After last month's segue way to an alternate Earth, we're back with the Superman we've been wanting to see.
In the first arc that ended in issue #8, it appeared that our visit to Superman's early days were over. With the new Kryptonian armor and Metropolis' acceptance of him as a hero, it looked as if this series would be jumping to the present as JUSTICE LEAGUE has done. Fortunately, that isn't the case. Superman may have a new costume but that doesn't exactly mean his t-shirt and jeans days are over. This is still a younger Superman and Clark Kent. Unfortunately, Nimrod the Hunter, last seen at the end of issue #8, is determined to kill Clark.
Grant Morrison provides this series with something that the other SUPERMAN title is missing. We get a sense of emotion from the characters. Clark may be a little distant at times but we do still get more from his interactions with Jimmy and Lois here than we do in the other title. This is still a Superman with feelings and emotions. He gets angry at the criminal scum. He wants to save the world, something an older Superman may have realized isn't exactly possible for one person.
Because the story is set in the past, we do get some more little tidbits updating the characters. We even get to see Superman interacting with the Justice League. This is something that all the other solo books seemed determined to avoid. It almost feels like we get a behind-the-scenes look at the team since they are still in their early days and don't really have the desire to hangout all the time and wait for trouble.
Rags Morales is quickly becoming one of my favorite Superman artists. The way he draws the characters really captures this earlier time in Superman's career. This is another reason I'm glad we haven't jumped forward to the present. I want to be able to enjoy this time for as long as we can. The art in the back up by Cafu is also good. The styles are a little different but not too much that it becomes jarring as you flow from one story to the next.
I mentioned the Superman t-shirt. Now that he has the Kryptonian armor and we've seen how it can be worn under regular clothes and change, it wasn't really clear why he wouldn't use it all the time. There could be something in the manner he behaved at this moment that made him want to go with his previous look. What adds to the confusion is in the next scene, he is wearing the armor when talking to the Justice League.
The back up story has a note at the beginning that informs us it takes place after the events of issue #11. That seems a little crazy. Maybe there wasn't another back up ready for this issue. It's not like we'll just stop reading and wait until next month. Thankfully, it didn't appear that anything was really spoiled.
While I did enjoy Cafu's art, there were a couple moments the coloring was off a little. Jimmy's cheeks were a little too rosey.
Grant Morrison and Rags Morales are still bringing us the younger Superman. I had concerns that because he gained the Kryptonian armor, the series would jump forward to catch up with SUPERMAN. The 'bad guy' here leaves a little to be desired as his motives feel a little cliché but we do get some more developments that you'll gobble up while reading the story. It feels odd that the back up story takes place after next month's issue but it is good to be getting an actual back up story instead of other extras. I was getting a little worried about the series but with this first part in a new story arc, I can feel my excitement building up again. That feeling that Morrison has something up his sleeve is coming back and he shows that a Superman comic can be fun and exciting. This is what I want from a Superman comic.