Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Johns, Romita Jr & Janson
The much hyped creative team switch of Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr debuts their Superman issue with a solid read. The book provides a great amount of character work for two of the supporting characters, but holds back on defining a personality for Superman. It's touched on but isn't explored. The book has some action in it and definitely is bringing a big idea to the longer storyline. Overall the artwork moves the story along and gives the comic a nice, epic feel to it. This comic is a good start to what should hopefully pump some life into this waning franchise.
The reboot version of Superman has had a ton of creators trying to make something out of the character, such as Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, George Perez, Greg Pak and many others, but this is Geoff Johns. Johns turned Green Lantern into a property nearing X-Men heights. He made Aquaman relevant. He made the Justice Society something cool. Surely, he can bring life to the Man of Steel. However, based on the list of creators that have had their turn with the character it seems that his dark and depressing personality is going to crush any possible angle a creator takes on the character. This book has some glimpses of hope.
The set up for the book is a familiar one. The opening pages have a pair of scientists rushing to send their baby off as their environment explodes around them. However, this is Earth and underground. The baby escapes just in the nick of time. This will come back later on you can bet.
Then we get an introduction to Superman. Sadly, he's fighting a robot, which seems to be something I see Superman do in every Superman comic I pick up these days. This quickly transitions to the highlight of the comic book.
The characterization of Perry, Jimmy and, to a lesser extent, Clark, is incredible. The dialogue is timeless, witty, fast-paced and free-flowing. The interactions from Perry to Jimmy then Perry to Clark are a joy to read. Clark's personality is definitely breaking away from the dreary one we've seen since the reboot but it still feels like his personality is repressed.
The book then goes back to Clark moping around but in a scene that feels natural and Johns mixes up the panels in a creative way during this sequence. The book ends with more action and the big cliffhanger.
The book is good. There is no doubt about it. It might be the best Superman comic I've picked up since the reboot. The book allows for improvement though.
Unfortunately the costume design does not mix well with Romita's style. Romita has sharp angled lines and with the plating design in Superman's costume it gives him the appearance of wearing armor. It is not good. However, the artwork provides a lively and realistic look throughout the book with the characters interacting with each other. The sequence where Clark is talking on the phone and cooking some dinner in his kitchen is very detailed and life-like. Generally the book looks really good.
Superman looks to be a title that has a chance at something great. The bigger narrative is established in this issue. The characters are starting to get their foundations and it looks like Johns will be expanding on this in the coming issues. This is definitely something to pick up if you are looking for more of a classic view of Superman.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles