DC Comics announces Superman: Space Age. Mark Russell is seeking to keep the hype he stirred in the comic book world with Fantastic Four Life Story, this time with a three-issue prestige mini series with artist Mike Allred. Is it a Man of Steel space adventure with a retro setting or spin? Will Superman be visiting new alien worlds with accompanying threats?
Actually, it’s a very down to Earth story set in the standalone “Space Age”, as DC describes Clark as a young Daily Planet reporter as he sort of makes a return after years of inactivity due to his father’s request. This Earth had never seen superheroes before, but when the Crisis on Infinite Earths reaches it, the world comes to know Superman. From there, we are taken through the decades of Kal-El’s career and how the world changes around him – possibly into something that he may no longer recognise as his home.
Sneak peeks of the first issue include a scene from The Daily Planet. They are noticeably using typewriters instead of computers, indicating that we are at least 30 years back. The office also appears to be male-dominated with journalists such as Kat Grant missing. Another page shows Clark in the Fortress of Solitude as a hologram of Jor-El presents him with the suit and cape like a storyboard out of a Hollywood movie. Another shows Pariah and the Anti-Monitor with multiple Earths and bolts of anti-matter that would do George Perez proud. The final sneak peek page features a Soviet-like army accompanied by a strange masked man.
From these pages, you can see that Allred’s stylised pop art with a retro flare gives this Superman a Christopher Reeve feel and more than likely fits the story and script by Russell we’ll be able to read in July. Allred calls Superman: Space Age his biggest project for DC yet and promises “head-spinning iconography, top tier characters, twists, thrills, and chills, resulting in a powerful instant classic epic.”
Russell also was in glee when the project was made public as Superman: Space Age is a dream project as he has said. With stories like Future State’s Superman vs. Imperious Lex, Russell is in the Man of Steel game for the character philosophy. He’s also really good with stories about someone who is out of place in their own world for being themselves. He had comedically explored this in his independent comic Second Coming wherein Jesus returns to a changed world and lives with a Superman pastiche, now the new saviour. Superman: Space Age is a colourful way to give Kal-El this treatment in what is a very meaningful story about what the world can be like if everyone tried to be their best selves.
Variant covers for the first issue have also been shown. Two, including, the main cover are by Allred with others by Steve Rude and Nick Derrington. The main cover features Superman with the Earth in his hand set to a cosmic background with Jupiter and Saturn. His hand isn’t clasped around the globe, but letting it rest peacefully in his palm. However, it seems to be quaking all on its own – curious. Allred’s variant feels straight from his private collection with a full-color Superman with a suit similar to that of the one in All-Star by Grant Morrison. The uncoloured sketches in the background show various scenes from his life including his landing in Smallville, working on the Kent Farm, The Daily Planet, and Jor-El.
Nick Derrington set Superman to yet another cosmic background, with the Sun peeking out from behind the moon and him in that one-legged flying pose. Derrington tends to do darker illustrations, that’s why he’s such a good Batman artist. But Superman is a way for him to be light, and of course, he uses the Sun. Steve Rude channels Norman Rockwell, like Alex Ross does it seems to bring us a variant of Superman in the Fortress of Solitude claiming his suit for the first time, while holograms of his Kryptonian ancestors guide him on. Their costumes are like atomic age spacemen with lime green portraying the Fortress’s light. This one can go in a Superman museum as a mural, it’s so pretty.
Superman: Space Age issue one will release on July 26 with each issue coming out every two months according to DC Comics.