Story: Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Art: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza
Release Date: 1st June 2016
Well here it is folks, your introduction into DC Rebirth’s Man of Steel. Oh, and he may not necessarily be who you thought he was, so please bear with me.
[Minor spoilers to follow]
Okay, so a bit of backstory before we get into it; the Superman that you grew up with (Unless you’re, y’know, five years old) ceased to exist at the end of an event called “Flashpoint” where some Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey stuff happened with The Flash and the DC Universe got reset back to its factory settings – an event the powers-that-be called the New 52. Now in this universe, Superman was much younger, drawn leaner and had a costume that had the internet worked into a frenzy, all because he finally wore his pants on the inside. Go figure. During this time, some more Wibbly-Wobbly stuff happened and the Superman and Lois Lane from the pre-Flashpoint universe were introduced – oh, and they have a son! They’ve aged all along, grown older, Superman has a sweet beard and wears all black. It was pretty good. Then DC announced Rebirth, and what better way to kick things off than by killing off the version of Supes the fans liked less, right? Well that’s exactly what happened, more or less, which brings you bang up to date!
At it’s bones, this is basically a recap issue of everything you need to know going into Superman #1 in two weeks time, and it’s done through the neat little plot package of Lana Lang talking to OG Superman. It’s a nice device used by Tomasi and Gleason, giving us a look at what has happened very briefly with the “not dead” Superman and providing everything that you might need to know going into the new series, while still tying it all together with the New 52 and Rebirth. There’s a lot of information to take in here, but the writing team does a fantastic job of presenting it in a way that is straightforward enough so as to not be confusing for people like me who haven’t read a whole lot of Superman related books recently.
It’s an interesting take on the character as well, as this seems to literally be an older version of the Superman I was used to reading. They’ve matured him naturally, too. He’s a little more stoic, calculating and parental towards this younger Lana Lang than the one he’s used to dealing with, and I honestly think this is a Superman I can get behind again.
Strap in and get comfy, because it’s time to talk about the powerhouse art team that is Doug Mahnke and Jamie Mendoza. Goddamn this book is beautiful. Like, seriously gorgeous. Mahnke is known for his incredibly Kinetic style, with bold lines and attention to detail, and Mendoza brings thing to life with his crisp, dynamic inkwork. Characters look seriously roughed up when they should, and have a strength about them that comes straight from the line work, but doesn’t make them look too over-exaggerated?
There are a couple of nice throwbacks to design choices of previous books as well. When flashing back to Doomsday, it’s all big open flash pages with bold colours and giant spreads. If I remember correctly, this was a device used in the original Death of Superman, where the panels essentially counted down tot he end of the issue, where superman “dies”. Mahnke turns out to be the perfect choice (that I would never have thought to choose( for the issue, with his style being a throwback to the darker times of the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe.
I won’t go into it either, but that last page needs to be made into either a print or poster. I know I’d buy one and display it proudly!
Tomasi, Gleason, Mahnke and Mendoza have done something I didn’t think was possible; they’ve made me care about Superman again, a character I had written off years ago as sensationalist and boring. I actually want to pick up two Superman books now to see where this story goes, That’s never happened before! Simply put, this is the introduction and the jumping-on point to the Man of Steel that you’ve been waiting for. It’s never been easier, with everything you need to know tied up in a neat little bundle. So if Superman has ever interested you, even in the slightest, now is most definitely the time to start reading. I know I will be.
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