Friday, September 30, 2011

Superman #1

After seeing the early adventures of the Man of Steel in Action Comics, we meet the "modern-day" Superman in this issue - well, sorta.

I say "sorta" because after reading the story, I feel like I know almost nothing about Clark Kent or Superman.

That's a bit surprising, because this is a comic that bulges at the edges, as writer and layout artist George Perez has jammed it full of tiny panels and loads of words, including dialogue, text and newspaper clippings.

But despite all that talk, the story that spools out is a bit of a mess. We see the "rebirth" of the Daily Planet as a modern newspaper, we meet the now unmarried Lois Lane who's running a TV station, we see Clark angrily denouncing the new ownership of the Planet, Superman flies around a bit, fights some terrorists, then a mysterious fire creature appears out of nowhere, fights Superman, and is defeated with no clue about its origins, purpose or intentions.

Oh, I forgot - some alien creature sounded a horn from atop Mt. Everest. Why? Apparently you have to read Stormwatch to find out. Unless, like me, you just don't care.

I've always been a big fan of Perez's artwork, and his cover is terrific. The interiors feature his layouts with finishes by Jesus Merino and Brian Buccellato, and it's good, but feels crushed in by the sheer number of panels on each page. Not many artists can manage the "hyper-detailed" art that Perez manages - perhaps that's the problem.

If this issue was supposed to introduce Superman to a new audience, it fails. We get brief visits with a mob of characters, but never spend enough time with anyone to get a sense of their character.

Action Comics was inventive and clever, but this issue just feels sluggish and confused. I can't recommend it.

Grade: B-


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