Book: Superman #32
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Summary from Comixology: “‘The Man of Tomorrow’ part 1! Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr. (in his first-ever DC Comics work) begin their run by introducing Ulysses, the Man of Tomorrow. This strange visitor shares many of Kal-El’s experiences, including having been rocketed from a world with no future. Prepare for a run full of new heroes, new villains, and new mysteries.”
Let me get this out of the way – I love Superman, he is by far my favorite superhero. Unfortunately, the New 52 reboot of Superman started off extremely mediocre. I tried so hard to like it, but I just couldn’t get into it. It appears that DC has realized this is a common theme (Superman’s sales have plummeted) and so they have shaken things up by introducing both a “soft” reboot and a new creative team, which consists of Geoff Johns (DC’s Chief Creative Officer) and John Romita Jr. (who has been at Marvel for decades).
I can definitely see where the new creative team is fixing some of the things that made the earlier issues feel weak. First of all they don’t just introduce some crazy Kryptonian elemental monster to challenge Superman. Instead, they set up a character, named Ulysses, that mirrors Superman’s back-story with a few tweaks (it appears that he is from another dimension of the multiverse instead of another planet). Ulysses does look a bit like a cross between a sleek, modern, Fabio and Lucius Malfoy, but I think they can set up an interesting arc based on the dynamics of the two “last sons.” One of the things I haven’t liked about Superman in the current continuity is that they made Clark a blogger instead of a reporter for the Daily Planet (this is coming from a “blogger”). Johns takes steps in the right direction by having Perry White trying to convince Clark to return to the Planet, where he belongs. I know that Romita Jr. is a bit of a love him/hate him kind of artist, but I like what he did in this issue. It’s not super-flashy or complicated. Some of the panels, especially the action sequences, were very well done and really held my attention. One sequence in particular does a good job showing Clark’s struggle to find his place in the world, but then transitions to one of the coolest sans-phonebooth transformations into Superman I have seen.
There’s not a whole lot wrong here. Maybe I’m bias because the bar was set a little low, but I really enjoyed the book. A potential turn off for some readers might be Romita’s art, but I thought it was well done (there were a few panels that seemed a little weak, but I struggle to draw stick figures so I am probably not the best judge). Really the only complaint I had was Clark wearing a backwards baseball cap like some bro in college, and if that’s the biggest complaint this creative team garnered then it was a good day.
Loved it. Superman needed a new direction and he got one. DC gave there number one hero a top-notch creative team, some new characters, and a good story. I’m hoping Johns sticks around for awhile. He’s a great writer that has done good work revitalizing characters in the past. Superman seems like a hard character to write for given his god-like power, but Johns appears to be a writer that can rein in the more “out there” story lines. I also found Romita’s art to be interesting and appropriate for the character. I give this book a 4 out of 4, go pick it up!