Superman’s worst fears come to life in Knight Terrors: Superman #1, “Man of Screams”. DC’s Summer event has gotten underway and is haunting all the main comics in their lineup. Not to worry though, this issue recaps all you need to know in order to follow along without reading everything from the Knight Terrors event thus far.
Six variants accompany this issue’s release with Gleb Melnikov on the standard cover. An unconscious Superman falls unceremoniously towards a body of water as Grim Reaper figure encompasses the background. It’s a very striking image as Superman is the only fully colored piece on the cover. Fairly simple in delivery, its true elegance lies in how effortlessly it summarizes the story within.
Christian Ward’s variant is both eerie and somewhat hopeful. Although creepy supernatural skeletal mists begin to embrace The Man of Steel, he’s still managing to rise above them…or does the blank look on his face suggest they’ve already affected him? Either way, the vacant white background adds to the etherealness of the mists making a captivating cover.
The Midnight Variant is by Dustin Nguyen shows off his talents by only using two colors. Depicted all in red, Superman appears to emerge from the darkness ready to take a swing at whatever threat presents itself. Superman’s face radiates an otherworldly feel with the blankness of his eyes. It’s really impressive to be able to create such a compelling cover just using black and red.
Keep an eye out for the other three covers by Francesco Mattina, Filya Bratukhin & Jason Wordie, and Dan Mora.
You can tell artist Tom Reilly and colorist Nathan Fairbairn had a lot of fun working on the interior art of this issue. Their style alone pays tribute to the Golden Age look of Clark, but within several quick panels the duo also pays tribute to several iconic Superman moments from history. They expertly balance their whimsical scenes to offset the tension within the story yet not make it feel overly ridiculous. It’s just a fun book to look through and even though there’s faces being ripped off and a horde of undead Supergirls from comic’s past, nothing is too grotesque to detract from the story itself.
Writer Joshua Williamson, lettered by Ariana Maher, takes us through the myriad of fears Superman lives with. Williamson really gets to the heart of Clark Kent as he valiantly faces everything Insomnia (the main villain of Knight Terrors) throws at him with calm defiance. We quickly understand that Superman’s fears aren’t foreign to him, and other than being out of his element, having them brought to life barely phases him. In fact, Clark quickly realizes he’s fallen asleep and needs to wake up but is at a loss in how to do so. Fortunately, he finds aid in both the dream realm and reality as Kara joins him in his nightmares and a certain Atlantean family discovers an interesting development.
For a story that’s tied into a bigger event, Knight Terrors: Superman #1 feels more in line with current House of El stories by giving us some well placed introspective into how Clark’s truly feeling. It’s nice to see these interlude issues reveal Clark’s uncertainties in a way that doesn’t feel disjointed from the main comic line while also advancing the overall Knight Terrors event.