DC announced the return of the great Neal Adams for a new mini-series about Clark Kent. I was obviously excited about it but I was also kind of scared of the result.
I had the honor of interview the author to talk a bit more about this serie and how he views Superman. You can check the interview here.
The first issue of Superman : The Coming of the Supermen is now out and it’s time to see what it’s worth !
In this 6 issues mini-series Darkseid’s Parademons are invading Earth once again under Kalibak’s (the first son of the ruler of Apokolyps) leadership. But to everyone’s surprise it’s not Superman who will repel the attack but 3 unknown fighters with powers and a costume similar to our hero. However they don’t seems to control their power so well and they have more difficulties to stand up to the ennemies.
Meanwhile Lois Lane here a newscast reporter for the Daily Planet is covering the fight live while wondering where is the « real » Superman and why he is not fighting to prevent the invasion. We quickly learn that Kent is in the Middle-East (we guess it’s in Syria) trying to save the local population from an armed conflict taking place. He will meet a little boy named Rafi and the two of them will be linked without Superman having anything to say about it.
Superman will eventually meet the three Supermen still fighting Kalibak and his army and the story end with one of the craziest cliffhanger of the last ten years.
Superman : The Coming of the Supermen #1 is not a comic book from our era. Nothing in this issue could let us know it was written nowaday under today’s DC management. This comics looks and feels old-school. The fact that it’s the first time Earth discover people from Kandor, the hint that Apokolyps only attacked the planet one time or even the dress code make the reader feels like he’s reading a 1970-1980’s comic-book. The plot-twist at the end is even something we could saw in the sixties with the DC Silver-Age where everything was crazy for best or worst.
Lex Luthor is also in this issue and he give us a performance worthy of the 90s Superman animated series. This part is really good even though it is a bit fast, even if I am sure we will see more of him later.
And this is why this first issue is so interesting. Neal Adams delivers here non just another Superman’s story but a tribute to everything that made the character great in the past. The author plays with our nostalgia by presenting a Superman with a look and retro behaviour. This Superman cannot make mistakes, he is gorgeous to the point where he looks like a parody, he smiles no matter what happens. He is the perfect american man peoples were still fond years ago. He was the product of a bygone era and an ideal that exploded in second half of the eighties with the arrival of writers like Frank Miller or Alan Moore who destroyed this innocence the DC Comics characters had. We can feel that Adams regrets this Superman and want to pay him a tribute to satisfy the fan and himself too.
Some will say that this story has too much good intentions with a Superman who love everybody, hates war but also with a story where diversity is really present with the three Supermen for example but hey, isn’t it what Superman is supposed to represent ? The acceptation of everybody, making good in the world and to not tolerate people who want to make others suffers ? What is the difference between For All Season (my all time favorite Superman story about The Man of Steel) or All-Star Superman that everybody love and this one ?
In an era where Super-Heros darker than ever and almost murderers I think it is good to have a brighter view on heros. This is why this story is important today.
Of course heroes and stories change, it’s important to not being stuck in time ; but it’s also good to have a more classical hero and clsoe that what Superman was in the past for example.
The art of Neal Adams makes us believe we are in the past thanks to the clothes the characters wear (it’s funky!) or even some design. The close up parts are really well done and show the presence of the characters, no matter if it’s the Kandorians or Superman.
The art is however a bit messy when there is action or when the characters are far but it’s still overall good.
Superman : The Coming of the Superman is a must-read if you are a fan of The Man of Steel of the past or if you like the work of the amazing Neal Adams. Everything in it shows us why Superman was important and the greatest super-hero of all time and why Neal Adams is one of the best comic-book artist ever.