Written by: Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
Art by: Patrick Gleason
After a less than impressive showing on The Final Days of Superman and the Superman: Rebirth special, my hype was beginning to fall for the newly launched Superman titles. Coming off the back of a solid Action Comics debut last week though, Superman #1 has managed to absolutely shatter all my expectations, with the reunited team of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason managing to deliver one of the freshest, emotional and visually striking issues of Superman in a long time.
From the very beginning, Superman grabs you with some pretty powerful visual imagery and metaphors. The opening of the post-crisis Clark paying respects to the fallen Superman before triumphantly returning to the light sets the perfect tone for this comic; a bright and colorful return to hopeful and optimistic storytelling starring the Superman we all love. Out of all the Rebirth material released so far nothing has made me feel as giddily excited for a return to form as this opening. The art from Gleason feels so naturally woven into the script, likely as he’s co-writing it, making the book feel very dynamic and visually striking. While I don’t want to knock previous Superman artists, as they’ve been rather high quality, Gleason’s art feels very fresh and new, a perfect fit for a bold new era rather than just being serviceable and pretty.
The main thrust of the comic though, and the series itself, is Clark and Lois’ son Jon as he begins to develop superpowers of his own. I’ve been a big fan of Jon since his debut in Lois and Clark and felt he had a tremendous amount of potential that the right creative team could capitalize on. With their previous father/son superhero experience on Batman and Robin (a rather specific previous credential) Tomasi and Gleason seem like the perfect team to capitalise on this potential, and it works magnificently. Jon’s struggles are instantly compelling and brimming with potential, including a particularly harrowing scene in this very issue. He isn’t just a repeat of the snobby softening of Damian, being raised by the Kents (or the Smiths in this case) has instilled some polite manners in Jon, yet with still the usual growing pains of childhood. Tomasi and Gleason walk a fine line in making him likable yet troubled without dipping into repetition. Jon is definitely the selling point of this title over Action Comics and I can’t wait to see how the relationship between him and his dad develop in future issues. he brings a childlike wonder to the series that makes it feel so new, while the family scenes remind me exactly what DC has been missing since the new 52.
If there’s anything to complain about it’s that it’s over far too soon with an ending that felt it came a bit too soon. I’m not quite sure if it was meant to be a cliffhanger or simply the end, but I was surprised when the issue was over, especially since I was enjoying it so much. Given the series’ new fortnightly approach to the book as well as the lower price however, the shorter feel is well balanced out since the series will be continuing very soon and for the low price, the level of quality in the art is an absolute steal.
Superman #1 delivered everything I was hoping for from the title and then some. It has a strong emotional hook and sense of freshness the title hasn’t had in a long time. There’s so many places to go from here that I can’t help but feel the same level of optimism the book caries. It’s finally a good time to be a Superman fan again, and I couldn’t be happier.