This relaunched version of Superman might be my favorite of the revamped characters in the DCnU. Superman, in appearance and character, is arguably the most iconic of the superheroes in DC’s line up, and it was a very ambitious move to mess with the globally recognizable Man of Steel. Overall, I think DC has succeeded in making Superman more accessible to a wider audience without losing his most iconic traits.
This issue opens on a documentary detailing the history of Superman in the DCnU. This was a nice little refresher course on the relaunched continuity, and it was also laden with little easter eggs for longtime fans like an appearance of Titano and a supervillain named Fleischer. More than a simple “previously, on Superman” device, this documentary showed what it would be like for the modern world to experience the debut of the first superhero. We see reactions of the general public ranging from adoration to suspicion of his anti-establishment stance of defying law enforcement to attack the corrupt power brokers of Metropolis. I hate to use this term, but it almost feels like the “Ultimate” version of Superman (which I mean as a compliment).
We see in this documentary that Lois Lane produced that there is contention over whether or not Superman is actually a positive presence. The argument seems to be that such a powerful metahuman like Superman is attracting increasingly powerful antagonists. Although Superman has always defeated these metahuman menaces, the idea is that there’s a certain amount of civilian casualties that wouldn’t necessarily happen if Superman didn’t exist. This sort of commentary and philosophical questioning is the kind of thing I like to see in my Superman comics.
This issue involves Superman fighting against the third in a line of odd monsters that have attacked Metropolis in the past two issues. This time it’s an ice monster that’s freezing the entire city with an arctic tornado. These scenes are a showcase for Nicola Scott’s great art of Superman in action, and it seems important to have at least one big battle for every issue of this comic. After the disappointing box office numbers of Superman Returns, it’s obviously a smart move to have Superman using his vast powers against vastly powerful enemies rather than floating around indecisively like an indestructible Hamlet.
I’m enjoying this comic quite a bit. It’s a risky move to radically change both the world and the costume of Superman, and at least for me, it’s paying off. I know some people don’t like the new costume, but I love it; in my opinion, the red belt looks better than red underpants (sorry, @supermanstrunks!) and I wish they would have used this costume in the upcoming Man of Steel film. Overall, I give this issue four out of five Raos.