Superman #1 review

It’s a brand new day in Metropolis, with Superman still basking in the joy of being home after his Warworld adventure. The villains are low stakes…

… the Daily Planet is ticking over…

… and with Lex Luthor in prison, Lexcorp is…

…Supercorp? That’s unexpected. It seems that Superman having turned down Lex’s offer of a partnership for good, Lex is out to force his hand.

Chief Operating Officer Mercy Graves says that if Superman doesn’t agree to work with The Company Formerly Known as Lexcorp, everyone is out of a job.

Also this issue – a new girlfriend for Jimmy Olsen! A very dapper new Special Crimes Unit Captain! And Superman officiates at a wedding!

Is that not adorable? It’s possibly my favourite page as writer Joshua Williamson and artist Jamal Campbell kick off their creative partnership and the latest Superman title. Possibly… there’s so much else to enjoy in a comic that feels as fresh as it looks.

Over in Action Comics writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been giving us a wonderfully calm Man of Steel, and while we get recognisably the same guy here, there’s a little more edge to him as Luthor really gets under his skin following a terrific running gag involving super hearing. Luthor isn’t making out he’s reformed, he’s claiming something big is coming, something that can be vanquished only if Superman works with him. Given the end of this issue, which could win a Most Sinister Final Page gong, it seems he’s telling the truth, but still, would you partner with a man as twisted as Lex?

So yes, I enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the art too, Campbell was pretty great on Naomi, and he’s only improving, with page after page of confident, big-hearted artwork – there’s a lovely humanity to Clark’s supporting cast. There’s one panel in particular that has Clark smiling proudly as acting Editor-in-Chief Lois tries far too hard which filled me with joy.

Did you notice that Jimmy Olsen byline? It’s just one of several clever insets introducing the characters – a great idea from Williamson, excellently executed by Campbell. Another new visual idea I like sees Campbell extend Superman’s cape to indicate motion. A slightly less successful use of the cape is as mount for a montage of scenes from Superman’s early years – Campbell’s full-colour art is generally very effective, but a bit more ‘pop’ in this case would help the storytelling.

But overall, this is stellar, thoughtful work – heck, wait until you see Campbell’s version of the Daily Planet globe (should DC ever realise they should probably have a model sheet for Metropolis, they could do far worse than enshrine Campbell’s look).

Ariana Maher’s lettering is sharp, with some pleasing vocal flourishes. And while I like the two-page intro/credits page for its design and new Superman Legend text, I sigh at the near-certainty we’ll get it every blooming issue, as in World’s Finest. Can’t we please give some space to a lettercol?

Campbell’s double cover image is glorious, showing our cast of characters as the giants of Metropolis they are. And just look at the lighting!

As first issues go, this one – edited by Paul Kaminski and Jillian Grant – is a stunner. There’s more I could say, but I’d love to hear your thoughts – does this Superman fly for you?

3 thoughts on “Superman #1 review

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