Friday, June 14, 2013

Superman Unchained #1 Review

Superman Unchained #1 Review
By: Jay 

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Superman Unchained #1! The much hyped Scott Snyder and Jim Lee book is finally here on Superman Day! Does this book live up to its hype? Can Scott Snyder do for Superman what he has done for Batman? Is Jim Lee’s art super? Find out in my review of Superman Unchained #1.

Someone or something has knocked eight objects out of orbit, including satellites and a space station. Superman looks into whom or what is doing this, even questioning Lex Luthor, but his biggest lead comes from Lois Lane.

Here it is, the book that Superman fans have been waiting for for months. I wasn’t so sure about Scott Snyder being the writer for this series to be perfectly honest. I am a HUGE Superman fan and as great of a writer as Snyder is I didn’t think he could tell a great Superman story. He is great with the darkness of the Batman side of the DCU and delivers a chilling tale in The Wake, but Superman isn’t dark. He isn’t something to be frightened of. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With that said, I am surprisingly pleased.

Snyder weaved a terrific Superman story. This wasn’t a Batman story with Superman as the main character, or Superman in a horror story, but an outright proper Superman story. There have been only a few instances where Superman has really felt true to the character to me in the New 52, and this issue can now join that club. Snyder doesn’t just capture the voice of Superman, but the very premise of the character. The major difference between Batman and Superman is that in his head Bruce Wayne thinks of himself as Batman, whereas Superman thinks of himself as Clark Kent. That is something I think most writers have forgotten since the New 52, but Snyder uses that in his internal monologue. When Superman is thinking of a way to shut down the space station’s engine he refers to himself as Clark.

Snyder’s story is told on a blockbuster scale. There is intrigue from the opening pages where we are in Nagasaki August 9, 1945, and something emerges from a dropping bomb. That intrigue is coupled with action when we see Superman trying to stop a space station from falling to Earth. But this issue has more than action and intrigue, it has well written characters. Lois Lane is in true form here. She playfully tells Clark that he made a big mistake in his article while setting up the layout for the latest edition of the Daily Planet, and never misses a beat. Perry White is worried about how the paper looks and selling add space, and the flow of conversation between him and Lois is classic. Then you have the antagonistic relationship between Superman and Lex and the friendship between Clark and Jim Olsen, both showcasing different aspects of Superman. He’s more direct and blunt with Lex like a cop with a perp, while Jim brings out that nurturing big brother farmboy side of him.

Jim Lee’s art is really good, but not great to me. This isn’t anything against him, or to say he doesn’t have talent, because the man does. Personally I am not a fan of his work because he tends to add these lines to things. For instance on the splash page where the bomb is dropping from the plane; a small child is looking up at it with binoculars. His face has so many lines on it that he looks older. He tends to do this where simple shading is normally placed.

Now the thing I always really liked about Lee’s work on Superman is in this book. He makes Superman/Clark Kent look just a little bit different than the average person. He still looks like he could have fallen off of a turnip truck from Smallville, but he also has this alien quality to him that makes him visually unique and interesting.

This is a first issue, and I’m on board. Snyder and Lee have sold me on this book, and have me interested enough to want to grab not just the next issue, but at least the first arc to see where they are going with this “weapon” that the U.S. has had for the last 75 years. With a great story and solid art, I highly recommend you pick Superman Unchained #1 up.

That is what I think about this book. Let us know what you think about Superman Unchained in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to know whenever we post more previews, reviews, news and interviews on Comic Frontline.

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