REVIEW: Superman Endless Winter Special #1
The Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 is finally here! I have waited a long time for this, as you know I am here for anything to do with my favourite hero.
Despite the excitement, this is not the first part of Endless Winter, this is actually part 3. Last week saw the introduction to this colossal story line in Justice League Endless Winter Special #1 and that story continued with The Flash #767 which is also out this week. So for the full experience, please do check out those other titles!
But before we get into Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 in more detail, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by the one and only Francis Manapul. I absolutely adore his work, everything is drawn and coloured to perfection. Superman looks bold and triumphant as he streaks across ice monsters and glaciers under the Northern Lights. It really is a beautiful piece.
The variant cover is by Rafael Grassetti and it is magnificent! It’s a very digital image yet it’s so realistic. The detail in absolutely everything you look at is stellar. The hair, the suit, the cape flows, the skin texture and even the snowy background is done to perfection. This is truly what Superman would look like in real life. I most certainly approve. This piece is exceptional.
Superman and the rest of the Justice League find themselves and the rest of the world relentlessly attacked by the Frost King and his army of ice. The entire team are exhausted and are frantically trying to find out where the Frost King is to end this once and for all. This issue focuses mostly around Superman trying to take charge of the situation in Metropolis and checking in with this loved ones.
First of all I am a sucker to see Lois Lane as the hero we all know she is. She has no powers yet she has this incredible ability to control a situation, to take charge and do what needs to be done not only to keep her and her close ones safe, but any citizen of Metropolis in this case. It’s safe to say that Andy Lanning and Ron Marz really do write the perfect Lois Lane.
In this issue we see Superman really start to doubt himself and it is always painful for me to see that as he is the epitome of hope. The ice army is relentless and with every one that is taken down, another resurfaces. The entire Justice League are exhausted and these individuals comic issues focusing on the heroes perfectly showcase their tenacity, but also their despair.
Within that despair Superman turns to home to seek a chance to recharge and get reassurance. During his visit he comes across a very good boy and of course his parents. This moment was an absolute joy. Regardless of how we are feeling, just that familiarity of home and family is sometimes just what you need to keep going. This is what makes Superman so human, it’s one of the reasons I love him and this whole aspect to him is so incredibly relatable.
Despite the incredible force working against the Justice League, it seems that everyone else in Superman’s life isn’t too phased by the whole situation. Lois, and Ma & Pa Kent refuse Clark’s offer of refuge in The Fortress. It seems naive at first it is just adding more weight and pressure onto Superman. It means he is having to worry about the love of his life and his parents to ensure their safety and wellness. With that said it does also show the faith that they have in him and the rest of the League. Though they are all clearly exhausted and worried, it also shows that the work they are doing is clearly easing the pressure for the inhabitants of Metropolis, Smallville and around the world.
He needs that reminder that they aren’t always the ones that need saving. He carries a burden being Superman, but they also willingly carry that burden with him. This whole sequence was the highlight of the issue for me and it was written beautifully. The dialogue is so real and full of heart, and the fact that Superman, this incredibly powerful being leaves with a flask given to him by his mother is just so damn pure to me. It is a really lovely touch.
There are two artistic teams within this issue, one for the flashback at the start of the issue and one for the rest of the issue. The artwork by Marco Santucci in the flashback sequence is awesome. I’m a sucker for the whole Viking era and the artwork just pays homage to that. From the atmospheric art, to the costume design it is handled perfectly. That artwork and ambiance is complimented by the incredible colours by Arif Prianto.
The rest of the artwork in the issue is by Phil Hester and Ande Parks with colours by the magnificent Hi-Fi. The artwork is cartoonistic yes, but I adore it and it works really well with this issue. I could easily watch an animated series with this style of artwork and that’s what it reminds me of. One thing I do love is the colours, despite it being a very frosty setting and atmosphere, every time we see Superman he just lights up the page. The bold blue, red and yellow suit really radiates off the page, especially when he’s using his heat vision. The pages where Superman goes into space to take a moment are phenomenal, the way that this artistic team create the galaxy atmosphere is incredible. It’s very realistic which is a great contrast to the rest of the artwork which is cartoonistic as I’ve mentioned.
Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 showcases a perfect Superman, as he faces a relentless fight which leads him to doubt himself. This issue highlights everything that Superman stands for and I’d be very happy to see this team work on another Superman book if the artwork and writing is like this.
Haven’t picked up Superman: Endless Winter Special #1 yet? You can pick up the standard cover by Francis Manapul here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Rafael Grassetti, you can get that here (UK) or here (US). Endless Winter continues in Aquaman #66.
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