Sunday, May 05, 2013

Adventures of Superman #1

The Adventures of Superman #1 is both good and significant.

I didn't think we'd ever be seeing Superman in his old "circus strongman" costume, red underwear and all.  I mean, even the child-oriented Superman family adventures uses the New52 costume.

But here it is in AOS, in all its pajama-y glory, sending a clear "this is Superman in the abstract" message.

The story, however, is quite concrete.  The threat Superman is facing -- a junkie whose suddenly acquired enormous telepathic power -- is very threatening (to Metropolis and Superman) and pathetic.  Frankly, I can't recall the last time I was so moved by a Superman fight scene, both by concern for Superman et al. and by sympathy for his opponent.  Superman is a much better character when he's facing Problems (such as a threat who seems more confused than evil) rather than Villains he can simply beat down.

OMG, it's the soundtrack of my last date!

This was no cinematic scenery-breaking showdown without consequences. People were hurt; lives were at stake.  I felt the threat palpably, not just intellectually.  At times it felt like a punch in the face.

This image is an instant, permanent classic.  You'll be seeing this for the rest of your life now.

The real villain of the piece actually doesn't appear until the end, and that scene (particularly the final words) is about as classic a Superman set piece as you will ever see.  The whole thing was not only done well, but done-in-one.  And that in the equivalent of only ten standard pages, with a clear set up for following stories.

Aside from ALL of this, I realized only upon a second reading that I was, for the first time, reading a comic book that was designed to be read on an iPad, rather than just reformatted for it.

If someone asked me to recommend an introductory superhero comic book to 'a civilian', I now have no question what I would recommend: AOS #1.

A comic book that's out of New52 continuity.
That's done-in-one.
That's action packed, but full of sympathetic and interesting characterization.
That's digital first.
That only cost 99 cents.

"I need only reach the sun."

That seems pretty significant to me.  And I want a lot more of it.


SallyP said...

Is that Chris Samnee? It sure looks like Samnee.

Seriously, I loves me some Samnee.

Jim McClain said...

Agreed on all counts!

Bryan L said...

I agree as well. This comic hearkens back to Superman, the Animated Series in plot and tone. And though the art is different, it's still clean and "animated." I was incredibly impressed when I read it. It's head and shoulders above the other "digital first" titles DC has released.

That's not to say those are necessarily bad. They started out very positive, but longer storylines are starting to take a very strong toll on them. I'm referring to Batman Beyond, Justice League Beyond, Superman Beyond, and Legends of the Dark Knight. They began as shorter installments, but now storylines are running as much as six or eight issues, and they're suffering from the same decompression that's plaguing print. I hope this title doesn't start down that road.

dicecipher said...

Sounds like a real Superman story. Thanks for the review. And I love Chris Sammee as well.