Much praise has be heaped upon the Batman Beyond universe. It gave us a look at what might come in the next twenty years, and gave us a new group of heroes to root for. While we’ve seen the adventures of Batman, and the Justice League, we’ve only seen Superman here and there. Now he get’s his own story, just in time for everything to change forever.

SUPERMAN BEYOND #0
Writer: Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz
Artists: Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Chris Beckett
Editor: Kwanza Johnson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Superman Beyond: Rocketed from the dying planet Krypton, young Kal-El was adopted by a Kansas couple and raised as one of their own. Later, working at the Daily Planet as Clark Kent, the Kryptonian could take to the skies, righting wrongs, and punishing evildoers as Superman!

HE’S DIFFERENT THAN ME AND YOU

We’ve known – or at least the mythos has told us – that Clark Kent, Kal-El, Superman doesn’t age at the same rate as the rest of us. When we’re in our eighties, Superman barely looks 50. But this slower rate of aging does make us wonder if Superman is susceptible to other horrors of old age. That is what this issue exams.

Having taken care of an alien invasion on another planet, Superman decides to return to Earth to live out his days. But when you are a super-powered being, even one whose strength might be wavering, trouble is going to arise that needs your attention. And that’s what happens when an incarcerated criminal stumbles across some left over sludge from an abandoned Lex Luthor facility which turns the criminal into an abomination – but not THAT Abomination.

Half Clayface, half Absorbing-Man, Mangler Macarro is set on seeing his little girl again, and nothing is going to stand in his way – not the police, not the Justice League of America, and if Marco has his way, Superman won’t prevent him from his quest. What plays out across the issue is a smack down drag out fight, as Superman, admitting he’s not as strong as he once was, struggles to bring down the Goliath. He does of course, but not before Marco scares the heck out of his daughter, which makes the criminal realize his rehabilitation means nothing when he’s a big monster.

But beyond the big fight sequence, this issue has several quiet moments that make us realize that even though Kal-El was born on another planet, he’s very much human. The moment when readers see Clark tending to the graves of his parents, mourning over the loss of Lois, and even having a comical exchange with the aged Bruce Wayne make this issue well worth it. While this is not Superman at Earth’s End, it is a great story bringing Superman front and center into the Batman Beyond universe.

LOTS OF ARTISTS

While Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz did the rough art for the issue, Sal Buscema does an admirable job at bringing the issue together. The fight scenes have power in the panels and each blow resonates across the page. While it’s easy to simply add white streaks to Superman’s jet black hair, showing the hero struggling under the power of his opponent takes skill.

While the world of Neo-Gotham is rendered in shades of black, red, and gray, Metropolis of the future still has a lot of color to it. Instead of going for garish color combos, the hues are natural and the final result are superb.

BOTTOM LINE: WORTH CHECKING OUT

I really enjoyed this look into the life of Superman of the future. His previous appearances have been more of the supporting role than central character. This issue has everything one expects in a Superman story, and it works well. I don’t know if it is worth the $3.99 cover price, trimming a few pages of the fight scene would have been okay by me, but Superman Beyond #0 is certainly worth checking out. While we don’t know what is going to happen a month from now, I hope we get to see more adventures of Superman Beyond in the near future. I’m giving Superman Beyond #0 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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...

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7 Comments

  1. Rocket Rooster
    August 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    I’ve said it many times, if I were to run a comic book publishing company one essential component (aside from high profile creative teams) is a professional, old school artist like a Sal Buscema. Guys like him are the backbone of a bullpen.

    • December 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm — Reply

      I can’t agree with you more and I’m glad you mention Sal. I know he gets lost in his brother’s shadow, but Sal has been doing nothing but fantastic work on time, every time for many, MANY years.

      I love the guy.

  2. Andrew
    August 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm — Reply

    Thanks Steven I just bought the issue on comixology (yeah I bouhght an iPad juust on your recommendation). Please continue to not let me down bud.

  3. Martin
    August 27, 2011 at 7:45 pm — Reply

    I think it’s especially interesting that we’re getting a Superman with old-age issues — about as Marvel-ized as you can make him — from deFalco, Frenz, and Buscema, who have spent the vast majority of their careers working for Marvel.

  4. lapis2
    August 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm — Reply

    I thought it was a very good book. Ive always liked the Beyond universe and really enjoy it when a meaningful and enjoyable piece of mythos is added to it. Being from the oldschool i was excited when I saw who was doing the art and they didnt disappoint. I wouldnt mind seeing a Sups Beyond mini and would definitely like to see him make some appearances in Batman Beyond. There are some interesting angles there for story telling. I think The interactions between senior citizen Bruce and Clark, and neo-futurist hero and golden age hero could yeild something intersting.

  5. TaZ
    August 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm — Reply

    Just got through reading it. Wow. VERY “old school” and fun seeing “Marvel” art and a “DC” future. Buscema did a lot of the old “Marvel Team Up” books if I recall correctly and this story had a similar “smorgasbord” of characters and fight scenes as those stories. THAT character would be the older Superman that I would expect. And ya’ll are correct, the interaction between the “Beyond” Clark and Bruce was very well done, right up there with one of my favorite comic “aside” scenes of all times. That being Clark, Bruce and Diana at the resturant at the end of “Kingdom Come”. Heck, I wouldn’t mind a “Justice League Beyond” mini-series where some other second or third generation heroes from the “pre-Relaunch” era show up. But I guess this is the last “goodbye” to the married couple of Lois and Clark as of next month.

  6. Will
    April 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm — Reply

    Isn’t that the same plot as the Spiderman film in which the felon who really wants to see his daughter turns into a giant sand monster? That’s the best Superman Beyond could rip off?

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