Thursday, 13 June 2013

New Beginnings - Superman Unchained #1

A few weeks ago I mentioned in a review that one of my favourite writers at present is Scott Snyder. My admiration of his work stems from his work on Batman over the past few years and now I have the chance to see how he reinvigorates DC’s other big cape, Superman.

Before I dig into the story itself the presentation of the issue is worth noting immediately. DC have really invested in the issue (although this is also reflected in the $4.99 price). It has a fantastic glossy cover and when you open up the issue there is a surprise awaiting the reader (it’s not a gatefold cover). A couple of pages in you will find an attached insert which when carefully unfolded opens to a double-sided full colour poster page. The art on one side is simply OK, but the other makes an impressive impact that is is completely worth it.

Snyder’s story opens by stepping back in history to that horrific day at Nagasaki, giving us an alternative to what really happened. Now this was an interesting point, but one I will admit I forgot about whilst reading the rest of the issue.  I therefore got a really nice little moment of realisation when I got to the final page. Putting that aside for the moment and we spring straight back into the present where Supes is facing eight manmade orbiting objects, which have been reprogrammed and sent flying towards Earth as bombs. There is only time to stop seven of them, but when Clark’s reporting points this out and Lois takes great delight in correcting him. All eight were in fact made safe. It leaves him in an interesting position. Who or what saved the last one?

The questions open further when Superman finds the wreck on the ocean floor, complete with a handprint. Enter a shadowy military operation complete with their “real” Superman, whom they've had for almost 75 years...

For the artwork in this stellar first issue DC have brought on board Jim Lee. Lee is well known for the quality of his work and the feel of it fits perfectly with Superman as well as the story. It is light and open, but at the same time full of detail in all of the panels. It’s also got great punctuation on some of the images such as the large page pull out and the fantastic underwater picture of Superman complete with red eyes. I also loved the final page depiction of the new character (this may be someone fans will know but I’m afraid I can’t bring the name to mind if there is one). All in all the artwork has been really satisfying to cast eyes over.

Seeing Snyder work on something different was very compelling. The comparison and contrast between Batman and Superman is huge in itself; the light and dark of DC. Personally although I am really interested in who this “real” Superman is. I hope both Superman and Scott Snyder fans will pick this up and really enjoy it. You should give this issue a look though.

Matt Puddy is not going to be doing any high fives for a little while.

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