Review: Superman #1 by George Perez and Jesus Merino

Superman #1

Written by: George Perez
Art by: Jesus Merino
Lettering by: Carlos M. Mangual
Colored by: Brian Buccellato

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note: This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology

While everyone was excited about Grant Morrison on Action Comics (myself included), as soon as  I heard George Perez was doing Superman, that quickly became the Superman book I was much more interested in. Both of these were very good comics, but which one is the stand out?

Summary (contains spoilers): Superman #1 starts with the Daily Planet building being demolished. We find out that the Planet has been purchased by The Globe, which has grown to be a Fox Newesque juggernaut (including having its own wiretapping scandal). Clark has refused to attend to press conference announcing these changes. Instead, he is overhead as Superman watching the destruction as bloggers take note of his reaction.

Lois is named the new executive producer of the PGN Nightly News and Executive Vice President of new media. We also find out that she used to be a on air news anchor. Superman sees two guys in Joker masks steal a Oil Tanker truck, and when he is attempting to get them to surrender, the city falls under siege of some alien entity that seems made of fire. Everything this entity touches turns into more fire.

This leads to an extended battle, with Superman needing to use brains and brute force to take the entity down, finally getting him into space to starve him of oxygen. Superman couldn’t understand a word it was saying, but was certain it was saying “Krypton” over and over again.

In attempting to get coverage of the event, Lois refuses to put a pilot in danger, which annoys her new bosses at The Globe. Instead, she has Jimmy Olsen hack into Metropolis’s closed circuit camera system to get the coverage.

In the end, Clark goes to her place to apologize to Lois for not attending the press conference, only to find her with her current main squeeze, a dork named Jonathan Carroll. Clark slinks off into the night, sad and alone.

Review: When I went back to check the price of this book, I was shocked to see it was just $2.99. 27 pages of comic which all were very dense. In fact, one of the most amusing criticisms I have read about this comic was a message board poster that said “it required too much reading.” Keep that guy away from George RR Martin or Stephen King!

At first I was a little thrown by this almost standoffish Superman. He has a great distance between him and the other characters. I couldn’t really decide if I liked it or not until my wife put it into a brilliant perspective, ” He’s The Doctor (meaning the main character from Doctor Who). Last surviving member of an alien race, trying to fit in with the people of Earth, but unsure how or even if he wants to do so.” I realized she is 100% right, this is exactly what Perez and DC are going for here. That really makes moments like this, which I saw as just a real classic Superman pose even more poignant.

It is a different portrayal of Superman, but it ends up working very well. The character still feels heroic, but at the same time, remains very alien. It even makes it clear why Lois and Clark never ended up together. Lois doesn’t even seem to understand Clark’s feelings towards her:

As someone with a journalism background who is a big advocate in the idea of embracing the changing media, I thought Perez did a great job here showing both sides of the issue, and why print media still serves an important purpose.

At first I was gonna say that the art on this book was good, though not particularly memorable, but it occurred to me that I should point out the standout job the art team did on the fire creature:

He seems to never have a real consistent form, much like real fire.  It was a real great visual effect, and really brought the creature and the action to life in a way I’ve never really seen before in a comic.  Superman seemed to be fighting a force of nature more than just a standard baddie.

My biggest gripe about this issue is that even after reading it, the scenes in Stormwatch don’t make any more sense. This crossover feels kind of gimmicky and unnecessary. It’s a shame as I really liked Stormwatch and Superman except for these two real out of place scenes. Hopefully they manage to integrate them a little more smoothly into later issues.

Action Comics is going to receive the majority of the kudos, and Morrison did a good job there, but to me, this really was the premiere Superman book for DC relaunch month 1.  Highly recommended.

Final Score: 9.0 – This book really is the total package. Action Comics #1 was a great Superman story compared to how badly Superman has been treated the last few years. Superman #1 was a great Superman story no qualifiers needed.

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