Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Future of Superman

So we're going to take a break from our daily grind of exploring Superman's varied history to take a trip to the future.

The future?

Yes dear readers, the future!

Now, unless your internet has been living under a rock for the last week, you've undoubtedly heard about DC relaunching their entire universe in a little over three months time. For the first time in 25 years we'll be getting a Superman #1, and for the first time in 73 years we'll be getting an Action Comics #1!

DC has finally graced us with some official announcements, so let's take a look and see what we've got.





Variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS

On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe! This momentous first issue will set in motion the history of the DC Universe as Superman defends a world that doesn’t trust their first Super Hero.

So all week long there was a couple of rumors floating around, one of which was Grant Morrison taking control of the original and longest running superhero title. I tried not to get my hopes up, but to actually see the rumor pan out makes me pleased to no end. He's one of the true modern masters who isn't afraid to tell a challenging and complicated story, and I welcome someone with his vision to dig a little deeper into the character of Superman. His ambition sometimes outweighs the execution (or, to be fair, the audience's patience), but his reverence for the character is well known, and I look forward to reading his Action Comics.

His partner in crime for the relaunch is Rags Morales, and I've been a big fan of his since I saw his work on Black Condor for DC. It's one of my favorite books from the 90's, and I've gladly followed him from series to series. His run on Hawkman and Identity Crisis were a couple of exceptionally strong showings. Unfortunately, I've been slightly underwhelmed with his sporadic work since then. Looking at the promotional image above, however, has put any fears to rest. The man's an artist of the highest caliber, and I truly hope we're looking at a new high-point for him.

Now, the promotional copy released is not 100% specific, but it looks like this title will (at least initially) be covering the history/origin of Superman. Between Birthright, One Year Later, Secret Origin, and Earth One...that's probably the last thing I wanted to see revisited. But it's a new world, so I guess it's inevitable and it has to start somewhere. The fact that they're making Superman the first super-hero again makes me happy. After Grant Morrison's wonderful four panel origin story for Superman back in All-Star Superman, I actually find myself intrigued to see what he can do when he expands upon that idea a little.

Hideout X-1, we barely got a chance to know you.



Breakdowns and cover by GEORGE PEREZ


On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!

There was another rumor floating around that George Perez was coming back to the Superman titles, both writing and drawing. This one was about 3/5 right, as Perez is writing and providing breakdowns for Superman #1. Now this guy's a major talent whose been building on his legacy since the mid 70's. That's not to say that this particular announcement didn't give me a little pause, but let me explain.

I'll take an artist of Perez' talent on the Superman books all day long, but I worry about the consistency. To say that Superman fans have been getting the short shrift for the last four or five years is an understatement. If we haven't been waiting months on end for creators to tell a story in a monthly book, we've had to endure years (yes, years) of Superman books without Superman in it! It's gotten to the point now that I just want a Superman book with Superman in it...consistently.

Perez has definitely had his issues over the last decade with being able to turn out a monthly product. To see that he's only providing breakdowns is a big sigh of relief. I'm looking forward to reading his stories, as his run on Wonder Woman was epic in it's scope. Will lightning strike twice? We shall see.

What really made me smile about this announcement was with who was handling the other half of the art, Jesus Merino! He's obviously no stranger to Superman, as he's been doing the odd fill-in on Action Comics over the last couple of months. His time with Superman actually spans back farther than that, as he was Carlos Pacheco's inker when the pair did stories in Superman Batman and Superman. I've been a fan of these two since Avengers Forever, but I never realized how much influence he had on their collaboration until Pacheco left for Marvel and Merino stayed with DC. Pacheco's pencils, in my opinion, have suffered under different inkers, while Merino has really impressed me doing both pencils and inks. To see that he's been rewarded with relaunching Superman's titular series has me tickled. This was actually what I was hoping would happen, but I figured it never would. It's always nice to be proven wrong every once in a while.

Rounding out the Superman Family of books are another relaunch of a Superboy and Supergirl title. By my count, this is the fifth go-around for each of these characters.





On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

They thought he was just an experiment – and a failed one at that! Grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA, the Clone was no more than a set of data to the scientists of Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon! Now the question is: Can a clone develop a conscience?



Art and cover by MAHMUD ASRAR

On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!

Since I basically just got two Superman books, both written with my personal tastes in mind, I'm ready to roll with the punches on these two. And with these final two solicits, there's some good and bad so let's break it down.

  • R.B. Silva! This guy blew me away on the Jimmy Olsen co-feature. To see that he's still with DC and still in the Superman stable is great, and definitely makes the loss of Nick Spencer sting a little less.

  • Likewise, Mahmud Asrar on Supergirl is a great score. He's a rising star and it's good to see DC trusting him with a major relaunch title.

  • Eric Canete on anything makes me happy. Even if it's just one Superboy cover, I'll take it. At least we know the DC editors have his number, let's hope they keep utilizing him.

  • Are we really getting angry/indifferent Supergirl back again? I'm not sure how I feel about that, but the solicit is vague enough that I'm not that worried yet.

  • Scott Lobdell. I read enough of his work for Marvel during the 90's that I could probably live without ever reading another. Alas, he's got three titles in the reboot, so that's not going to happen.

  • Green & Johnson wrote some average stories for Superman Batman, so I'll give 'em another chance, but I'm not initially wowed.

  • Supergirl's costume I generally like, except for the bare knees. Unfortunately, they are what draws my eye every time I look at it.

A little more bad than good, but like I said, as long as they can get the books out consistently they're going to get a lot of slack from me.

Copyright (c) DC Comics


  1. Somehow I previously missed this post. Man, its the start of a bold new era, but I am right there with you, point by point as you describe your sense of trepidation but also your optimism. Now we do two things, I guess: enjoy the last days of current continuity and then wait to see what shakes out this September. Strange days...

  2. With every day that passes, I get more and more excited. Every new interview and piece of art that gets rolled makes me more and more anxious, but in a good way.

    I was reading comics in 1986, but I was pretty much a Marvel fanboy at that time, so I missed the being on the ground floor of the last big rejiggering.

    I'm going to enjoy this one for all it's worth!

    I posted a title by title breakdown on my other blog (The Random Longbox, re: The Future of the DCU), and I'm going from about 25 monthly DCU pulls currently to at least 32-40.

    Strange days, indeed...