Superman Space Age #1 – Mark Russell, Writer; Mike Allred, Artist; Laura Allred, Colorist
Ray – 10/10
Ray: Kingdom Come. Marvels. The New Frontier. Superman and the Klan are defeated. There are only a few stories of superheroes that have been out of continuity that really stand out. These stories take the heroes from DC and Marvel Universe and make them timeless and a true representation. If this first issue—and calling it an issue kind of barely scratches the surface—of Superman in the Space Age is any indication, we’re about to have another enter the conversation. Mark Russell and Mike Allred’s 80-page volume takes Superman and puts him in an alternate reality where he operates from the 1960s to the 1980s—and his career is defined by the world-defining events of the era. It seems inspired by some of Russell’s other work, like his recent Fantastic Four: Life Story, but unlike that one it’s perfect in every way.
Starting with a prequel that shows Superman, Lois, and a young Jon Kent seemingly greeting the end of the world, it flashes back to 1963 when Superman is still on the farm, Lois is a cub reporter interviewing eccentrics about their cats, and an assassin’s bullet in Dallas just changed the world. This is a world with a more grounded take on Superheroes—Superman’s first flight nearly triggers the Soviet nuclear alerts, Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are involved in a pitched battle for a military contract, and Hal Jordan is a test pilot who gets an up-close alien encounter. It weaves in so many events, including the civil rights era as Lois gets involved with the Freedom Riders, that it’s amazing how well it works—and how much it still feels grounded in a coming-of-age story for Superman, as he grapples with his destiny. Both Sam Lane and Jonathan Kent have powerful flashbacks to WW2.
Over the first issue, we see Lex Luthor go from being an ambitious businessman to being one of the most incredibly evil versions of the character we’ve ever seen, we see Bruce Wayne go from being an arrogant tech baron with a decent core to a hero with a key role in saving the world, and Hal Jordan go from being a straight-laced military man to discovering a larger purpose. Some of the most touching, sweet scenes ever seen between Clark and Lois are here. This Lois is perfect, equal parts kindness & fire. More than anything, though, this is a story about how Superman tries to change the world for the better—even when it seems impossible. The inclusion of a certain villain seems to indicate it could tie into a current event, but I have a feeling it was just a coincidence—because I think this has been in the works for a very long time. This is a great story for all involved and one of the greatest Superman stories ever.
DC This Week offers reviews on all DC issues.
GeekDad was sent this comic to review.