The first issue of Superman stumbles despite a few high points.
The Man of Steel miniseries has concluded, revealing Superman in a sad place. During the miniseries, we learn that Jon and his mother went with Jor-El on a space trip to learn about the galaxy. Despite Superman protesting, Jor promises it is only over the summer and gives him a communication device. During the attack of Rogol Zaar in the miniseries, however, the Fortress of Solitude and the device was destroyed. Supergirl, who grieves the loss of the bottled city of Kandor, also leaves in search of Rogol’s origins. This leaves Superman without his family, genuinely feeling alone. Where will he go now in this new series?
**Some Spoilers Below**
Clark does his best to keep busy, but the events of the miniseries are still affecting him. Whenever he isn’t at the Daily Planet, he flies off into space, hoping to find his family. The league tries to console him, but he keeps to himself and his two jobs. After building a new Fortress of Solitude in the Bermuda Triangle, Martian Manhunter approaches him with a proposition.
The story for this first issue has plenty of positives and negatives. An example of the positive, there are some nice emotional moments that humanize Superman. There is a moment where Clark is in his home in Metropolis, and he thinks about when his wife and son were there. It’s heart-wrenching to see Superman as lonely as this. We spent most of Rebirth watching Superman and his family live in this world new to them. Now we see how quiet his world is without them. It’s moments like this and the conversation with Martian Manhunter that stand out this issue.
On the example of negative, however, the story felt too quick and little. We see Superman trying to find family, go to work, talk to J’onn, then it’s over. There wasn’t a chance to digest what was presented before it ended. Even the action sequences were so fast we couldn’t enjoy them. Every fight lasted no more than a page and had Superman finish with a single punch. Yes, he is supposed to be that strong, but in a comic, the gifts are supposed to get us excited. This issue felt like a setup for four different arcs jammed into one comic. Hopefully, the arc becomes more evenly paced when the next issue is released.
While the story ended up being hit or miss, the art goes above and beyond. Ivan Reis illustrates the issue, and he nails each page. Superman looks fantastic, and his feats are cinematic in scope. Alex Sinclair backs up these amazing illustrations with colors to match. Despite the darker tones of the story, Sinclair can keep it colorful enough to keep the Superman feel but not enough to make it cartoony. While the story might fly by fast, the art gives us something wonderful to accompany it.
This could have been better, but it also could have been worse. There are positives for readers to enjoy, despite the pacing. The art of Ivan Reis is phenomenal and almost makes you forget of the flaws. Hopefully, the arc improves from here, but with the cliffhanger we got, I expect great things.