With the launch of the New 52, Superman hasn’t fared as well as that other DC heavyweight, Batman. Now, Batman scribe Scott Snyder turns his attention to the man in blue, and, along with artist Jim Lee, brings us one of the best Superman titles to come out in recent years. Superman Unchained is just what you want a Superman book to be. It’s filled with plenty of action and humor, and gives a new look to some familiar characters. It starts off well and doesn’t let up until the end, with a final panel leaving you wanting more.
The book opens in the middle of a crisis, with Superman trying to save the crew of a space station that is plummeting to Earth. Jim Lee captures the action well here, complete with a fold out poster that also serves as a couple of the book’s pages. While the art work here is impressive, unfolding the poster does make the book a little difficult to read, as you need to set it down and unfold the poster with care. It was nice to see Jim Lee get a larger canvas to work on, but it probably would have been better towards the back of the book or serving as a standalone poster rather than doubling as a couple of the pages right at the book’s beginning. It’s a minor complaint on the overall quality of the book, but it’s an issue worth noting.
Superman Unchained does shake things up a bit with the tried and true formula. Clark no longer works at the Daily Planet; instead, he works as a freelance journalist. Of course, he still keeps in touch with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen (simply referred to here as Jim), and he does have to deal with a familiar villain. The last page reveals a new threat, and it will be interesting to see where Snyder takes things next. An epilogue story illustrated by Dustin Nguyen tells of the discovery of a mystery person whose eyes have been burned out being caught in a fisherman’s net. The man asks for Lois Lane, and it remains to be seen just how this curious turn of events will tie into the main story. The issue is rounded out with a nicely written and fairly amusing interview with Snyder and Lee that makes for decent reading. The art throughout the book is highlighted by Scott William’s inking, and the colors provided by Alex Sinclair really bring out Lee’s artwork. The epilogue colors by John Kalisz use a more muted tone, but they suit Nguyen’s drawings.
All in all, this is one terrific book, not only one of the best Superman titles to come out in a while, but it’s also one of the best superhero books currently on the shelves. The poster does bring the price up, but it’s still worth your money. Snyder continues his hot streak, delivering a book that’s more than worthy of the Man of Steel.
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