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Review: Superman Unchained 1

Superman Unchained 1 Picture 1

Superman Unchained 1
Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen

Spoiler alert! You have been warned!


This week might as well be re-labeled as International Superman Week, when you come to think about it. We’ve got the most anticipated superhero film of all time hitting theaters. And we’ve got the most anticipated superhero comic of the year hitting the stands. And having experienced both Man of Steel at an early premiere and the first issue of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained, let me tell you, haters and critics aside, Superman really is the world’s greatest hero. Excluding Batman. That’s a given. But I digress.


The first issue of this series seems like we’re finally going to get the Superman title that we deserved since the creation of the New 52 and the line-wide (for the most part) reboot of the DC Universe. Two of the top creators at the top of their respective games taking on a character that just seemed to be a little stagnant as of late was not a bold or brave choice. It was a last resort. The character was just… boring. But this issue proves that he is anything but dated and irrelevant. It proved that the world needs a Superman. And, more importantly, the world needs a well written one. Now, don’t get me wrong. Scott Lobdell and Grant Morrison are great writers. But Morrison’s take on the Man of Steel just seemed a little too much like an Elseworlds tale and Lobdell’s just hasn’t really seemed to go anywhere yet. Bringing in Snyder gave him a little bit more humanity. And bringing in Lee gave him a little more sense of grandeur. I won’t throw around words like “epic” or “amazing” just quite yet, but let me tell you that the issue, though very much just a prologue of things to come, finally delivers what I’ve wanted since the reboot post-Flashpoint. As far as I’m concerned, this is the first appearance of Superman in the DC New.

Superman Unchained 1 Picture 2

We start off with a flashback to a Superman that predates our hero. Again, glimpses of things to come. And then we are treated to a great action sequence that is almost cinematic in nature thanks to Lee’s stunning artwork and Snyder’s realistic dialogue. Superman saving the day, as per usual, and doing it with grace and eloquence, which is the standard, but the best part of this scene is the fact that we get to hear Clark’s own thoughts and fears and, well, his humanity. Then we’re treated with some great posturing from Superman and Lex Luthor, again, just a preview of an inevitable clash of the world’s greatest hero and the world’s greatest villain. It was also nice to see the Clark/Jimmy/Lois relationship briefly explored, while moving the plot along, and not only setting the tone of this new universe where things aren’t quite the same as to get redundant, but not so different that a new reader will regret his or her purchase. And then we get that shocking cliffhanger, where General Sam Lane speaks about the other Superman. The one from the beginning of the issue. The one who has been working with the United States for nearly seventy-five years. So, great pencils, colors, and formatting make this a fun read. And the fact that Snyder is going to do something that isn’t Batman, Swamp Thing, or a creator-owned series has me intrigued. Can’t wait for the next issue, which is the first time I’ve said that since the reboot.


My Rating: 4/5

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Comments (2)

I've largely avoided the Superman books since the reboot from the New 52, failing to see where it made the character more approachable, and I like the way you described Morrison's time on the book as being a bit Elseworlds in its feel (perfect). Would you recommend this for someone wanting to dip their toes again in Superman's universe, or would you suggest the digital Adventure of Superman?


I would most definitely recommend this book. I can't speak for Adventures of Superman because I have not read it… I don't like digital comics and just never get around to adding them to my pull list when they're released in print form. But I can say this: Jim Lee's artwork is a guaranteed monthly treasure and Scott Snyder's other work pretty much speaks for itself in terms of being fun, relevant, and realistic. Let me know what you think if you give it a try!

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