What makes a good Superman story? Action? Yes. Adventure? Yes. Mystery? Yes. Having all those elements in a Superman story is great, but more than that is needed. Superman needs to be relatable. He needs to be human because he was raised as one. After reading Superman #1 written by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, I can honestly say that Superman is relatable once again.
The story over in Action Comics doesn’t carry over into Superman, and for that, I thank DC. Nothing turns me off more to a new comic than when I’m a few issues into it and it gets interrupted by a major cross-over story. I can’t quite place when the story in Superman is happening – my guess is after the story over in Action Comics because
the Kents the Smiths (Lois and Clark go by the last name Smith in order to hide their identity) are already moved into their farmhouse.
The first few pages of the story establish the good, small town, family that Clark, Lois, and their son, Jon, share together. They have problems but they are more relatable like a fire or a runaway pet. Superman isn’t fighting some alien that’s trying to wipe out the human race – he’s trying to raise a son with super-powers in the right direction. It’s said that you grow up to be like your parents, and the story in this issue plays off of that notion because Clark and Lois are to Jon what Ma and Pa Kent were to Clark. What’s refreshing is that Jon isn’t a delinquent, he’s good natured kid that looks up to his dad.
Jon is learning when to use his powers and when not to. In a moment of weakness, he ends up using his powers that end up having a bad outcome, and it’s witnessed by the neighbor girl next door who is about Jon’s age.
Batman and Wonder Woman end up visiting with Clark to inform him about a threat. Instead of taking off with the other two like usually, Clark decides that he and his son will face the threat together. The last page ends with Clark telling his son, “Your coming with me.”
The story that Tomasi and Gleason are telling works so well because 1) they are talented writers and 2) the art and color in this book are eye-poppingly amazing. A lot of various emotions needed to be expressed in this story and Gleason and Mick Gray nailed it with their line work. Gleason’s art inked by Gray undertones of a style similar to Tim Sale or Darwyn Cooke. The art absolutely grew on me as I read the issue and expressed so much of the emotion tied to the story. The color selection by John Kalisz was vibrant when it needed to be and soft when it needed to be – John complemented the emotional arcs just right with his color selection.
There is a bit of mystery to this issue due to the fact that when Clark went to visit the grave of New 52 Superman his handprint left a blue glow to the grass. What that is all about I have no idea, but I’m interested to find out.
ROTTING BRAINS gives Superman #1…drum roll…5 out of 5 rotten brains.