The new direction for the Superman franchise started with Action Comics #1051 last month. With that issue, we were given the overall Superman Family direction. That still leaves what’s next for Clark Kent as a solo hero now that he has returned to Earth. That is something Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell will answer with the newest Superman ongoing series. Set after the events that saw Lex Luthor cause almost the entire DC Universe except for select Superman family and Justice League members this is a whole new start. That new start will at least begin with Lex Luthor behind bars after what he did. With the biggest bad behind bars, what is next for the Man Of Steel? Let’s find out with Superman #1.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Ariana Maher
After Superman stops Livewire’s rampage due to her podcast being shutdown Clark Kent returns to the Daily Planet to finish his latest article. There Lois Lane, the new Daily Planet Editor-In-Chief, reminds everyone to keep the quality up even without Perry White around.
When Clark goes to grab some air he admits to Lois that he’s trained his super hearing so he can always hear Lois, Jon, his parents, Bruce Wayne, and Lex Luthor. Knowing this Lex keeps trying to talk to him to accept his help.
Before they can talk more something is happening to LexCorp Tower. Superman goes to check it out and sees firsthand nanobots changing the building to now have the Superman shield symbol on top of the building.
Mercy Graves reveals to Superman that Lex has turned over all his assets to Superman. Superman does everything to not accept it but Lex had his lawyers set things up that if Superman tried to give anyone else control SuperCorp the company would be immediately shut down.
Parasite suddenly starts attacking the city. Superman rushes off to stop Parasite while Lex is still in his ear trying to “help.” When Superman knocks Parasite into a nearby park he discovers a horde of mini-Parasites rushing out to swarm him.
As that is going on someone is shown monitoring villains from Superman’s rogues’ gallery while conducting experiments on Bizarro. End of issue.
Out of all the comics we’ve gotten in the Dawn Of DC direction Superman #1 is by far the most successful in accomplishing its mission for what’s next for the DC Universe. That is unsurprising since Joshua Williamson is the one writing this as he is the one that ushered us into the Dawn of DC. Add in Jamal Campbell’s phenomenal artwork and there is everything to love about Superman #1.
Immediately Williamson and Campbell make it clear that this Superman series is a superhero book first and foremost. The opening with Superman saving the day from Livewire’s latest rampage was wonderfully handled. Williamson gives a simple reason for why Livewire is attacking the city that taps into the current media landscape without doing too much. It is all set up to show Superman doing what he does best and that is protecting people. Throughout the scene, Campbell balances Superman using his powers to protect people while stopping Livewire all in the most efficient way possible.
This leads well to how Superman and the new Metropolis Police Department Chief Neo Kekoa are able to build an immediate positive relationship. We get enough from their interaction to know that Chief Kekoa will take after Maggie Sawyer. This is a great use of another character’s credibility to build up Chief Kekoa as someone Superman can see as an ally rather than an opposition. It’s all done in a conscious manner so we can move on to Superman #1 continuing to lay out the foundation for this series.
Which all plays into the use of Superman’s villains. Using Livewire and Parasite at the beginning and end of Superman #1 is a great way to get across the message that all Superman villains are in play. Livewire and Parasite’s use also made the hook ending of a new mad-scientist-type villain appearing to take Lex Luthor’s spot even more intriguing. Based on Bizarro’s body being experimented on and video screens monitoring other Superman villains the message that this new villain has major plans in mind is all gotten over in one page.
Doing this works well into Lex Luthor’s own role in Superman #1. We see that Lex Luthor is doing all he can to leverage his power even behind bars to guide Superman in the direction he wants. Williamson and Campbell play it well with Lex constantly acting like he is genuinely trying to help Superman. But it is done in such a manner that you don’t believe a word Lex says. Add in how he acts anytime he physically appears on screen we clearly see that even being behind bars won’t stop Lex from exerting his will on the DC Universe.
Taking that in mind having Lex play into the united Superman Family direction established in Action Comics #1051 was a good way to connect the two big comics in the franchise. Mercy Graves does a great job at having an answer to every way Superman tries to get out of Lex giving him all his assets. It’s all done in a manner that while this does build off things like we are seeing over in Nightwing with the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation but warping it in Lex’s own way. Because of that Superman is now left in a position where he will have to get involved or risk Lex controlling things even more. It’s all a double edge sword that provides intrigue for the future of this series.
This first issue also does a great job of bringing back a focus on Superman’s supporting cast. Far too often we see the supporting cast reduced to just Lois Lane. Here we see Williamson and Campbell do all they can to make the Daily Planet a place that does feel alive. Even though Lois is the focus it’s done for obvious reasons with her new role as Editor-In-Chief. But while that is the focus we not only hear from Jimmy Olsen but also other people working at the Daily Planet. Doing more of this will help build a complete world the reader wants to return to see every character.
With all that in mind how everything Williamson and Campbell build towards the teased Brainiac story from all the glimpses in the future is a great hook to end Superman #1 with. Brainiac is an end boss-level villain. Building Brainiac back up to be that is a great move. After years of focus on Lex Luthor, Darkseid, and Joker there need to be more villains that are big event-level threats. That is a role Brainiac can easily fill.
Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell accomplish everything you want from a first issue with Superman #1. The foundation is set for Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor’s new status quo. There is a re-establishment of what Metropolis is. Then we have a renewed focus on developing Superman’s rogues’ gallery. It’s all here to build excitement for what Williamson and Campbell have planned for their Superman run and you can’t help but be all in.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10