REVIEW: Superman Unchained #5

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Scott Snyder continues to work his magic on the Man of Steel in the best Superman title on the stands today! And the art just keeps shining!

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #5
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in SUPERMAN UNCHAINED: Superman rushes to stop Ascension’s attack and kicks off a huge battle with Wraith! Besieged on all sides, Superman has no choice but to call in some powerful friends … .

THIS ALL REMINDS ME OF THE TIMM/DINI ERA OF DC SUPERHEROES ON TV

Some of you may remember when Batman: The Animated Series left the airwaves, and the group headed by Bruce Timm started making Superman: The Animated Series. Honestly, the two are so very different that I couldn’t imagine that the Supes show could hold up to the already classic B:TAS.

Instead, it became one of my all-time favorite versions of the Man of Steel.

I’m getting that same sensation reading Superman Unchained. Mr. Snyder has produced some of the best Batman I’ve ever read. But could he do the same with Superman?

The answer clearly is, Yes! I’m on the edge of my seat each and every issue!

Just like in Batman, Snyder has grasped the characters in Superman’s circle tremendously well. I feel like I know them all much better in this title! And he knows how to challenge them all, not just the Man of Steel.

This issue has the tightest scripting to date, and that’s saying something! I particularly enjoyed the flashback sequences as Snyder weaves the present through Clark’s experiences in the past. I’ve never seen Clark get shot with a shotgun as a youngster before! Hey, that shocked me!

Then, too, Superman working with Wraith has that uncomfortable feeling that makes me wonder what they’re going to say and/or do with each other next. Will Wraith attempt to kill Clark? Or will their uneasy alliance turn into a friendship? I have to know!

As in previous issues, there’s action and suspense galore, which propels me quickly from page to page.

THE ART IS THE BEST SUPERMAN ART I’VE EVER SEEN

Jim Lee does a fantastic Superman, and that may be because he worked on the new uniform. But he also makes the action leap out at me while making the subtler tones and emotions easily visible. It’s great!

In this issue, Dustin Nguyen, who usually handles the back-up story, instead tackles the flashback sequences, and his style is perfect for them. The coloring as well as the change of style from present to past makes it tremendously clear which part of Superman’s life we’re in. I wish other comics made this distinction as easily understood!

BOTTOM LINE: SUPERMAN UNCHAINED IS A GREAT WAY TO START OFF 2014

As a hero, Superman has been struggling of late. After all, when you are as powerful as he is and has a moral compass so clearly defined as he does, there are few grey areas for him. And that can make coming up with stories for the Man of Steel tough.

That’s obviously not a problem for Snyder, Lee and Nguyen, who seem to have easily brushed aside all my concerns and have breathed much-needed life into Superman. And it couldn’t have happened a moment too soon!

Long may Superman Unchained fly!