Overview

Superman #2

Review

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Superman #2

Credits

  • Words: George Perez
  • Art: George Perez and Jesus Merino
  • Inks: Jesus Merino
  • Colors: Brian Buccellato
  • Story Title: Flying Blind
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Oct 26, 2011

Clark Kent's life may be rooted in the 21st century, but Superman's antics are decidedly out of date.

While Superman tries to figure out the mystery of Krypton started with the flame monster from the previous issue, a new threat arises that everyone can see as clear as day… except for Superman. Imperceptible to his Kryptonian eyes, Superman must find a way to see the threat for what it is. Only problem is he doesn't accept the world advancing around him, both in and out of the pages.

Perez and Merino are a great combination on the book. Perez's breakdowns are appropriately finished by Merino, adding his own flair but clearly working off the pages of the legend. Perez's dialogue is entertaining and strong, getting a chance to flex Clark Kent's newfound status where nobody else has bothered (on the opposite spectrum, no less than four books have dealt with Bruce Wayne's unchanged status). Still, while Perez's pacing offers a brisk roller coaster ride and dialogue that reminds us that Superman will always be Superman no matter the challenge, there's an issue to be had.

The writing of this book is conflicted. There's no doubt that Superman's value in the New 52 has been great, giving the character renewed focus. Morrison's Superman gives him the Secret Origin revamp that Johns recently did with more leanings towards the character's original purpose, and Johns himself has begun to show how this new Superman works (or doesn't) in a group setting with Justice League. Perez's writing of the character can be summed up with one point, and it's a dual-edged sword.

For $2.99, it's an incredible value. Each issue so far has been a fully defined story, complete with ramifications for the characters. The first issue featured the death and rebirth of the Daily Planet, speeding past the six years that Morrison's Action Comics is set in to the modern world, and in fact, beyond cameos in Swamp Thing and Justice League Dark, it's the most up-to-date adventures of the renewed Man of Steel. While #2 doesn't change the status quo of much beyond defining the new relationships Clark has with stalwart supporting characters such as General Lane and Cat Grant (alongside much needed continuance of exploration of the relationship between him and his in-another-timeline wife of Lois Lane), it sets up plots for the rest of Perez's abbreviated run and possibly beyond.

The issue comes from the actual story. Single-issue stories that expand and add to a character's world are great; they are issues that can be enjoyed by the regular reader and (especially in the case of Superman, a character everyone on the planet can understand) the non-reader. The problem stems from Superman's battle with a monster invisible to him, but visible to everyone else. The battle is engaging and entertaining, with well-thought out twists and interaction from the supporting cast, and even takes care of a problem that Superman always has; for a character so overpowered at times, how do you become a legitimate threat?

The story also feels like it comes from any number of decades prior. In fact, if it weren't for some of the design elements, this could theoretically be an issue of Superman circa 1980. Lois and Clark aren't married, but they're in new media roles that don't focus on the newspaper. Clark's personal life is in turmoil, but nowhere the extent of Peter Parker. The villain is one-note and defeated soundly in twenty pages. It's tight, it's wordy, it's packed, and it just rings of antiquated.

The New 52 is a time of experimentation, and any number of writers could have tackled this in any number of ways. Give it to a writer who relies on a cinematic approach, and it's easy to see how this book could have worked without a word being said. When Perez is both writing and doing the breakdowns, he handles it the only way he knows how; great and respectable, but sadly out of place in 2011. Unlike The Flash, which stands out from the pack for being creative and adventurous with the art, Superman stands by as the old trustworthy friend; he's there for you when you need a little bit of that past, but you know what you're getting.

Superman's a great book, and incredibly (but approachably) dense for $2.99. Still, Superman's playing it safe in a world where he's one of the most ambitious relaunches. It's a great Superman book, but it might not be what Superman needs now.

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