Before I get into this comic, I have a minor complaint and an accompanying story that’s slightly embarrassing. It’s kind of annoying that in the same month, Superman Rebirth 1 and Superman 1 released. Why not just call it Superman 1 and put the Rebirth name on the cover, or maybe use a 0 issue instead? This morning, I accidentally picked up Superman Rebirth 1 and Batman Rebirth 1 instead of this week’s releases, even though I already own them. Thankfully my shop let me trade them straight up for this week’s issues, because the staff there is awesome. Still. I do like DC’s $3 comic prices so I won’t get too hot and bothered about it. Anyway, I’m reviewing Superman 1 over Batman 1 because I have more to say about this one, and I also reviewed Action Comics last week, so it’s a good comparison.
Superman 1 entirely takes place on Clark and Lois’s new farm, mostly from the eyes of their son, Jon. It’s a great look into his struggles to not only hide his powers, but learning to control them. It’s a great way to set up their family dynamic and their son’s mindset, with a touch of Superman’s parenting style. The first half of this comic feels optimistic and fun, but after an accident with Jon’s heat vision, the comic takes a dramatic turn that’s very effective. This comic also introduces one of their new neighbors – a girl about Jon’s age, and one who happened to witness Jon’s accident. The ending is a bit mysterious and probably scary from Jon’s eyes, but it’ll probably go in an interesting direction. With so much drama going on there isn’t much room for superhero action, but that’s just fine for this issue.
I’m not sure who to credit for art in this issue. Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are credited as the storytellers. Whoever handled the art did a good job though. The opening page of Clark looking at New 52 Superman’s grave gives a great, somber atmosphere with the faded trees in the background, the shadows and Clark’s silhouette. After that there’s a great montage that tells the story of Superman’s life, from his infancy on Krypton to his childhood on Earth and his superheroing in various ways. Facial expressions do a great job to convey characters’ feelings, whether it’s Jon’s stunned, sad look after his accident, the awkward look his neighbor gives him when they meet up close or the looks of joy in Clark’s montage. The colouring by John Kalisz is great too. Everything is bright and colourful during the day and evening, while the night scenes are darker yet still easy to see.
This is a great start to the new Superman series, enough so that I’ll most likely drop Action Comics and just stick with this. The character focus in the writing is fantastic, and the art helps emphasize the drama in several ways. It feels like this series will be something special, unlike Action Comics, which has a decent idea but the execution just felt bland with the first issue. Of the two Superman titles I’ve read so far, this is the one I’d recommend.
And because I don’t have the energy to write a full review for Batman 1 as well, I’ll just say that it’s really good. Maybe not quite on Scott Snyder’s level yet, but Tom King’s run should be just fine.