Mr. Oz said there was more to him and his family than would appear and I think that’s touched upon briefly in the beginning of the book. I think the hand relates to that. Maybe it’s a reference back to the old Red/Blue versions days?

      If you haven’t yet, definitely check out Superman: Lois and Clark which was the miniseries that led to this. It was so good.

      • Thanks, Brett. The series Superman: Convergence and the Superman: Lois & Clark series are what brought me back into Superman Comics. Other than a few select stories (e.g. Unchained), I did not enjoy the New 52 Superman characterization. Very happy to have ‘my Superman’ back. Hope it stays that way.

        • I’m with you on that. Lois and Clark got me back. I tried reading some of the New 52 Superman and it just didn’t click with me. I appreciated what Yang was trying to do looking at the Superman myth, but it just didn’t work.

  • Loved this issue! It is also my first time with a superman title in a while and it was fantastic. I’m intrigued big time by the ending.