writer: Geoff Johns / artist: John Romita, Jr
I imagine writing Superman, more than Captain America or even Batman is the sharpest double edged sword for a comic book writer. If you have entered into such hallowed ground, you happen to be writing probably the most visible and historical comic book character and yet, it has to be so difficult to write a character with god-like abilities and a strict moral code while keeping their story dramatic and compelling. Let’s not kid ourselves under critical review, Superman hasn’t exactly been the crown jewel you’d expect it to be for the New 52. Personally, the only Superman books that have held my interest have been his companion books with Batman and Wonder Woman (I also really dig Superman Unchained and Action Comics since Pak took over), so imagine my excitement when the announcement that Geoff Johns Da Gawd would be taking over the duties of writing the Man of Steel’s main book. Yes, that Geoff Johns that brought Aquaman back to not only relevance, but also prestigous levels. Yes, that Geoff Johns that revitalized Green Lantern and expanded that world in ways we never thought possible. I don’t know how long Johns will write Superman, but if this first book is any indication, I hope he writes it for a long time.
The book begins with some great parralleing with Kal-El’s own departure from Krypton as we are introduced to a couple 25 years earlier making the same very tough decision to save their child by sending him to an unexplored world in their last moments. While this doesn’t come into play until the third act, what actually shines, strangely are the quick cuts in the middle of the book: Lois annoyed at the bar, Jimmy Olsen dealing with his family’s estate and Clark doing solo Superman administrative things, that included checking in with Diana and talking to Alfred (it’s hard to get Bruce on the phone I imagine). Those few panels simultaneosly “humanize” Clark while showing the isolation that comes with being Superman that few writers have accomplished. Even the end leaves enough awesome setup for this first arc as we meet Ulysses, the baby sent into the 4th dimension 25 years ago and the self proclaimed “Last Son of Earth” which hopefully isnt’ as ominous as John’s previous work, “Last Son” story line from his days of writing Action Comics pre-New 52.
As this was billed as the Dream Creative Team since its announcement, I would be neglectful to not mention that John Romita, Jr. does a wonderful job here. He doesnt’ get too fancy per se, but the images are clean, character distinctions are apparent and he handles the movement of Superman well too.
Yes, its Superman. Yes, its Geoff Johns and yes, its only issue #1. But if you can’t get excited for where this is going each month, then I don’t know what to tell you.