COMIC REVIEW: Justice League: Darkseid War: Superman #1 | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League: Darkseid War: Superman #1

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League: Darkseid War: Superman #1

Writer: Francis Manapul

Artists: Bong Dazo, Hi-Fi, Carlos M Mangual

$3.99

DC Comics

“Justice League: Darkseid War: Superman #1” starts with the same little text box that this event’s Batman #1 did, explaining that Darkseid died in issue #45 of Justice League, and a handful of the Justice League constituents gained godlike powers.

I think that the interesting thing here to note is that all of the other heroes were turned god were given their powers on Earth, fighting against Darkseid and his family turned militia. This isn’t the case for Superman. While everyone was back on Earth, Superman and Lex Luthor were on Apokolips, fighting against an army of slaves that Darkseid unleashed on Superman, presumably to keep him away from the war and help level the playing field. The problem with Apokolips is that there’s no sun, which sucks when the entire basis of your powers rests on one. In a last ditch effort to save Superman, Lex essentially drags Superman through the fires that fuel Apokolips, “accidentally” dropping him in the process. Turns out, that the core of Apokolips is a more powerful sun than any Superman has encountered, and he arises from the flames a white-eyed, black costumed, mess of a god. He becomes the God of Strength, or as this issue of Darkseid War is titled, “God of Steel.”

So that’s where Superman got his new abilities, and “Justice League: The Darkseid War: Superman #1” is our first chance to see him showing them off, which is basically all Superman does is this book.

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The issue starts with Supes fighting an alien of unknown race or origin out in space, while back on Earth, Metropolis and the fine folks of The Daily Planet fear he may never return. They all quickly change their minds as Superman conveniently crashes through the wall with the alien in tow. Everyone is freaked out by Superman’s appearance, and he goes to have pie.

A parallel can be drawn here between the Superman book and the Batman book. I think what the Batman book did well, was give a character that had never have powers before, essentially infinite abilities, and made him wrestle with his humanity and his personal ethical code. In this book, when Superman is given more power, he apparently becomes a pissed off teenager. He spends the next few pages at the diner demanding pie, scaring off customers, and crying to Jimmy Olsen about how he’ll never be a real boy. It’s not a very good look for him.

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League: Darkseid War: Superman #1

Justice League – Darkseid War – Superman #1 (2015) – Page 16

While he’s busy throwing his tantrum, the alien he brought to Earth releases a black slime that begins to engulf all of Metropolis and its inhabitants. It takes the pleas of Olsen, while being covered in symbiote goo, to make Superman investigate what’s going on with the city. As if the book wasn’t a little wonky, this is where it goes off the deep end for me.

Superman flies to the top of a building, taking in the view of Metropolis, now fully covered in alien tar. A pigeon lands on his shoulder, his eyes turn blue, and he realizes he’s all alone now (what?). In the next page, his eyes go back to their godlike shimmer state, never addressing why they turned blue, and he touches down on the alien remains of the book’s villain. After a brief soliloquy about how he’s the toughest dude to ever bash a thug, he decides to save Metropolis – not because he cares about Metropolis, but because he needs to prove that he’s the toughest dude to ever bash thugs (again, what?). He goes full Elsa and covers the city in a sheet of ice using his super ice breath, and then smashes the ice tactfully destroying all the black slime but preserving the natural beauty of Metropolis. Lucky blow.

COMIC REVIEW: Justice League: Darkseid War: Superman #1

Justice League – Darkseid War – Superman #1 (2015) – Page 18

Here’s where I get really lost. At the bottom of this page, Jimmy Olsen is running through the bottom panel yelling out to Superman while on the very next page, he’s somehow back in the Daily planet in entirely different clothing screaming out to Superman… I flipped back and forth through the pages a few times to make sure that I was not missing a page, but I honestly hope that I am because I have no explanation for this. One minute, we’re in the street, the next Perry White is telling Olsen that everything is okay now because Superman is back. I don’t get it, and I suppose that I won’t until the Darkseid War event is wrapped up and this story, along with the Batman story (and what I’m assuming is the rest of them) continue in “Justice League #46”.

The “Best There Is”: This is a tough one. Ultimately, I feel that this story fell flat. However, It could be said that if you give a man with basically unlimited power even more power somehow, that he would turn into a raging hormonal psychopath and completely lose his sense of self. The creative team did a pretty good job at demonstrating that.

The “Not Very Nice”:  The fact remains though, that the story did fall flat. On a script like this, in such a huge event for the franchise, I would expect the art to pick up the slack for the story. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for me. With the exception of one really beautiful double page spread of the city of Metropolis, destroyed and being covered in black death, the art did not seem to fit the story. With what they were setting up here, Superman wrestling with so much within himself, I would expect this book to be dingy and a little grotesque. Instead, it kind of reminds me of an over polished episode of Rugrats or a tutorialized version of a comic made for an instructional video for Manga Studio.

FBI Score: 6 out of 10. I left this book feeling let down. With such a huge event taking place in a DC flagship series with their star character, I would have expected a much better showing. The story, as it’s presented, makes me question my reading comprehension, and the art simply does not help. I’m still hopeful for the rest of the Darkseid War event this one was a wash.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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