One year ago I tore Superman’s relaunch apart. Now, I am wrong about as often as Jimmy Olsen says “golly, gee Mr. Kent” so you know there is no way will ever have to comeback on my initial review. Usually I just stew in secret, but this claim was made in public. Hey! Even four readers is public.
I read the first two issues of Action Comics, the first title of the Superman line to see the shelves and my ability to read anything Superman without bias was clouded in my utter disdain for the aforementioned experience. A year away and a dozen issues of Superman have given me some reason to reconsider.
Now I won’t make this all my fault, I blame Grant Morrison who wrote Action Comics issues 1 & 2. This isn’t about Action, but I still stand by my initial claim that they were terrible. He wrote Superman with a Batman-edge, he was gritty and pompous, almost vain. I was so offended that Superman was written anything but a boy scout I didn’t even try to read Superman # 1 for what it was, I read the first few pages and threw it away. Now looking back and reading the first 12 issues I have to admit, I was wrong… wrong for not giving Superman Comics a fair shot.
George Perez’s initial kick-off run and Dan Jurgens’s continued efforts of a more mature and developed Man of Steel have been nothing short of amazing. The return of Jurgens is a treat for someone who has followed Superman since childhood as he is one of Kal-el’s best writers. Like Jurgens of old, using a style to create a Metropolis where random new threats arrive almost issue-to-issue to face off and test the Kryptonian rather than resort to historic villains such as Luthor, Brainiac and Bizarro keeps Superman creative and original. Sometimes the new villains catch on as Doomsday did following his iconic “Death of Superman” tale. In Jurgens short time he has brought in two classic, but always well received Superman lines in fighting a cold war Russians-like story where a secret sub lines in danger on the bottom of the ocean holding an even more deadly secret and the never fails someone thinks they know Superman’s real identity.
Superman’s new suit at is more up to date with the addition of some sort of morphing undershirt that becomes a blue suit and cape rather than the classic whole suit under the outfit that has been the case since the 1930s. But the actual material is a bit poor, while I like the whole blue look sans the red underpants, the armor like appearance makes it look too much like the Batsuit material.
Unless artwork is too life-like as in that of Alex Ross I genuinely don’t have complaint. For the most part DC does a good job of hiring artists with a similar style for Superman. The only artist than I can think of that stands out as different is Ed McGuinnness who had a cartoonee-over muscular tone to his appearance.
With the start of a new “reset” gone are some of the confusing story line histories of past loves, politicians, businessmen, old friends and minor characters; instead the long-standing Perry, Lois, Jimmy and Luthor are the must knows while minors like General Lane, Star Labs, Dr. Irons and such are almost reintroduced with a much more straight forward story.
After 70 years with the Man of Steel in Metropolis we have come to accept him unconditionally as a friend with his only naysayers as his enemy combatants; with the relaunch it has brought us more in line with how society treats others, especially outsiders. If a man today were to show up half of America would call for the military intervene and the other half would look to create a superhero save tax.
For 30-something years I have been a Superman fan, I was wrong to turn my nose up after not giving Clark his fair shot in his new digs. I will be a monthly reader of this book again for sure. Lets if DC begins to add more titles to the line as the new film nears and interest in Superman returns. Jurgens is doing his part to bring a new generation a good interpretation of Superman, with the addition of a successful blockbuster Superman can not only match Batman’s popularity, he can eclipse his ally
I am about to give Action a shot at redemption, I don’t know if 12-issues can change my opinion, maybe a new writer or approach can improve our relationship. Grant Morrison is a talented writer, I just think he was writing Batman, not Superman… we will see.