In comics, when the same character is the main focus of two books it can often get confusing because readers do not know if the stories overlap or if they are self-contained. A lot of times one book is often better than the other. Case in point, Action Comics and Superman. Action Comics #1 came out on Sept. 7, featuring a much brasher and younger Clark Kent, which took everyone by surprise and was a lot of fun to read. Superman #1 came out on Sept. 28 and features an adult Superman who is a little more distant, angrier and overall a little unsettling and at times boring.
Superman #1 is written by George Perez, with art by Jesus Merino. Perez is mostly known as an artist, but he is also at times a writer. He has done some artwork for Infinite Crisis and JLA/Avengers. Along with Superman, he is writing the new Teen Titans book. Merino is best known for his collabarations with Carlos Pacheco and has done the art for Action Comics and Superman/Batman.
The issue begins with the history of the Daily Planet, the head newspaper of Metropolis where Kent works. The reader is told that the Daily Planet was bought by a media mogul named Morgan Edge who was also the architect for the “New Daily Planet.” The reader sees the reactions of many people including Perry White, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and even Superman. Superman is enraged about having the old Daily Planet being torn down and disdains working under Edge while others like Lane are promoted and see this as an opportunity.
This is an excellent metaphor about how readers and the creators felt about the “New 52” as a whole. The Daily Planet is still around, but has a few changes to it just like many of the DC books. Superman represents many fans including myself who initially hated this idea because we did not want our favorite characters to change. Lane represents not only the creators but a small group of fans who saw this has an opportunity for DC to explore unusual territories and bring some new stories and ideas.
The metaphor, along with the artwork and a couple of other scenes involving Superman, are the only good things in the issue. The major problem is that there is way too much dialogue. Too many people are having way too many conversations and it really distracts from Superman, who is supposed to be the central character in the story. But the real annoyance is that there are subtitles explaining everything that is going on in the issue, including what Superman is doing with his powers. This is really irritating and makes the reader wonder why subtitles were included. My guess is that they were going for what happened in the early days in comics where there were narration boxes explaining everything, but now a days it is annoying insults the intelligence of the reader.
The issue splits many times from Superman to the many employees of the Daily Planet who are covering Superman’s fight with an fire alien monster. While it is nice to see the perspective of everyone other than just the superhero during a fight, it is done excessively. In this issue it distracts from the main event that is happening.
Because of these two things the issue felt too long. But when the reader reaches the end they see the reason why Kent is distant. He goes to visit Lane about the recent story and wanted to apologize about his behavior earlier in the issue, but then the reader sees that Lane has a boyfriend. Clark is nothing more than a nice coworker to Lane. Clark is crushed about this and as he leaves and uses his super hearing to listen in on their conversation. This is an interesting and sad point of the issue that the reader has not seen in a long time. Readers always associate Kent with Lane and vice versa and to see that they are not together really makes the reader want them to get together again.
While the issue has some interesting points there are just way too many faults that hinder it. Unless you are a Superman fan, pick up Action Comics instead.