Superman: Red & Blue #1 [of 6]
Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 16, 2021
Cover date: May 2021
Cover: Gary Frank
Variant Covers: Lee Bermejo and Yoshitaka Amano
Reviewed by: James Lantz
“Superman: Red & Blue”
Writer: John Ridley
Penciller: Clayton Henry
Inker: Clayton Henry
Clark Kent has returned to the country of Lubania after being tortured by its dictator Nikolai Koslov years ago in World’s Finest Comics #192-193. Koslov is now an entrepreneur getting rich off those who work in his factories located abroad. Now, Clark must interview Koslov for the Daily Planet while confronting his own demons. Once Koslov leaves to go about his day. Clark changes into Superman, realizing he’ll always care and want to help the oppressed be they prisoners of a totalitarian regime or forced to work in sweat shops.
Story – 5: Much like the upcoming Star Trek TV series with Captain Pike, this book is long overdue. Ever since Batman: Black And White come out many moons ago, I had hoped a similar concept would use Superman somehow. I got my wish with this series.
I wasn’t expecting this at all. I went into this book cold, as I’ve done with most new comics lately. I don’t want any news items or spoilers to influence my reviews. This story is great even if it feels like a prologue to some greater story to come. Ridley and Henry should explore more of this story. The page allotment was not enough for it.
Art – 4: The art style is perhaps too light hearted for the subject matter of the story. It still works well for this book’s concept and ideas though.
Writer: Brandon Easton
Penciller: Steve Lieber
Inker: Steve Lieber
Superman receives thousands upon thousands of letters from people all over the world. Among those were requests from Melvin Northridge to help his mother Jolene stop using heroin. Superman has arrived too late to help Jolene, for he and Melvin must pay their respects to her at her funeral. While Melvin isn’t angry, he is disappointed Superman took so long to respond. Clark knows he could have done more. Yet, in spite of that, Melvin is still filled with hope and has made a good life for himself thanks to the lessons his mother and Superman taught him about hope. He is not bitter and understands his mother made some bad choices. Jolene Northridge wanted to be buried in starlight, so Superman flies her urn to the moon. He places it on the surface promising Jolene to do more to help those like her.
Story – 5: I loved how this story didn’t fall into the typical stereotypes often used for drug addicts. It shows good people can make bad choices while providing character development for Superman. Even if he can’t save everyone, he wants to do better.
Art – 5: The art captures the atmosphere of this story perfectly. I don’t think any other style would work for it.
“The Boy Who Saved Superman”
Writer: Wes Craig
Penciller: Wes Craig
Inker: Wes Craig
Superman’s hero is applying for a job at the Daily Planet. Young Abdi El-Kahl lost his home in Mogadishu to flooding when he was a boy. A mere month into the Man of Steel’s career, Abdi helped an unconscious Superman get from the ground floor to the top of a building while a monster rampaged through Metropolis. Abdi kept trying to awaken our hero. He eventually succeeded, but his hand was crushed in his effort to move the Last Son of Krypton. Now with a prosthetic hand, Abdi begins work at the Planet after returning to Mogadishu to take photographs for the Peace Corps. Clark welcomes Abdi while they shake hands, and both notice that the other has quite a grip on them.
Story – 5: This story feels like a tribute to the Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves and Superman: The Animated Series starring Tim Daly. It’s a fun read with a character that deserves to be in the main Superbooks.
Art – 5: This might not have worked as well in full color, but for this series, the art is stupendous.
Writer: Dan Watters
An imp from the Fifth Dimension who is not Mister Mxyzptlk has taken all of the world’s color. However, he regrets his actions and asks Superman to replace them. Nobody remembers green, red, blue or other hues, and the Man of Steel ponders putting them back. Batman believes it would be irresponsible of Superman to do such a thing. Lois eventually convinces him to return every shade gradually. He begins with red and blue as he flies around the world, allowing the gray to mix into the vibrancy of life.
Story – 4: This story perhaps would have worked better at the beginning of this issue. The black and white art does throw off a reader in its current location, especially when one looks at the title and concept of this book. It’s a pity that a possible editorial decision influenced the rating.
Art – 4: The art itself isn’t perfect. There are panels that look a bit rough. Still, it works well for the story.
“The School of Hard Knock-Knock Jokes”
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Penciller: Jill Thompson
Inker: Jill Thompson
Clark Kent’s first day of kindergarten goes well thanks to advice and jokes from his parents. Yet, when Samantha sits by herself at lunch, he wonders if he should sit with her. Jonathon and Martha tell him he should do what’s right and not worry about losing his new friends. If they really liked him, they wouldn’t care if he sat with Samantha. The next day, Clark has lunch with Samantha. They talk about horses and play with toy versions of them. Other children invite Samantha to play tag. Later in the week, Samantha and Clark have a sleepover and learn more jokes for the Kents.
Story – 5: Give Marguerite Bennett a regular Superman comic, DC. She and Jill Thompson really captured Clark’s youth and the Kents perfectly.
Art – 5: I’ve missed Jill Thompson’s art in DC books. Hopefully, she’ll work with Marguerite Bennett on Superman or some other title featuring the Man of Steel.
Cover Art – 5: The great Gary Frank does yet another beautiful cover.
Yoshitaka Amano Variant Cover Art – 3: The style of this didn’t appeal to me as much as I thought it would. It’s well drawn. Something just doesn’t work for me.
Lee Bermejo Variant Cover Art – 3: I’m not a fan of Bermejo’s Superman. He’s a fine artist in general. I just think he could do better on Superman.
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