Some of my comic-reading friends have expressed dislike for the New 52 version of Superman, espousing that he’s not the real steel deal. If you’re one of those friends, this may be the book for you. Your Major Spoilers review of Superman: Lois & Clark #1 awaits!
SUPERMAN: LOIS & CLARK #1
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciler: Lee Weeks
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: A Larger World Studios’ Joshua Cozine & Troy Peteri
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Superman: Lois & Clark: The Flashpoint retcon in 2011 shifted the focus of our comic-book DC Universe to another, new universe, but ‘Convergence’ showed us that the worlds we used to read about (Pre-Crisis, Pre-Zero Hour, Pre-Flashpoint and more) all still existed throughout the greater multiverse. Brainiac captured cities from those lost worlds, including many of their greatest heroes, and it was those surviving heroes who went back in time to the original Crisis On Infinite Earths to help save the world. One of those heroes was a pre-Flashpoint version of Superman, happily married to a very pregnant Lois Lane, who gave birth to their son, whom they named Johnathan, during the events of Convergence.
But what happened to the Man Of Steel after that temporal quagmire was resolved?
A SURPRISING DECISION
The answer to that question is the most surprising part of this book, as we open with the formation of the New 52 Justice League, and the resolution of their desperate battle with Darkseid, while a the old-school Man Of Steel looks on. Returning home, he reveals to Lois that he was seconds from revealing himself and getting involved when Cyborg successfully took down the Boom Tubes, but the revelation that the “real” Superman has been in the New 52 all along somehow feels… right? Yes, it’s probably my old-school biases showing, but seeing him in his full Superman uniform is wonderful and, as the issue progresses, seeing him build a life with Lois and baby Johnathan is lovely. Fast-forward 5+ years to the present day, and the newly-pseudonymous White family is living happily in a remote farmhouse somewhere, allowing Superman to secretly perform his usual feats of heroism in secret. Most impressively, Lois has also found her own niche, using her know-how (and maybe a little bit of insider information from the old DCU) to write expose after expose, supporting their family and allowing Clark to keep up his work.
KEEPING AN EYE ON OLD FOES
Importantly, since they’ve gone back in time (sort of), Superman is able to look up this world’s alternate versions of his usual rogue’s gallery, a process that’s getting more and more difficult as his powers slowly wane. (Whether due to age or the new universe is not explored in these pages, but I suspect it’s an important bit of information that we’ll learn soon enough.) The latest in that list of names is an astronaut returning from a ten-year deep space mission, a man whom everyone involved hopes will not turn out the same way as the one Lois & Clark know: Hank Henshaw, whose doppelgänger was the nefarious Cyborg Superman. As strong as the plotting is this issue (and it is quite impressive, featuring Jurgens at his best), the real star is the art of Lee Weeks. The early issue reveal of Superman standing on a rooftop is a goosebumps moment for me as a reader, and a later panel involving the Man Of Steel taking flight in his new suit is pretty awesome as well. Young Johnathan Kent is also well-served by the issue, looking like an actual kid (which is much harder and less common than you might think) and even getting some clever plot moments that make it clear he’s inherited something from both his parents…
THE BOTTOM LINE: A VERY SURPRISING BOOK
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this comic when it was announced, but I was pleasantly surprised to say I enjoyed every page. While the presence of another Superman in the post-Flashpoint Universe can lead to unwanted questions (like the fact that the JLA has been in earth-shattering consequences every 17 seconds since 2011, any one of which might have benefitted from a little experienced Superman experience), it feels dramatically satisfying, and the fact that both Lois and Clark are using their skill sets to benefit this brave, new world is a nice touch. Superman: Lois & Clark #1 is well-written, well-drawn, and features a couple of characters that I had thought forever lost doing what they do best, earning a remarkable 4 out of 5 stars overall. Hard to see where this is all going to go, but as first issues go, this one hits a lot of the right notes for an old Superman fan…