At first glance, I wasn’t sure what to make of this book. A new Superman book? But a Superman and Lois Lane book? But it is actually spun out of Convergence? It just seemed like yet another lackluster attempt at DC to just throw something out and hook people into reading something “new and different” but that was basically the same as everything else that came before it… But this book actually takes a different tact from the word “go!”. It really feels like something new and quite a bit more unique that I was expecting; and after the disappointing outing that Convergence was, this book feels more like the new Telos series where I actually ENJOY reading it (Who knew reading comics could be enjoyable, right?!?).
The visuals on this book are probably what sold me the most- Lee Weeks, Scott Hanna and Brad Anderson really have crafted a world in this book, and one that feels a lot different from the main Superman book (and even more different from the Convergence Supermen). I love the way that this Superman (or Clark White, if you will…) is so similar to our world’s Superman, but still have a different, gruffer and scruffier look about him.
I enjoyed the brief recapping that came with this first issue, I am not entirely sure that a smaller info dump couldn’t have accomplished the same thing here, but it doesn’t really take away too much, or distract from the main story too long. I liked seeing the bit of flash-forward so we see Clark and Lois’ son, Jonathan, grown up a bit more. But I did wonder- what was going to happen to Jonathan once he got his powers? Doesn’t the child of Superman and Lois Lane get his powers earlier on in life than age ten? I am sure this is a concept to be addressed in the pages of this book, but I am still wondering what’s going to happen to them when it does.
I liked the visuals of this Superman sitting on the sidelines during the Justice League’s battle against Darkseid, and then seeing him go super-sonic to evade being seen by fighter pilots. The idea that Lois (using the last name White instead of Lane) goes underground as a novelist and writes under the pseudonym “Author X” was one that I really appreciated. I like thinking of her NEEDING to be a writer, but unable to contribute in the same way that Lois Lane could, so she has to become a Ben Franklin type (or, what came to mind for me was the idea of Ender and Valentine Wiggin from the Ender’s Game series, where they become major political pundits and satirists.) to get her message to the world.
The moment where the “secret” meeting between Lois and her publisher being spied on by a shadowy person was a bit on the nose for me- why not have it be a hacked security camera, or a drone, or anything other than just a dude on a rooftop who apparently has really good hearing to eavesdrop on two ladies talking in the alleyway below…
The sequence where Superman does his level best to try and keep Hank Henshaw from becoming Cyborg Superman was an interesting take on the idea that this Superman is going back in a parallel timeline, and trying to undo the things that he knows will become terrible obstacles to overcome in the future. I wasn’t sure what to expect from that scene, or what I really WANTED out of the scene, because some of my earliest Superman comic reading experiences was with the Death and Return of Superman and the Reign of the Supermen stories where Superman and Cyborg Superman and all the many different iterations of the character took center stage.
I think overall this was a solid first issue, with nothing too laborious for “required reading”, so the accessibility hurdle for this book is pretty moderate. The story is engaging, and it probably just really appeals to me at this exact point in my life because I have a young son, and we are in the final stages of buying our first house (so those moments of the leaky, run down home they live in are basically my worst nightmares…) so to see these people so out of place, out of their true element still find a way to stick together and to make their lives have meaning on a world that is completely not their own, really resonates with me.
This book should be something that Superman fans are reading, and probably non-Superman fans as well. This book has a bit of everything, and sets up the arc going forward with Superman trying to make life easier for his counterpart on this planet, and things seemingly not going according to plan. I hope to see more good things come from this book, and I would really like to see more of the “mister fixit” idea that Clark White Superman tries to implement to get rid of the villains that will cause Superman so much grief in the future…