The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Superman Unchained #1

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor


Let’s see. You have the impenetrable Man of Steel. You get to look at stunning art and colors. AND there is a game-changing superhero story. Seriously, what’s not to love about Superman Unchained?

Writer: Scott Snyder
Illustrator: Jim Lee

Okay, that may have sounded like an exaggeration but I kid you not that this story is going places. First off, I’m going to straight out say I’ve never been interested in Superman. Superboy and Supergirl sure, but never Superman. I like him enough and hands down he’s probably the #1 superhero to ever live. However, that’s kind of the problem.

He’s too perfect. He’s got a loving family. He sticks to his moral judgments. And oh yeah, he’s super strong and basically invulnerable. It’s difficult to imagine a problem out there Superman can’t solve or a story about him that can really “wow us”. I know that’s not always the case. There does exist interesting stories, but to me they are far and few. When they announced Superman Unchained, I immediately thought “Good grief, DC Comics is milking it yet again with another Superman title!” It didn’t matter that I’m a huge Scott Snyder fan or that Jim Lee is known as one of the most badass artists out there. No, I won’t read Superman Unchained.

But then I attended the Superman Unchained panel at San Diego Comic-Con and was blown away. I got the inside scoop on the creative process that goes into making this comic. Lee described his crazy penciling sessions (so many lines!) and how he sends late night texts to Snyder about new ideas. Inker Scott Williams showed us a 3-minute video of him inking a page that took 40 minutes. Colorist Alex Sinclair demonstrated how his wonderful coloring does make a difference in bringing Snyder’s and Lee’s work to life. With the art alone, I was already in total awe.

Then Snyder talked about the story and what laid ahead for Superman with such fiery passion that I couldn’t help but be convinced. Superman would finally meet his match. He would meet Wraith, someone that was just like him with as much eagerness to hold the peace and assure that justice is served. The only difference is that this competitor is willing to do what Superman wants to do, but never does. Wraith claims to be a true hero, saving much more lives. He will be the one that breaks Superman down, making him look within himself to see how weak he really is. What’s crazier? This “true hero” has been around for the last 75 years.

So I know this was supposed to be a Superman Unchained #1 review. I swear it still is! Everything I said about the panel is exactly what you get in this first issue: Fantastic art and the setting up of an amazing narrative. Superman isn’t as untouchable as he seems. He’s very human and has his moments of doubt. He’s in for a lot of struggles and life lessons. Fortunately he has a good supporting cast to help him on the way.

As Snyder mentioned in the panel, Lois Lane will play a major role. It’s as much a Lois story as it is a Superman story. The Lois we loved before the New 52 is back and I’m excited! Let’s not forget about Jimmy Olsen either and of course, Lex Luthor. You can’t have a Superman comic without Lex.

In general, as long as you can get pass Snyder’s rather lengthy narrative and dialogue, you’ll enjoy this series. Trust me he can be wordy, but his words always matter. Alright, awesome story and awesome art so I’ll ask again… What’s not to love about Superman Unchained?