The biggest public outcry from comic book fans was over the reboot of one of DC’s oldest and most famous super heroes – Superman. Things didn’t get any better when they premiered an image of the new Man of Steel in a skin-tight blue t-shirt emblazoned with his signature “S” logo partnered with a short red cape, and a pair of blue jeans rolled up over the top of old work boots. Where was his iconic costume?
Just like everything Grant Morrison does, there is a rhyme and reason to Superman not donning his familiar outfit right away. He hasn’t acquired it yet and the writer wants to delve into how he receives it in the New 52 relaunch. “Superman – Action Comics Volume 1: Superman and the Men of Steel” transports us back to when the hero first shows his face in Metropolis. He’s not married to Lois Lane. He doesn’t work for the Daily Planet yet. He’s never met Lex Luthor. He really hasn’t even discovered all his powers yet.
Superman is new to town and no one knows quite what to think of him. The citizens, military, and police force are suspicious of this powerful individual who’s rumored to come from another planet. When an alien force invades the world and threatens its existence, humanity must turn towards the only person possible who can stop the attack – the Man of Steel himself.
Writer Grant Morrison does a wonderful job breathing fresh air into the Superman mythos. His take on the tale is enlightening and the script makes sense. The complex storyline successfully ties together different occurrences we see transpire that will mold Superman into the character we know he becomes.
Artists Rags Morales and Andy Kubert bring Morrison’s words to life with their intricate illustrations. Each panel of the book engages the reader and drives them to turn the page and see what happens next. Their image of Superman is spot on. You can see the reflection of youthful enthusiasm in his face as he comes up against whatever it is Braniac, Lex Luthor, or the military throws at him. We also see the humanity in his countenance when he’s feeling worn down and seemingly hanging by a thread.
Four back-up stories are included in this collection. The first two focus on the character of Steel. The last couple dig deeper into Clark’s childhood and the events surrounding the Kent’s finding him as a baby. There’s a variant cover gallery and sketches featuring explanations of the concepts the writer and artists went through to reach the final product.
If you didn’t give “Superman – Action Comics Volume 1: Superman and the Men of Steel” a fair chance when it first hit stores , do yourself a favor and give it a read now. It’s entertaining and sheds some light on the younger years of Superman. This is a perfect spot for new readers to jump on board and start enjoying the Man of Steel’s new adventures.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Blu-ray Review: “Superman Vs. The Elite”
‘The World of Flashpoint Featuring Superman’ Graphic Novel Review
‘Superman: Reign of Doomsday’ Graphic Novel Review