By: Adam Basciano
The focus of this issue is The Daily Planet. The issue starts with the demolition of the old Daily Planet building. No a super villain is not responsible, but Morgan Edge is. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re probably thinking Huh? Why? Morgan Edge has bought the Daily Planet and made it a part of his media conglomerate. He’s promoted Lois Lane to Executive Producer of P.G.N.’s Nightly News Division, as well as Executive Vice – President of new media. Perry White remains the Editor – in – Chief of the print division. What about Clark Kent and Superman? Well, Clark Kent is still a journalist, albeit a disgruntled one, who is against the merger. As for Superman, he spends the bulk of the issue battling an alien fire entity that has set Metropolis on fire.
I enjoyed this issue because it reads like a metaphor for the New 52. When it first was announce many fans were against the idea because it would change the characters they had come to know and love. Much like how Clark is up in arms over the merger because of fear of the Daily Planet losing its journalistic integrity. After seeing some of the results of the merger, he eventually changes his tune (that’s why Clark Kent isn’t a basement dweller). I enjoyed that Superman maintained his personality from Action Comics. It was slightly more reserved, but the assertiveness was definitely there. Nice continuity nod’s to both Action Comics and Stormwatch are also present. I’m a sucker for consistency and for a while prior to the relaunch, it felt like the character appearing in Action and Superman was a totally different person. Also the interaction between Lois and Clark, was the most meaningful page time the couple’s been given together in who knows how long, so kudos to the writing team. Also, it’s refreshing to see Superman struggle to overcome his villain. He has to use his brain and brawn. In past years Superman would’ve blown the fire out (as he tried to and failed), quite easily.
I did have a couple issues with the story. Perez drops a hint that this fire entity has a connection to Krypton, but then doesn’t expand on it. I realize it will probably be revealed in a later issue, but there’s something to be said for giving readers a tidbit to chew on for a month. Also, as I mentioned before, this issue could’ve been called Daily Planet #1. It sets-up the new status quo for the most famous fictional nespaper in the world, while giving little to no info on the main character. Is Superman’s backstory exclusive to Action Comics? Given that Action Comics #1 is currently 5 years behind the Superman book, I had hoped for more detail about Superman himself other then the casual mention that, “he’s been out of town.”
Pencils were handled by Jesus Merino, while layouts and breakdowns we’re done by Perez. The collaboration is obvious as you can sense both men’s artistic styles on the page. I know that the pencils were all by Merino, but it’s as if he we’re channelling Perez, especially when drawing Superman. Metropolis was incredibly detailed. Metropolis’ skyline at night looks so impressive, it’s postcard worthy. For some reason, the visual depictions of Superman and Clark Kent sold the dual identity more so then ever before. Whether it’s the messed up hairdo, the Harry Potter glasses, or a more youthful appearance, if I didn’t know better I’d believe Clark and Superman were two different people. I enjoyed the layouts in this book. Most of the pages we’re jam packed with images. This was very appropriate when Superman battles the alien fire entity. The flame engulfs the page. My favourite image in the book is Superman hovering in the night sky with the moon behind him. However, I did notice something alarmingly wrong with the art. Jimmy Olsen looks too much like Justin Bieber! So much so, I half expected him to turn to his female co-worker and break out into an annoying rendition of “Baby.” I don’t have Bieber Fever, so I don’t want to see a visual likeness of that pubescent fool in my comic books.
This book didn’t wow me like Action Comics #1. Having said that, I think it makes a solid first entry for the Superman title in this new era. Despite setting up a new status quo for the characters, this book still feels like a classic Superman story. I’d be more than happy if Perez and Merino continued this trend on the remainder of their run on the book. The bottom line is the book was good, not great. Yet it’s still the best issue of “Superman” I’ve read in two and a half years.
Overall Grade: 7.5/10