First Day on the Job


Look! Up in the sky!  Is it a bird?


Is it a plane?


Is it Superman?


That’s usually how the conversation with my two year old goes when we’re goofing around on the way to school in the morning.  That also appears to be the conversation the citizens of Metropolis are having as there’s a new hero in town buzzing the skies above the city.

superman686cover.jpgMon-El, fresh from the Phantom Zone and taking on the name Jonathan Kent (complete with a proper English accent to go along with his new secret identity), has arrived in the big city, and on orders from his younger brother (see the Major Spoilers Hero History for more on that one), plans on keeping the peace.

In order to be accepted, and to gain a foothold in the community, Superman spends a fair amount of time in the issue going from compatriot to compatriot explaining that he’s going away and asking them to help the new hero in town.  What works about each of these scenes is readers don’t see Superman’s face for the entire issue.  The exception is when Kal-El pays a visit to The Guardian and we see his reflection in the polished helmet of the Science Police officer.  It’s an odd effect as the Superman that is leaving really looks a lot like Christopher Reeve, making Superman’s exit from the title that bears his name that much more memorable.

While a majority of the issue is spent re-introducing readers to the rest of the heroes that are hanging around Metropolis (Steel, The Guardian, and to a lesser extent Jimmy Olsen, who really just needs a pal to call his own), there are a few moments of action as Mon-El takes on Rampage, and readers get hints that division 7734 and other villains are beginning to stir, ready to cause trouble for the new team in town.

By issue’s end, it really feels like a changing of the guard – it’s just too bad everything is temporary as anyone who’s read a comic in the last five years knows nothing is permanent, and companies are more than happy to return things to the status quo once they think the rubes have been duly tricked by the smoke and mirrors.

Still, seeing Mon-El kicking it outside of the Phantom Zone and taking over Superman’s duties in Metropolis is a pretty cool, and having tag along companions trying to teach him the ropes should lead to some interesting stories over the next year.  Heck, I even liked the update to Jimmy’s watch and the forced friend nature of the new relationship between Jimmy and Mon-El.  I’m hopeful that the New Krypton story line will last longer than that, as it will take that long for readers to settle in and get comfortable with the current shakeup.

As I’m making my way through James Robinson’s Starman I’m noticing similar story setups occurring in Superman – not lifting story plots, but rather in how Robinson is setting up for a big story down the road.  Will Robinson stay on Superman for 80 issues?  It would be pretty sweet if he did.

Art wise, I’m liking what Renato Guedes is bringing to the issue, and the psudeo-realistic styling of the characters works better in this book than I think it would in other titles.  I also like how detailed Guedes draws Metropolis itself. Instead of vague outlines of buildings in the distance, the city looks and feels like it is honoring its name.  The opening splash page had me staring at all the little nocks and crannies of the city for about five minutes.

Providing Mon-El doesn’t let the power go to his head, and he gets taken down by a number 2 pencil, this change in the dynamic of the Superman title could really work.  Of course I think I had the same feeling during Reign of the Supermen, but I’m going to give DC the benefit of the doubt here, and give Superman #686 4 out of 5 Stars.


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  1. April 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm — Reply

    It’s just good to see Mon back in action (even if he’s not back in Action) and not saddled with that gawdawful ‘Valor’ sobriquet.

  2. April 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm — Reply

    VAAAAALLLLLLOOOOOORRRR! Ah good times… heh

  3. ZrrEnArrh/Jerard
    April 1, 2009 at 10:51 pm — Reply

    gotta say after finding out that i don’t have to shall out an extra 3 dollers to buy supergirl and still get the jist of what’s going on in the superbooks am lovein it all this book was really great Renato Guedes seems to get better with every issue loved this book over all although this was mostly a set-up issue i give this book a 2.5 out of 5 i recommend it to anybody who’s looking to jump back on

  4. RussHagan
    April 1, 2009 at 10:59 pm — Reply

    This was a much better issue than I expected (not that I thought it would be bad, just not great).
    There were some great scenes; most notably the way how Guardian questioned Mon-El’s fighting ‘tactics’ and the way how we say the full conversations between Supes and his friends, when last issue we just got single panel glimpses.
    I liked it, I liked it a lot.

  5. The Dude
    April 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm — Reply

    I think the artist draws beautiful backgrounds – Metropolis looked spectacular in this issue – but I’m not a fan of his character art. But other than that minor nitpick, I thought it was a solid issue.

    I’ve liked all the Superman books I’ve read post Superman leaving Earth to live on New Krypton. I’m glad I decided to stick with them.

  6. Salieri
    April 2, 2009 at 7:50 am — Reply

    I’ll just note that I really, really dislike the incredibly one-dimensional character being touted as “The Guardian” right now. It’s be much more neat if he was simply referred to as “The Metropolis Guardian”, and Morrison’s Manhattan Guardian – who has far greater depth and relatability – was given more face-time.

  7. El charro ninja
    April 2, 2009 at 12:03 pm — Reply

    One question that is mot related, does Jimmy Olsen still knows Supes secret identity?

    • April 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm — Reply

      El Charro: How Dare You Ask Such A Question! :D I think the answer is quite obvious – F’ Continuity!

  8. Salieri
    April 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm — Reply

    F’Countdown, that’s for sure. I recall Johns & Robinson being asked the same question at a panel and going “Nooo! That’s a terrible idea, who thought of that?”

  9. Ricco
    April 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm — Reply

    Do we think Atlas is still part of 7734? He seems to have gone to “humbled, then rebuilt himself from scratch” mode, it’s usually followed by a new crack at the good guy with better results or a change as a force for good.

  10. ~wyntermute~
    April 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm — Reply

    “Exit Superman” is working _wayyyyyyyy_ better for me than “Batman R.I.P.” did…. And prior to the start of these two things I was _much_ more of a Batfan than I was a Superfriend.

  11. crood
    April 2, 2009 at 3:27 pm — Reply

    Of course it’s temporary. Mon-El still has to spend 1000 years in the Phantom Zone.

  12. Ricco
    April 2, 2009 at 3:42 pm — Reply

    Of course Superman’ll be back, he’s returned from the dead.Problems with a few thousand Kryptonians, home land security and project 7734 won’t stop him from comming back to his city. But it’s findding out how, when and at what cost that’s gonna be fun to read.

  13. April 3, 2009 at 9:13 am — Reply

    Of course it’s temporary. Mon-El still has to spend 1000 years in the Phantom Zone.

    But remember, the 30 years since Crisis on Infinite Earths have taken maybe 8 in DC time. Mon could be active for four or five years our time, and only have been the Guardian of Metropolis for about a week and a half.

  14. April 3, 2009 at 11:28 am — Reply

    This issue and especially Mon-El’s new role has me buying a Super-Book now! I’ve been fairly disinterested in the books for years and this is what it took to get me to come back on board…

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...