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!