05th Jul2019

‘Superman: Up In The Sky #1’ Review (DC Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Tom King | Art by Andy Kubert | Published by DC Comics


Been a little while since I’ve checked in on Superman’s solo stuff, so this new issue seemed a good one to dip into. Well, sort of ‘new’, as these stories have appeared somewhere else but I doubt you’d have seen them. A little while ago, on one of DC’s seemingly endless ideas to draw in new readers (sometimes they just seem to be trying TOO hard, like that kid desperate to impress new friends), they put out comics exclusive to Walmart. These were nice comics, less than 5 dollars for 100 pages, and were a mix of new material and old. The ironic thing was, although they possibly drew in some new readers, it was as always the legacy fan crowd who ate them up. I managed to snag a few myself on a recent holiday to Orlando, and very nice they are too. But I digress. Let’s take a look at the story that DC chose to launch their Superman Walmart book.

From the first page, you can see creative team Tom King, Andy Kubert, and Sandra Hope are going for a real iconic feel in character and art. It oozes style. We start with Batman summoning Superman concerning a violent assault on a foster home that left children dead, and the surviving child tells him a spaceman did it. Clark’s efforts to investigate as a reporter are stopped dead by Perry White, so he gets a little help from his friends, namely Green Lantern. Hal can track the signal to space, but no more. Tom King then cleverly has the case make Superman weigh up the Kal-El and Clark parts of his personality. Should he take off in Space to find just one person, albeit a small girl? Should he stay on Earth and continue his responsibilities there, fighting bad guys and stopping disasters? When Clark needs advice, Pa Kent is the way to go.

Pa Kent understands Clark better than he knows himself. The brain would tell you to stay on Earth, look after the many. The heart would say go after that one little girl, a little girl probably counting on you. It’s no contest, Clark has to go. You can’t save everyone, but you can save one. Clark says his farewells to Lois, and off he goes. First stop, the planet Rann, to see if that zeta beam can be traced. The Rannians claim not, but Superman decides to take a huge risk and tries to interact with the Zeta beams, something he is told is akin to suicide. Although he doesn’t quite harness the knowledge, and does flirt with the edges of insanity and some intense self contemplation, he learns enough to find a new lead. The Bode’s Galaxy. Which is where issue 2 will take us.

I loved this. Superman is my favourite character, and Tom King just ‘gets’ him perfectly. His interpretation is a mix of the comic book Superman and the Christopher Reeve movie one, as is his Lois Lane. Although the main storyline is captivating enough, I loved all the little touches too. The cameos by super powered friends, the throwaway villain fights, use of DC Universe locations, the burden of care a Superman would feel if he existed. They die if you leave them, and die if you save them, a perfect analysis of Superman’s relationship with mankind. Tom King’s plot stems from one central thought, would Superman put the needs of one little girl above that of his friends? his city? his world? Should he? Of course he would. Clark does what’s right, and saving one kidnapped innocent is as worthy as saving a city. I loved the ideas, Tom King combining classic Superman with some new modern bolt ons. Top quality writing.

The art, by Andy Kubert and Sandra Hope, is superb. It plays with format, with a mix of standard pages, some 7 or 8 panel pages, some whole page spreads, all of which help move the story along perfectly. The art is classic and iconic, the page with Clark and Pa Kent bathed in sunset colours talking on the Kent Farm is just gorgeous, and a shout out to colourist Brad Anderson for that. Tom King always seems to draw out great work with the artists he works with, and Andy Kubert has never looked better.

Personally, I loved this. This is MY Superman, MY Lois Lane, MY Metropolis, MY….well, you get the picture. This is the Superman DC need to get up on the big screen.

Nearly perfect story and art, if you love Superman this is an essential read.

****½  4.5/5

Superman: Up In The Sky #1 is out now from DC Comics.


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