Superman: Red & Blue #2 has been a highly anticipated title for me, and I am so glad it is finally here! The first issue was fantastic, with such a range of creative teams showcasing their take on Superman, so I was eager to see more.
But before we get into the issue itself, let’s take a look at the covers. The standard cover is by Nicola Scott and showcases a very triumphant and proud looking Superman in front of a US flag. I really like this cover, it’s a great looking piece that instantly stands out, and I especially love the detail on the subtle shading around the chest area and hair.
The first variant cover is by Brian Bolland and shows an eager looking Superman standing on top of the world. Though I adore the boldness of the suit in this image, it isn’t my favourite image of Superman I have to admit. Though I do absolutely adore the use of classic Superman and Action Comics covers for the background, it’s very clever, effective and instantly reminds you that Superman really is an icon.
The final variant cover is by David Choe and it is possibly the most unique take on Superman I have ever seen. The use of mixed media and detail within the piece is eye catching, and it’s nice to see a true creatively free piece like this on the front of a comic book. It’s a very unusual style and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this style of art paired up with a comic book before.
Just like the previous issue, Superman: Red & Blue #2 is a collection of stories from a plethora of creative teams using only the colours red and blue (in case you didn’t guess). Like I said before, I love the premise and concept of this, not only does it showcase the best of Superman, but also the imagination of the teams involved. This issue consists of five different stories, so with that said I’ll break this review down in the very same way.
The first story is titled “Own“, and is written by Steven T. Seagle with illustrations by Duncan Rouleau. First of all it’s rare we get a story entirely focused on Ma Kent, but that’s exactly what Seagle has delivered and I absolutely adored it. I admit I’ve never seen her in this sassy fashion before, but we know how she feels about her son and it’s great to see her express that. Not only does it showcase her love for her son and their relationship, but it also shines a light on adopting, fertility and the stigmas behind them which was incredible to see. The artwork is great too, I love the use of the two colours to differentiate the flashbacks from the present, as well as the characters too. It’s very effective and the artwork has a real classic feel to it.
The second story is titled “Into The Ghost Town“, and is written by Chuck Brown, with art by Denys Cowan and John Stanisci and coloured by Chris Sotomayor. I admit I wasn’t expecting Val-Zod to be featured in this series, but it’s great to see him on the pages of a comic again! Not only that, but he is accompanied by a rather unusual take on Krypto The Superdog. For me, personally I felt that this was a bit of an action story and didn’t really have the heart that some of the other stories had, but it is a very interesting and unique take on the characters. There were moments that reminded me of Judge Dredd a little too, and I think that is down to some of the character designs and dialogue in the story. The artwork matches that tone too and really suits the concept of the story well. There are moments that reminded me of John Romita Jr’s artwork, especially when it comes to the textures and facial expressions.
The third story is titled “Patience…” and is written and illustrated by Dan Panosian. This story focuses all around Superman’s arch nemesis, Lex Luthor, as he once again tries to overcome Superman in numerous ways using Red Kryptonite. I really liked this story, not only did it portray Lex Luthor well, but it also portrayed Superman expertly. Superman isn’t just his powers, he is so much more than that and this story does an excellent job of showing that and what he is capable of in several different scenarios. I particularly loved the artwork in this story, the use of line-work and dot-work as shading instead of colour was awesome and really unique. It’s safe to say Dan Panosian writes and draws an excellent Superman, and I’d love to get to know his take on the character a little more.
The fourth story is titled “My Best Friend, Superman” and is written by Stephanie Phillips and illustrated by Marley Zarcone. I thought this story was adorable, it focuses around a little girl named Ava who brings a Superman souvenir to show and tell at school. She explains the story, but the rest of the class refuse to believe her and start to make fun of her, that is until a familiar face appears. This story is so wholesome, it’s a simple concept but it shows how Superman can inspire people and it’s great to see this take with someone from such a young age. This is what Superman is all about to me, he is that beacon of hope and that person who pushes you to do better, so I love that Stephanie Phillips touched on that. The artwork by Marley Zarcone is great and adorable too, and although it’s rather cartoonistic with a pastel colour pallette, it really compliments the story well.
The fifth and final story titled “S Is For Cyborg” is written and illustrated by Jason Howard and focuses around Cyborg Superman and his need for acceptance and power. Again this story really does showcase the best of Superman as he is once again faced with a seemingly impossible choice. What I love about this story is it focuses around the tenacity that Superman has, regardless of the situation. He is the voice of reason and I love how he sticks to his morals and ways at all times regardless of the consequences. The artwork once again perfectly matches the story here, with rough edges and bold colours. The art instantly draws you in and is a perfect tribute and continuation to the 90s Superman and Cyborg Superman we know and love. Yes, even the mullet is back!
Superman: Red & Blue #2 is a fantastic issue featuring stories which truly showcases the best of Superman and in some cases the worst of his enemies. I really love the concept of this series, which allows the creative teams full expression when it comes to writing and drawing the character, I cannot wait for the next issue.
Haven’t picked up your copy of Superman: Red & Blue #2 yet? You can get the standard cover by Nicola Scott here (UK), or here (US). Or if you prefer the variant cover by Brian Bolland, you can get that here.
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