Superman #1 Review: A Dense Yet Timely Story

Here we are everyone! It's the last week of the mostly lauded relaunch of the DC universe, and it makes sense to lead the way for this week's round of reviews with Superman #1, another of the major titles that were watched closely by the comic book faithful and society as a whole. Based on all the sales figures from over the past few weeks, it's obvious that major interest is there from not just those who read comics regularly. With all of the recent changes and story arcs with Superman over the past couple of years, everything from New Krypton to renounced American citizenship, a reset of the Superman franchise is not necessarily a bad idea if attracting new readers is the goal. The title has a heavy-hitter in the hands of noted comic book writer and artist George Perez. Perez has had notable runs over the years in books such as The Fantastic Four and especially his take on Wonder Woman in the 1980s. Perez has a knack for working with characters who have rich backstory, and Superman's is certainly that.

For this first issue, Perez gives us a blending of the past with the very much present, as The Daily Planet, a fixture in Metropolis and the larger DCU for years, has been acquired by another media group, and the demolition of the old Daily Planet building for a new one to be built is heavily symbolic in many ways. Morgan Edge, the CEO of the group that now controls The Daily Planet, announces some big changes, one of those being Lois Lane's appointment to a high-powered position in the company's nightly news and new media division. During the night of the big announcement, major news breaks as Superman tries to stop a couple of thieves stealing a truck full of toxic waste. One unfortunate explosion and a strange fire at an astrodome later, Superman has a fiery alien on his hands, who appears to keep repeating the word Krypton.

The fight between the fire alien and Superman gives us several interesting glimpses into this new world. Lois shows her ingenuity and steel in her new position, unafraid even to confront her boss about key story decisions in the heat of the moment. We also see the news crew on the ground, the behind the scenes figures at the astrodome, and Superman's battle. We hear very little from Superman himself, as most of the narration comes from the citizens around him as well as from a newspaper article written about the incident after the fact. The storytelling is quite dense and rich, and you get a strong sense of your money's worth with this issue. Superman is finally able to defeat the creature, with an odd after effect noted, and everything seems to put The Daily Planet off in a good stead. A bit of a heartbreaking scene for Clark Kent rounds out the issue, as apparently he and Lois have a tense professional relationship with Clark seeming to want so much more. Other than an abundance of references to previous Superman phrases and terms, which tends to drag down the issue a bit more than be funny and quirky (too much of a good thing is sometimes too much). Solid start to a historically rich character. Excellent artwork from Perez and Jesus Merino also puts a definitive stamp on this issue with lots of detail and care to the city and its historic residents. Grade: A