Superman Unchained #1 Review

By: Rob Neil Gruszecki

            Over the skies of Nagasaki on April 9th in 1945 an ominous and devastating force is dropped onto the civilians below. What follows will punctuate the darkest time in human history and explore the most horrific and violent capabilities of mankind to this day. Staring up innocently through binoculars, Ichuru, a young boy, witnesses the weaponized power of a god burst from a capsule. As shrapnel and a desolate ending rapidly impend towards himself and his family, all guilty of only ever being caught up in a war fought by distant giants, wonder and awe are the last things he witnesses.

Soaring through the infinite, another incalculable power meets explosively with a falling object, one on a collision course with Earth. Marking the eighth occurrence of something being hurled at the Earth as a projectile over the span of a day, this space station turned bullet seems another inescapable tragedy rocketing towards the innocent below.


The depths of man’s depravity, hatred, fear and violence, although apparent throughout our course of history, are never alone or unchallenged. What exists in a dichotomy with our worst is our potential for beauty, hope and greatness. This constant presence shines like a beacon and is found within timeless concepts, created in defiance of and answer to the bomb that started it all. The greatest possible form of human creation. One that was thrown into a world where they didn’t belong yet shaped  in kindness and affection, became an altruistic entity defending egalitarian existence of our kind and dismantling the gods that threaten our lives single-handed.


The Superman

            In Superman Unchained #1 from DC Comics we see our most terrifying invention coming down on our own kind followed by the antithesis of that as it rattles through space to protect us from ourselves. As the comic unfolds (literally in four sections at one point) a very simple and surprisingly underused idea expands and takes shape into what will surely become a superhero epic in modern comics. A god shaped by the human mind facing an unknown nuclear threat constructed by the same.


The best of mankind against its worst

            Ironically the most powerful hero in comics has needed a lot of defending these days. The state of Superman in the New 52 has been a little weak as of late but luckily a team has been assembled, showcasing the big blue boyscout in a story that highlights all of the character’s best qualities and explores all the most important ideals of the creation. Scripting the series is DC’s best mind, Scott Snyder, who really captures all the greatest aspects of the character, supporting players and environment. Snyder’s grasp on the source and ability to explore previously hidden avenues of the 75 year old property is astounding and really exciting to read as a Superman fan. Comprising the second half of the creative team is DC juggernaut Jim Lee who produces a few really stunning panels and action sequences as the alien from Krypton destroys a doomed satellite and rips apart its interiors. A 2 page backup drawn by Dustin Nguyen is another interesting tease towards what will be coming next, of course delivered expertly.


One of the best features of this first issue is that it revels in each scene. It celebrates the best friend relationship of Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent, boasts the workaholic, hyper-caffeinated presence of Lois Lane, dangles its few pages of Luthor’s dastardly brilliant mind like a shiny object in front of an eager child and seems to cherish each panel printed, not wasting a beat or opportunity.


Superman Unchained heralds breathtaking visuals and a voice that understands what makes the hero a relevant and vibrant classic, a tone that feels like it is a story that really wants to be told instead of one that was simply commissioned and thrown together to meet a deadline and the seeds that promise to grow into an enthralling cosmic adventure for all comic fans.


Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior

Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com

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