Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen & Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair & John Kalisz
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Rating: 8/10 Earth Crystals
Happy New Year everyone! 2019 is now behind us and I have come into 2020 with a very important goal; read more comics! This week, the community had me returning to the man of tomorrow and reading about his yesterday in the New 52. That’s right I am talking about Superman and his short run done by Scott Snyder, Superman Unchained.
Spoilers coming at you faster than a speeding bullet!
The Story Unchained
Superman Unchained puts us right into it with Superman doing what he does best, saving the day, as dozens of satellites hurtle towards Earth. After putting all of his super abilities to work to prevent this catastrophe, Clark learns that he might not have been the only one who a hand in stopping these metal objects from crashing against the surface. As he set’s out track down the big meat paw’s Cinderella, Lois Lane decides to track down Ascension, the eco-terrorist group believed to behind it. Also, Lex Luthor is here and seems like he knows something.
With our front page news bloodhounds on their way, Clark’s first tip is a run-in with Lois’s father, Sam Lane. General Lane is not a fan of the man of steel as Superman’s sense of invulnerability is compromised as Lane reveals The Machine, a secret organization that is loaded to the teeth with all sorts of weaponry that can take out the Kryptonian. All this provided thanks to some help from an alien that was Superman before it was cool, Wraith. Across the pond, Lois flies over to meet a man who has escaped from Ascension with a magic crystal that can control technology. Pro tip as a reporter in the world of comics if you want a good story; always get captured by the villains because they love a good monologue. Turns out the eco-terrorists’ leader is the grandson of the guy who founded The Machine and is using the crystals that came from Wraith to basically Y2K the planet and start over (or they’ll just launch all the nuclear missiles). Also, Lex Luthor is walking around in a mech suit while paralyzed from a jailbreak.
So yeah, basically it’s a job for Superman and you know he saves the day. He’s Superman! Quick thinking, and clever usage of his powers and he stops the world from ending only to have Wraith now seeing him as a threat to the government. If I hadn’t stated this earlier, Wraith is supposed to be a stronger Superman currently, with no chance of Clark winning in a fight against him. Good thing though he hangs around Batman as he picks up the helpful tool from Bruce of coming prepared. So when Wraith gets his own version of a kryptonite wallop brought time from Superman pulling a Batman, Wraith decides to go for the guy who wrote the book on super deterrents. Doesn’t go well for him their either. Also, Lex Luthor captured Jimmy and was up to something nefarious.
So Lex Luthor has been doing some stuff throughout this series and it’s been kind of off to the side. Standard scheming, up to something, “I’ll get you Superman” type stuff. Well, I love some great Lex Luthor and Superman moments and the bald egomaniac makes his entrance when he has Jimmy Olsen arrive on scene of our hero rigged with a message of the alien invasion on the way, (courtesy of Wraith’s species sending him down with crystals to grow on Earth to harvest later) and a serum that will stop the armada by blowing Superman up. With only one way to stop the invasion, I can tell you the outcome is a bang.
I don’t have heat vision or x-ray vision, but I am working on my review vision! I really enjoyed Snyder’s run during New 52 Batman. Non-stop action and awesomeness as the Dark Knight goes from getting pushed to his mental limits, to single-handedly being a badass when taking down the Justice League with a mech that miniaturized red suns in its fists! Snyder brings that same vibe in this story too. One of the things I found the most enjoyable about this story was getting inside Clark’s head in moments of urgency. Opening the story with the satellites crashing, it was both a rush of awe and tension as Snyder has Superman analyze and weigh each decision in seconds while presenting composure to those he is rescuing. I take Lee’s depiction of Superman in these panels as great reflections of how he presents himself on the surface. You can’t lose composure.
One of the biggest things I love about Snyder’s works is his ability to take these caped heroes and make them larger than life. When it comes to between writing Superman’s or Batman’s alter egos, he excels at them when they are suited up for some heroics. The stories he does always push to challenge our heroes’ beliefs and show that they can overcome them (kind of like what he is doing in Justice League right now).
As for the art in this series, I really enjoyed it. Lee’s and William's’ art through the main story truly felt like it all came together perfectly. Panels were filled to the brim with great detail, from the characters’ expressions to the incredible detail to the environments and backgrounds (both before and after being destroyed) that these creators submerge you into. Both the epilogues and flashbacks to Clark’s childhood in here were also very enjoyable and always great to see after just reading Descender again.
For the most part, I’ve gotten the general sense that the New 52 wasn’t for everyone. Especially the Superman stuff. But, If you were a fan at all of Snyder’s run on Batman, then this would be a collection worth picking up. Lots of action, beautiful art and Snyder writing a Superman and what type of hero he is at his best.