I was in the minority among my friends when the “Superman” creative team was announced. I remembered George Perez’s revamp of “Wonder Woman” (initially co-written with Greg Potter and then Len Wein) being quite successful, and Jesus Merino in the North American comics market has made a strong shift from inks to pencils.
So why, then, is “Superman” #1 so dull?
I understand that for a first issue, Perez would feel (understandably) that he needs to get a lot of information across to the reader. But between the speeches and news articles, this is a thoroughly wordy comic. Perez’s script doesn’t talk to the reader, it talks at the reader, in a series of increasingly dense and uninteresting narration boxes. It’s actually at its worst when the narration is Clark Kent’s news article describing the fight, if only because it feels so utterly unlike actual newspaper writing. It feels dumbed down and unusually expository, and that’s if you’re just reading the article on its own without looking at the actual comic art. There, it becomes ridiculously redundant, telling us things we should already know from Merino’s contributions. Superman fighting a fire creature shouldn’t feel this lackluster and slowed down, but that’s just what Perez’s script manages.
Worse, once you pull out the big fight scene, there’s not much else there. We get the new status quo set up, and while it’s a necessary step, it’s also lacking any sort of sparkle or punch. A first issue should make you dying to read more, but save for the change in Lois Lane’s love life (which was released months ago), I can’t see a single hook that would make a reader want to buy “Superman” #2 in the script.
Merino (working off of breakdowns from Perez) does an all right job, but the pages too often feel jumbled and overly full and crowded. His figures themselves are fine, although I’m not getting a strong grasp on the new, Jim Lee designed outfit that Merino is drawing here. Aside from one splash page, we never get a good look at it. I can’t help but feel that he’d be better off providing all the art on his own; when he was drawing “Justice Society of America” we didn’t have this sort of problem. Oh, and please, get new glasses for Clark Kent. Right now with those round frames and his current haircut, he looks like Harry Potter. That’s not a flattering look for Superman at all.
“Superman” #1 is a big disappointment, because it had felt so much more promising. Perez and Merino are both strong comic creators, but “Superman” #1 feels like a book where no one has settled in. For the sake of readers, let’s hope that happens soon. “Superman” #1 should have been a flagship title, and while it’s not actively bad, it ends up being forgettable. That’s a bad sign for a book this important to DC Comics.