Loud, cheesy and fun are just a few words I’d use to describe the first issue of Superman: The Coming of the Supermen.
And those are good qualities to have since it’s written and drawn by comic book master Neal Adams. The question is though, can it wear out its welcome and more importantly, is it good?
Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #2 (DC Comics)
Darkseid is attacking Metropolis, Lex Luthor has an army defending it and three Kryptonians have entered the fray too. Superman fought off the invading hordes off the best he could and a mysterious green monster thing showed him a Darkseid who created the Sphynx. That was just the last issue!
Why does this book matter?
You aren’t going to get comic book art like this anywhere else as Neal Adams is a classically trained artist most likely using pen and paper (I can’t confirm this). The art is unique in how it’s right in your face and the dialogue screams classic too. Plus there are thought bubbles. Thought bubbles were phased out years ago! If you want a throwback comic this is your solution.
Wait, what about the last issue cliffhanger?!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
If you read the last issue be warned as you will be very confused when this comic starts. At first I was annoyed, but rolled with it, because really this is an experience that requires an open mind. The confusion lies with where we begin, as the last issue ended with Superman in Egypt, but this issue opens with Supes and Lois chilling back in Metropolis. There’s no explanation nor does the story even reference the big cliffhanger reveal last month. It’s a bit perplexing, but hell, Superman says “Wassup” to a punk kid version of Jimmy Olsen so really who can complain?
See the thing is this series is wildly weird and outside the main DCU (so far as I can tell) so it’s playing by its own rules. It’s also possible the cliffhanger in the last issue wasn’t forgotten, but something else is up entirely. We just haven’t been privy to what is going on yet. Meanwhile this issue is all about big action sequences as Darkseid’s hordes attack Metropolis again. Superman punches the bad guys with a big goofy smile, says things like, “What caterwauling” and even throws a temper tantrum at Lex Luthor.
Meanwhile the art is phenomenal. It’s in your face (literally at one point Lex’s face is in extreme close up) and the panels are extremely unconventional for comics these days. A panel just above Lex and Superman for instance, with Supes pointing at Lex and Lex shaking with trepidation (you know he’s shaking from the wiggly lines).
There are a lot of little details to enjoy here too. Take for instance a panel of Kalibak punching Superman into the ground. Superman looks strong and in charge, but in this panel he’s crumpled and looks practically broken. It’s a cartoony sort of look and feel but Adam’s style is excellent at showing the fight and its repercussions on our hero.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Opening the book with no explanation of how we got there was a frustrating surprise I’ll give it that. The book is having a lot of fun, but it’s also not telling us what is really going on. When Jimmy asks Superman who the Supermen are Superman casually says they are his brothers. No cousins, no wait in the next panel he doesn’t know. It’s goofy and reads like Adams doesn’t know either or even care, but it certainly makes the stakes feel important since we don’t know how we got here or who these characters even are.
Is It Good?
If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea you may want to stay away, or it may just have a car crash appeal to you if it doesn’t. Take it from someone who reads a lot of comics every week there isn’t anything else like it on the stands.