Superman Up in the sky #1 is here and I have been so excited to see Tom King and legendary artist Andy Kubert take on the Man of Steel. Andy Kubert is an artist that is synonymous with “event” books, and runs on comics of the upmost prestige and acclaim. This truly is a dream team and I can’t wait to see what kind of tale Tom King has in store for us.
Interior artist Andy Kubert has created an incredible cover as Superman looks commanding standing firm as destructive blasts rain down from the heavens. I really love this cover. Superman’s pose is just so imperious and dynamic. This is truly a Man of Steel full of confidence and belief in himself and for me, that makes the hairs stand on the back of my neck.
This story was originally published in DC Comics 100-page giant publication which is a twice monthly anthology series exclusive to Walmart stores in the US. I have to say I’m so jealous of the Walmart customers knowing there is new content being created that is just out of my reach, especially featuring Superman. It was actually Tasmin herself who first informed me that this very series would be finally presented to an international audience in traditional comic book format, which I was just so excited to hear.
It starts off the way all great Superman stories do, with someone who needs saving. However this is anything but your ordinary rescue mission. Issue #1 opens up under very tragic circumstances as Batman informs the Man of Steel of a horrific home invasion that occurred in Gotham. Batman begs Superman to be the one to visit the surviving child as he was her favourite superhero. Superman soon learns that a sibling from the family named ‘Alice’ is missing and that she was abducted by a ‘spaceman’.
Automatically I became totally invested in this story upon hearing this information. This abduction could lead us anywhere in the DC Universe. I think Batman asked Superman to intervene in this case because Bruce understands completely what this child is going through, and knows that now more than ever what this child needs the most is the comfort and hope. That inexplicable ray of light that only Superman can provide, plus he was her favourite. Batman knowing this and utilizing Superman in this way really is a lovely sign of their friendship, and shows the respect Bruce has for Clark.
We then find Superman really start to widen the net in search for Alice contacting Hal Jordan of the Green Lantern corps. From this point on the issue very much becomes a ‘day in the life’ form of storytelling. Superman discusses and ponders the abduction while tackling villains such as The Atomic Skull and Metallo, and averting catastrophes in the form of plane crashes, meteors and muggings. These feats of strength and bravery are just breathtaking. The sheer size and scope of what Superman is capable of achieving is captured right here within these pages. And with thanks to artist Andy Kubert you really feel it. You really feel the gravity of each scenario and the power needed to avert it mentally and physically.
Our hero is very much conflicted through most of this issue. Clark knows he is truly the only one capable of finding Alice wherever she may be, however the weight of his responsibilities here on Earth makes him second guess whether his absence is worth the risk. The events we have witnessed Superman tackle in this issue fill him with doubts and rightfully so, what would a world look like without the Man of Steel? After a beautiful exchange with Pa Kent back home in Kansas, Superman now knows what must be done.
This scene is arguably my favourite from the whole issue. Those rich, warm sunset colours created by Brad Anderson add so much warmth, and a sense of belonging. This is Clark’s safe place, his place to think, his place to breathe. I honestly just love it. Jonathan is so wise in these scenes, he knows just what to say and when to say it. He obviously knows his son to well. Its so subtle how he pushes Clark in the right direction so he finds just where he needs to be, and that is what being a parent is all about.
After a playful yet heartfelt encounter with Lois, Clark is ready to start his search amongst the stars. As the issue comes to a close we find Superman on the planet Rann following a lead from his earlier encounter with Hal Jordan. He embarks on a perilous mission testing the very boundaries of his mind as he searches for a counterfeit Zeta Beam used in the kidnapping. The issue closes out with a myriad of visions that lead Superman one step closer to finding Alice. I loved the way that this was portrayed, it was extremely sweet and shows our caped hero almost doubting himself like many of us do.
Superman Up in the sky #1 is just fantastic. This issue feels like a big deal. It feels like it should be published in prestige format with a plethora of variants to celebrate its arrival. The splash pages in this issue are breathtaking. Superman saving the train from the collapsing bridge is staggering. The falling debris in the foreground is in perfect contrast to the serene background that can all to easily be shattered at a moments notice. Brad Anderson’s colours in this issue are a thing of beauty. The colours during Lois and Clark’s emotional exchange are just gorgeous. The pink and purple hues just add so much emotion and beauty to a heartfelt scene tinged a with a little sadness.
Writer Tom King is now very much synonymous with pulling back the curtain and exploring our heroes psyche. Whether it be the ongoing Batman series, or the recent mini series Heroes in Crisis. In this issue, I really feel that Tom King has explored an idea that I’ve not seen played with to much within the pages of Superman and that is guilt. Guilt at not being able to save everyone all of the time. Of course Superman does his best, he goes above and beyond, but he can’t be everywhere at once, and him verbalizing this when talking about himself going off planet was very honest and refreshing. To have this much power and feel this much responsibility must be a crushing burden, but for me that is what makes Superman special and a true hero.