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Superman #1

DC Comics

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Ivan Reis

Inks by Joe Prado

Colors by Alex Sinclair

Letters by Josh Reed

The Man of Steel is not in the best place emotionally. After his father takes both his son Jon and his wife Lois on an extended trip through the galaxy, Superman finds himself alone after dealing with the aftermath of Rogol Zaar’s attack on the fortress and the revelations about the fate of Krypton. After his communicator is damaged during the fight with Zaar, Clark decides to take to the stars to track down his missing family. An armada of Dominator ships heads to Earth and that cuts Clark’s trip short.

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There’s a lot of introspection in this issue. Clark is dealing with a lot and his ability to be resilient in the face of new challenges is tested. Something else is tested as well when Martian Manhunter decides to confront his friend about the future of the planet and Superman’s place in that future. He echoes thoughts similar to Jor-El and the exchange both showcases the kind of hero Superman is in trying to help how he can when he can and also the limitations Superman has put on himself in that regard. It’s a good scene that is punctuated by the words that Kal’s father hurled at him that were both hurtful and correct in their own way.

Bendis is creating a new dynamic for Superman. One that makes him question both his history and his mission and that is a good thing. Part of the problem with Superman has always been that he is so relentlessly good and earnest that his character lacks nuance. It’s interesting to see a Superman unsure of himself and feeling loss in different ways. He doesn’t have his family to turn to and the history of his culture was destroyed. Bendis has stripped away those comforts and is laying the character out there in order to craft a story uniquely for him and that’s a good thing.

The art by Ivan Reis is outstanding. There are some great effects in some of the panels that are so subtle that they could be missed at first glance, but they are really great once you catch them. The attention to detail is great and the colors really pop in every panel. For a first issue of a new run, this one was more subtle than one would expect, but it introduces some pretty big concepts, ideas and challenges for Superman going forward.

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