Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman Comic Books

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Superman '78 #1 [of 6]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 24, 2021
Cover date: October 2021

"Brainiac" - Chapter 1

Writers: Robert Venditti
Artist: Wilfredo Torres
Cover: Wilfredo Torres and Jordie Bellaire
Variant Cover: Evan "Doc" Shaner

Reviewed by: Marc Lax
Click to enlarge

Superman '78 #1 We begin with the destruction of Krypton much like in the film but something a bit strange seems to happen to the Kryptonians just before the explosion.

Current day we meet Lois and Clark on their way to the Daily Planet. After Clark stops a purse snatcher with his heat-vision they discuss Clark's career at the Daily Planet. Cut to Perry White's office where Perry discusses Clark's career. (Even in the movies we seem to always begin with a discussion of Clark's place at work.)

After Perry lectures Clark about no more fluff pieces (and that he spells better than the dictionary) mayhem ensues on the streets of Metropolis. A robot charges through the street blowing up everything in its path while sending information back to its master. Suddenly Clark vanishes from the office! Runs down an alley! Does a shirt rip! And becomes... Superman!

Superman seems to make quick work of the robot and just as he's making sure none of the citizens need medical attention the robot attacks again throwing Superman through several buildings where he eventually lands on the street barely phased. He comes back fiercely destroying the robot but not before he hears the robot utter the name Brainiac!

In space Brainiac's skull ship floats above earth with Brainiac admiring his bottled cities. He seems stunned to learn that the robot was able to send one important message. There is a Kryptonian on earth! Brainiac knows what he must do.

NOTE: First a digression. I saw this film back in January of 1979. We didn't go when it opened because my father wanted to miss the crowds. The theater was crowded anyway.

When I was a kid going to the movies was exciting and scary. I was so afraid of scary movies I would dream about them without even seeing them. I always thought there'd be a scary trailer or something in the movie that would freak me out. Okay I was kind of a pathetic kid but there you go. So after the movie started during the Krypton scenes I wanted to go home. My father was not leaving and losing money but he also knew I would come around as I always do and enjoy the movie. I'm so glad we didn't leave.

We saw the movie at our local theater which had a huge screen. I was mesmerized. The Krypton scenes were exciting, the Smallville scenes were fun but also touching. Even then I could appreciate the beauty in the scene where Clark says goodbye to Ma and they pan out to show the horizon. The forming of the Fortress and Jor-El's appearance was exciting but weird also. But then it happened... Christopher Reeve taking off flying towards the audience and that began a life long love and obsession with the greatest super hero of all time.

Suffice to say the rest of the movie thrilled me. Every character every scene I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Other than Superman/Clark my favorite character was Lois Lane. Not only did I think she was great as the character but I ended up having a crush on her.

There's so much more to tell of that experience and my love of the movie and Superman but maybe I'll leave that for another time. But I'm sure you could imagine how I felt when I heard they were doing a comic based on the movie. I couldn't wait. Here it is.

5Story - 5: This issue set the stage for what's to come. I really liked the idea that Brainiac was there when Krypton exploded. It also gave a hint that all was not what it seemed.

That first scene with Lois and Clark was very reminiscent of the movie but also had a very Bronze Age DC Comics feel to it. Clark using his heat vision to stop a mugging with out barely missing a beat is the kind of thing I love to see. That's the cool thing I love about the character. That's so my Superman.

And how about that shirt rip and the first time we see Clark as Superman. It gave such a great feeling. Robert Venditti has done such great things with the character on the digital series that I felt the character would be in good hands. So far I'm not disappointed.

The fight scene with the Brainiac robot was great but it was Superman asking if anyone needed medical attention that screamed Christopher Reeve Superman. I loved it.

I know it's only the first issue but I'm feeling really good about where this book might be going.

Oh and watch out for those Easter eggs. Otisburg!

4Art - 4: Torres beautifully illustrates the streets of Metropolis giving it that 1970s New York feel. Beautiful city but with a glaze of grime and a bit of danger.

The character likenesses were done very well. Though Jimmy Olsen seemed a bit off. What I liked about this is the characters are very recognizable but they don't look like exact copies of the actors. Certain artists like to draw Superman as if you're looking at a photograph of Christopher Reeve (hello Gary Frank) and that can be sort of creepy. But Torres puts his own spin on the characters and I think has got a pretty good handle on them. I like his Brainiac while he has the classic look there's just about enough new detail to make it Torres' own version

In all I'm very pleased with the art and feel Torres captured the feel of the movie.

4Cover Art - 4: The character likenesses give a good hint of what's on the inside but it was very busy. I liked it and the character drawings were very good but they didn't need Luthor for this issue. I'm just guessing we're given this cover to say "look this is just like the movie" so readers will get the idea what they're in for. It does work.

5Variant Cover Art - 5: Shaner beautifully captures Superman's classic look. It's a gorgeous image and I'd love to see a poster someday.

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 2021 February 2021 March 2021 April 2021 May 2021 June 2021 July 2021 August 2021 September 2021 October 2021 November 2021 December 2021

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