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Mild Mannered Reviews - "Superman" Comics

Superman #32 Superman #32

Superman #32

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 25, 2014

Cover date: August 2014

"The Men of Tomorrow" - Chapter One: "Ulysses"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Cover: John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson & Laura Martin
Bombshell Variant: Ant Lucia

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Superman #32 Superman #32 A young baby, from Dimension Three escapes his world's demise by being sent to Dimension Four in a parallel to Kal-El's escape from Krypton. Twenty five years later Jimmy Olsen is at the Daily Planet presenting Perry with photos of Superman's battle with Titano.

Jimmy explains to Perry why, when he is a millionaire he still pursues a career at the Planet with payment in Luncheon vouchers, and a visit by ex-employee Clark Kent is the next surprise.

Perry offers Clark a job behind Morgan Edge's back but Clark is reluctant. Perry delivers some cutting home truths about Clark's behavior and points out that as much as the Planet needs Clark, Clark need the Planet.

While Jimmy tries to find out about his missing parents from obstinate lawyers, Perry's words weigh heavy and Clark spends a night at home. Diana and Bruce are out fighting the good fight, so for a rare night Clark Kent is just Clark Kent. Clark tries to unsuccessfully cook one of his mother's signature dishes and then looks at an album of the only family he has ever known.

A call for help has Clark race into action, only to find an alien craft over Metropolis. It attacks the Man of Steel and unknown to him, his shadowy mentor is watching a video feed of Clark and rooting for his success. The alien craft releases a warrior speaking in an alien dialect and as Superman returns fire his heat-vision suddenly overloads.

The warriors uses Superman's lack of control to his advantage and launches into a powerful attack, until a blonde stranger arrives and knocks him back. Superman and the stranger attack simultaneously incapacitating him.

Superman thanks the stranger as he catches his breath. The stranger is shocked that Superman speaks English and that he has arrived in America. He mentions that a villain named Klerik had vowed to destroy his home world but if he's in America Klerik either lied or failed.

He is called Ulysses, and until this day, for 25 years he believed he was the Last Son of Earth...

To Be Continued...

5Story - 5: So this is it. Hyped for months but John Romita Jr. and DC's Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, have arrived to continue Superman Vol. 3.

Say what you will but 'Superman' has been a neglected series since the onset of the New 52. A carousel of creatives who have worked very hard to fix the previous teams' creative conundrums. Geoff Johns was able to craft a fantastic foundation that was solid for Green Lantern and Aquaman and his stories on Superman in Vol. 2 were some of the best Man of Steel stories told recently. This is an uncanny knack but the problem is in the past he has merely dipped his toe in Superman storytelling. A 6 issue arc here a 3 issue one there and then he moves on. I hope this time he's in it for the long term - by that I mean 24 issues plus. This soft reboot is a nice understated beginning (excessive media coverage and advertising aside). There is a LOT to fix but it's a nice baby step in the right direction.

The scene with Perry White was the driving force and the catalyst for this issue's direction. Yes, there are plenty of swiss cheese holes Geoff has to plug but just a scene like this with woefully underused cast members gives us more hope than the 'S' Shield. This issue was also the first time Clark Kent was just... Clark. The last time he had real time to be the man not the SUPERman was at his parents' gravesite way back in the George Perez arc - YES, that far back. When you lose Clark, and you do what they have with Lois, there is massive disconnect with the story. Just seeing Clark doing everyday things in between smashing alien crafts and robot apes gives you an emotional bond to Clark that makes you like him, and root for him to win, not just action splash pages.

The main story with Ulysses needs time to breathe, so I won't be overly critical, but we are enduring analogue Supermen stories in 'Unchained' and 'Doomed', so I hope it won't re-tread that ground.

This is a nice beginning, but I think I'll wait for more expansion of Clark's world first.

The Lobdell run was generally regarded as an uneven (I softened that) run so it can only improve from here.

5Art - 5: Love him or hate him Romita's art breathes a unique visual style that the book has been lacking for some time. Rocafort did some great work but the writing really drained the life out of the art. Romita Jr. bringing his style to Superman is nothing short of a master stroke.

Perhaps jarring to begin with, the veteran artist's style is familiar from his Marvel days, but still has evolved into something different here. Inking is very fast paced here and evident in places with pencils seeming just as rushed but rather than looking bad they actually breathe in enthusiasm and energy.

There is no massive attempt to break ground (much like the writing), but Romita & Janson deliver a look to the book that I've only ever seen Bruce Timm achieve successfully before. Much like the writing, as months go on I only expect it to get stronger.

5Cover Art - 5: Three versions released but all color variants.

I prefer the blue hued edition and the black and white to the direct version in the red hues. But this echoes what I have mentioned about the interior art. It's all about giving us something familiar which makes its appeal that much stronger. I also love the new polished title logo - evocative of both Superman: The Movie and Superman Birthright. The whole thing looks and feels epic.

5Bombshell Variant Cover Art - 5: What a super rendition of Lois Lane. One can only hope this means her return to greatness is not far off. She is far more than Brainiac's skin suit...

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2014

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