Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman ’78 #1

Superman '78 #1

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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

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.

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August 24, 2021 10:07 pm

I clearly wasn’t disappointed with reading issue 1 of Superman ’78 online.

August 25, 2021 1:56 am

I’m so excited about this comic series! I just ordered my copy of it and I can’t wait to read it! 😀 My favorite Superman, the Cristopher Reeve Superman, Returns in comic book form. This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’m not interested in what they are currently doing with Superman in the comics, and bringing back classic Superman Reeve is a great alternative, and one that I belive that fans, many,many,many fans want to see as well. I’m only disappointed that this series is only a six issues run and not a continuing series. Now if only HBOmax… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Superman2878
August 25, 2021 9:35 am
Reply to  Superman2878

I also wanted to add that the new Superman 78 comic series is one that is very much needed. I think it’s the familiarity of this Superman that is very much needed. And in my opinion, the world needs a familiar Superman. 🙂

August 25, 2021 9:40 am
Reply to  Superman2878

As far as the six issue run for the comic goes, I’d just be happy if they followed Superman ’78 and Batman ’89 up with a crossover between the two books, especially when DC did a crossover between Batman ’66 and Wonder Woman ’77. The title for the comic book crossover between the Donner-verse and the Burton-verse versions of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight? “Superman ’78/Batman ’89: World’s Finest.” Then… “Superman ’78/Wonder Woman ’77/Batman ’89:Trinity” Followed by a final cross over between Superman ’78/Wonder Woman ‘7/ Batman ’89/ Flash ’90 in “Justice League ’90” ( They would… Read more »

August 25, 2021 7:40 pm
Reply to  Sven-El

Add in your suggestions with my own and DC could have huge success in every genre for Superman. 😀
The more crossovers the better.

August 28, 2021 8:29 pm
Reply to  Sven-El

Also add in a Supergirl 84 comic and and then add her into the Justice League crossover. 😀

September 1, 2021 9:10 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

And considering the artists for Superman ’78 and Batman ’89 have used Yul Brynner, Winona Ryder, and Marlon Waynes as models for Brainiac, Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson, how about Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, and Mel Gibson as models for Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, J’onn J’onnz/Martian Manhunter, and Arthur Curry/Aquaman?

September 7, 2021 5:50 pm
Reply to  Sven-El

Excellent idea! 😀

August 25, 2021 11:22 pm

I’m hearing good things and seeing positive reviews about this series. I’ll definitely get it. However, I want to wait until it’s released as a trade paperback. Then I’ll make sure to own this!

August 26, 2021 3:19 pm

I’m hoping that news about this comic gets around and that it becomes a huge success. This comic needs to be known. They should give Robert Venditti a continuing Superman78 comic series. Bring back classic Superman! 😀

September 2, 2021 8:17 am

Can’t blame you there. I’m mostly a tpb guy myself but I make exceptions if it’s something I’m really excited for (which is rare these days).

August 28, 2021 6:13 pm

After reading this first issue I can happily confirm that this comic is exactly what it is advertised to be. A continuation of Christopher Reeve’s Superman. And it’s exactly what I want to see and more from a Superman comic. I give this comic a five out of five star rating, an A++ grade and two thumbs ups. And if I had two extra thumbs, I would give two extra thumbs up as well. In my opinion Robert Venditti should be put in charge of Superman comics. From this first issue, I can tell that he knows how to write… Read more »

September 2, 2021 8:18 am

I think the art could have been a little better but otherwise I really enjoyed it. It felt like seeing the first 5-10 minutes of the Superman III we should have gotten. I also couldn’t help but feel like the writer read my mind by including the 80’s robotic design for Brainiac which has always been my favorite.