Superman is pretty much the most iconic and well known character around. Regardless if someone is into superhero stories or not, they know who the Man of Steel is. It’s really no surprise considering the character has been around for over eighty years.
That being said, are there still interesting, compelling, and entertaining stories still to be told? Obviously the answer is an emphatic YES as Mark Russell and Mike Allred clearly demonstrate with Superman: Space Age #1.
Like many others, I grew up reading Superman comics and watching him soar on the big and small screens. Superman is synonymous with the idea of hope. With all the complexities in life, it’s easy to see why so many look up to him for inspiration. Superman is the hero we all need and want in the world.
What makes Superman: The Space Age different from the many other stories we’ve seen over the years?
The main selling point for myself is the creative team. Mark Russell is a brilliant writer. He has the ability to craft compelling and complex stories while often mixing in blatant or subtle humor. (Read The Flintstones, Wonder Twins, One Star Squadron, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Prez, or anything with his name attached). Mike Allred has been my favorite artist since I first discovered his Madman comics in the 90s. Add in Laura Allred’s mind-blowing colors, and you can’t go wrong. These three could put out a comic about Lex Luthor’s intern, and I’d still gobble it up.
It’s the Allred’s visuals that really bring a focus to the innocence and magnificence of who Superman is and should be. Take a look at one of the variant covers showing Allred’s character designs.
Mike Allred’s style along with Laura’s colors immediately establishes the tone this story screams for.
Yes, there are some origin elements to the story. Some may be saying, “Here we go again, I already know Superman’s origin forwards and backwards.” Whether that’s the case or not, Russell still manages to make it feel fresh and unique.
Having the story go back to the “beginning” is a good thing. It means the issue is easily accessible to those who have been reading comics for decades or those who may have only seen him in the movies or on TV. It means you don’t have to worry about the current state of Superman comics where his secret identity has been thrown away and the fact that he isn’t even currently on planet Earth.
This book is a celebration of the greatness of Superman.
I know I’ve been saying a lot but haven’t really touched on the story.
It’s a pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths story, if you want to call it that. From the preview pages above, you can see the story begins in 1985 and the world is unfortunately in bad shape. Things jump back and unfold in real time. It’s a neat story device as it allows the characters to grow and evolve in natural time. The Clark Kent we see in the opening pages is vastly different from the one still living on the farm with Jonathan and Martha Kent or the one who gets hired at the Daily Planet. Russell mixes in big superhero action while also making a statement on the state of the world.
At eighty pages, it’s more than just a comic story. We get to witness Superman’s life as it plays out.
There are also plenty of other familiar characters who play a big role. Obviously you can’t have a Superman story without Lex Luthor (or his intern, right?). Surprisingly, Bruce Wayne’s role is immensely welcomed (because who doesn’t love Batman?), and it never feels like a forced or gratuitous appearance. The same goes for other familiar characters. I won’t name them all to save some surprises for when you read the story.
Is this the best Superman story ever? It’s definitely the best one I’ve read in a long time. Call me old fashioned, but this story contains everything a Superman story should have. The current Superman stories may show us a character who has grown and evolved over the course of time and numerous stories, but there’s still a yearning for the classic stories.
This is who Superman should be.
Bottom line: I loved the book. As a big fan of the creators and of who Superman used to be, this is exactly the Superman story I’ve been wanting for some time. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy or two. This is a book to give to someone who is interested in comics but doesn’t know where to begin. This is a book that deserves to win all the awards next year. This is a book that deserves to be read over and over. Don’t miss out on this.
I am so thankful for this book.