Adventures of Superman #1 review

The Man of Steel goes digital as DC begins a new 99 cents, online-first series, Adventures of Superman. Behind Bryan Hitch’s wonderful cover image lies the first chapter of a serial by Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee. Violent Minds sees Superman strive to contain a crazed telekinetic without harming him, before he winds up killing someone. By the end of this action-packed 20pp instalment the reader learns who’s behind the substance that gives small-time hood Leon Torsik powers that send him mad; Superman isn’t so privileged.

Parker’s Superman is the classic hero – immensely powerful, yet his first instinct is to appease his opponent, close a situation without violence. Leon is a dupe, but mind over matter makes him a credible threat, as seen in my favourite sequence (click on image to enlarge).

It’s safe to say Samnee nails Superman in page after page of joyous, animation-ready cartooning. It’s rare that we see Superman working at street level, even rarer at night, and Samnee has me wishing for more such scenes. He really brings the city alive, in terms of its architecture as much as its citizens. Said citizens’ reactions to a frankly terrifying situation range from the understandably panicked to the endearingly casual.

Matthew Wilson’s vibrant colours make excellent illustrations even better, while Wes Abbott’s letters add another layer. Kudos too, to cover colourist David Baron for his sunshine hues. Said cover is topped by a favourite logo variation – I love how the original Siegel and Shuster masthead ‘S’ sneaks in at the end of ‘Adventures’ – the only thing that could improve it would be to bring that little lost ‘of’ into the fold – doesn’t it deserve display lettering too?

An added visual treat is that Adventures of Superman gets to feature Superman in his traditional outfit – look ma, red underpants! And an unashamed spit curl! If Parker and Samnee handle Clark Kent and the Daily Planet as well as they do Superman and regular folks, then I’m declaring it – New 52 be darned, the real Superman is back!

17 thoughts on “Adventures of Superman #1 review

  1. Just bought it and read it! Terrific stuff, and I look forward to more!

    I'm getting the feeling that, with these digital books, continuity might finally start to lose its stranglehold on some characters that should be for everybody, hard-core fan and casual reader alike. Couldn't be happier. Would love to see a weekly DC anthology like that: a 99-cent GL story one week, then a Black Canary two-parter, then a Flash story, then Black Lightning, and so on… all marketed to the casual reader.

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  2. At first glance, I thought it was a Kevin Nowlan cover.

    Anyway, nice to see Superman classic back. DC does seem to flip-flop on this New 52 thing. The mainstream books feature new 52 looks, but outside of them we get the traditional ones. I'm happy about that, though.

    And Samnee's art is always a joy to behold.

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  3. jeff parker is a great writer in fact try his awesome red hulk run it had mystery sci-fi tragedy humour and heart, in fact i like ross more than banner i'm just sad he is in thunderbolts now

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  4. Many thanks for the review- if it's done by Samnee I'd want to know about it, and if there's red underwear on Supes I ALSO want to know about it!

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  5. Hey Martin, great review. I felt the same way as well, I really enjoy the digital offerings that DC's been pumping out and 99c is a pretty fair price (for me at least!). The digital titles are great ways to tell shorter stories that don't rely on being collected into a 5-6 issue trade, so I don't feel like they're too stretched out.

    Also, if there's a creative team on an arc I'm not too keen on, I can opt to skip out on that arc and come back at a later time and not feel like I'm going to be left out. I also love that an issue comes out every week!

    My only qualm with this story is that as a first issue, Superman isn't exactly in a great position by the end of it. He wasn't able to save the guy, he has no idea who the bad guy is (though I did before the reveal!), and well the bad guy is now a little closer to beating him. So to me, the tone of it as a first and stand alone issue was weird.

    But nonetheless, I really enjoyed it and that panel of him punching himself in the face got an audible reaction from me as I was reading it. I can't wait for the next issue!

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  6. Hi Arvin, interesting point about Superman not triumphing – I'm OK with that, as this is a weekly and nice-priced, so we'll soon see an overall super-victory. Meanwhile, he did save a fair few lives.

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  7. Oh. A new story. A sweet new story. With … pictures. I've not seen a lot of Jeff Lemire artwork, but what I've seen has tended to be more pleasing – this is really ugly stuff, with his Superman uglier than a Bizarro Two-Face. I like the feel of the piece, the colouring is nice, but those figures, brrrr. What did you reckon?

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  8. actually it was much better than the new t bolts, rulk was actually learning to mellow out and be a real hero, he had his bouts of suffering but overcame them, fought new enemies and defeated them and he even made friends and has possible love interest a sweet lmd named annie you'd like her mart it was nice seeing ross care so much for annie and his new pal machine man

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  9. Haha! Yeah my sentiments exactly. I liked the tone of this story (since it was my one qualm about the last story), but the drawings are cringe-worthy! I do enjoy a lot of Lemire's writing, his Justice League Dark and Animal man books have been fun as of late… but his drawings? Maybe because Superman is supposed to be a good looking guy, and he showcases a giant last panel with a closeup of his face. And his style just doesn't quite reach what I believe he was trying to show in that last panel very well.

    I can usually handle his work, and I didn't mind it with his legends of the dark knight digital issue at all, but this issue… yeah…

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