Cover date: August 2006
Story Adapted by: Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Penciller: Karl Kerschl
Inker: Karl Kerschl
Cover: Adam Hughes
"Superman Returns: Krypton to Earth"
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Looking over her memories, she goes about her daily chores and sees Clark and Pa making rockets. She recalls the scene from Superman: The Movie where Clark as a very small boy saved Pa Kent from the truck rolling over onto him.
She remembers Clark raising dust while clearing the crows out of the fields, and thinks of the truck which serves as a memorial to the people missing in her life.
She feeds the chickens and sees a hole in the roof pointing sun into the bay where Clark's ship is stored, and remembers when Clark first found it, how they had to explain what they knew about Clark's past.
Ma Kent gets exotic stamps, and thinks of postcards Clark sent her from far away places, urging her to cash the checks he sends from the Daily Planet. She goes to dinner and remembers Clark using super-speed to put ice in her drink, and her cautioning him not to show off.
Martha washes the dishes, recalling how she put off urges to get a dishwasher, how washing dishes can be a focus. She remembers Clark after Jonathan's funeral, and when he left to find the Fortress.
Recalling a similar scene, she remembers Clark realizing through the news that Krypton might still be alive, and leaving her again, in a similar fashion, for space.
Alone, she wishes for his return. On the porch, she sees a wash of light as Superman's craft smashes into the corn field, bringing him home to her.
Story - 5: The first issue of this series of four read a lot like a summary to me, a way to capitalize on Superman: The Movie and the nostalgia that comes from it. It seems like Bryan slapped together a few scenes from the movie, added in a few hints from the new film, and then put it out. Neat, yeah, to see a re-imagining through comics of classic images, but to me, it honestly didn't offer much. I felt like these books might be a solid gyp, given that it looks like it was a CLANCY affair. By which I refer to the whole OP-CENTER Tom Clancy series, where Clancy, puffing on a big cigar in his palatial estate, comes up with an idea, delegates it to a ghost writer, then puts it out with his name on it to line his own pockets like a jerk.
That didn't seem like Bryan Singer to me despite a secondary writer being listed, so I wanted to give this series a fair shake.
I'm glad I did. I've never really seen so stark and vivid a portrayal of Ma Kent. It's astonishing the way this comes out of nowhere and slaps you in the head.
Yes, there are scenes ripped from the movie, but they're referenced in context to character and with wholly new scenes that enhance the movie continuity and lead into how she's feeling, what life means to her, who she is. Little things, like the fact that she doesn't cash the checks that Clark sends to her on a regular basis.
My favorite moment is when she looks at dishes as a focusing tool, a way to cope with things. In a recent book I wrote I used the exact same device, because I know how powerful it is on a personal level. When life gets me down, I build. I construct. I pound walls and create something on this house I live in. I've had mothers and grandmothers who turn to housework in the very same fashion, and it's a broad statement of that middle-American value structure. When all else fails, keep on your work, keep your head down, weather the crisis; this too shall pass. It's a VERY strong, almost religious image, and it just broke my heart.
Give Andreyko regular work, DC. Or suffer mediocrity.
Art - 5: Which wouldn't have been HALF of what it was had it not been for Karl humanizing it. I love Karl Kerschl, I'm biased as can get about that, and regular readers know that, but this is stepping up the game. It made me look at his work in a new light, honestly. I always noticed how he was with capturing character, how his people looked more real in a comic book setting than most, but here, given the chance to explore a real human drama over, say, Mongul hitting Plasmus, he really shines through in a new way for me. The splash scenes would make incredible posters, and it's just...wow. Take a look at it.
And hey, you're already giving Kerschl regular work, but more of this direction. Wow.
Cover Art - 5: A vivid image to begin with, but it improves when you look at the logo in context. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it looks like Ma Kent's looking up to see her son, and the logo, the title, it's right there but she can't see it, almost like he's coming and she has no realization of this. That just kind of added to the cover for me. It's a bit dark, yeah, but given that they're trying to bring out the feel of a night sky in desolation, well, you can't complain. Great work.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2006.