Warning: SPOILERS for Superman #1It’s been a busy few years for Clark Kent’s Superman in DC Comics. The Man of Steel revealed his identity to the world and had his son aged up from a child to a young adult before his eyes. Jonathan Kent took over as Superman for a time while his father Kal-El fought on Warworld and fell victim to the Dark Crisis. The Superman family got even bigger as Clark and Lois Lane adopted two alien children. Now, with his identity back in place and his feet back on Earth, Kal-El has finally returned in all his glory with DC’s latest Superman #1.


Superman #1, written by Joshua Williamson with art by Jamal Campbell and letters by Ariana Maher, picks up in something of a return to status quo for Lois and Clark. It also sets up the challenges and enemies that they will have to face in the newly launched Dawn of DC era. Having returned from his trials on Warworld and with his son Jon gearing up for adventures of his own, Kal-El resumes operating as the Superman of Metropolis, fighting classic foes like Livewire and Parasite. Clark, his secret identity back in place as a result of Lex Luthor’s machinations, also returns to the Daily Planet, where Lois serves as interim editor-in-chief for an injured Perry White.

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Superman’s Return Gives Metropolis Its Boy Scout Back

Superman 1 splash

One area in which Superman #1 soars is its willingness to spend time on its return to Metropolis. Before diving into some of the larger aspects of the story, Williamson shows both Superman and Clark settling back into their lives in Metropolis. An opening battle with Livewire allows Kal-El to be seen as a protector rather than a brawler, as Superman wins a fight against a superpowered foe while still taking time to interact with – and even perform a wedding ceremony for – the people of his city. A brilliant spread by Campbell launches the comic, as Superman protects a soon-to-be-married couple from one of Livewire’s electric blasts with a brief recap of his origin story reflected in the red of his cape.

The issue also showcases Clark’s return to the Daily Planet, making use of his recently restored secret identity. With Lois now serving as editor-in-chief, the Planet once again feels like an important aspect of Superman’s world, something that’s been rather lacking in recent years. This also gives Lois and Clark time to interact with Jimmy Olsen, who remains as fun and vibrant an aspect of the Superman mythos as any villain or act of heroics. Simple moments like seeing Clark and Lois talk on the roof, hearing Clark call Jimmy Olsen “pal or even watching Jimmy talk about his new girlfriend, go a long way in making Superman #1 the warm, exciting return to Metropolis that it is.

Lex Luthor Is Driving Superman to Wits’ End

Luthor in Prison Superman 1

Following his killing of Manchester Black in a bid to erase the world’s knowledge of Superman’s secret identity, Lex Luthor begins the latest Superman series in prison; even so, Lex does plenty of damage to Clark while locked behind bars. Knowing Superman keeps tabs on him with his enhanced hearing, Lex audibly critiques Kal-El’s performance throughout the issue, furthering his claim that he only wants to help Clark become a more efficient hero. That said, most of Luthor’s “advice” goes against Superman’s instincts, as he tries to convince the Man of Steel to ignore bystanders or tells him that his compassion is a weakness. It’s a fascinating take on the characters’ dynamic, with Clark unable to stop listening to the annoying advice of his harshest critic. In a particularly poignant moment, Clark tells Lois, “Sometimes I feel like Lex is the only person I’ve ever given up on,” indicating Luthor’s words have had some effect on Superman.

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Superman #1 capitalizes on Lex’s supposed change of heart by showing that, even as an ally, Luthor infuriates Kal-El like none other. The villain’s company LexCorp has been re-named SuperCorp, with all of the company turned over to Superman (against the hero’s wishes). Though admirable in theory, this move on Luthor’s part is filled with legal traps and personal digs meant to corner or pick at Clark. The issue’s ending reveals villains from Luthor’s past now causing trouble for Superman in the present, forcing the Man of Steel to come to terms with the new union in some form in the near future. Lex being an enraging “hero” may not be wholly new ground for DC, but Williamson has a fun handle on their dynamic. The teases set up in this issue, especially the notion that Clark is wondering if a Lex at his most infuriating can be redeemed, make the future of this Superman-Luthor partnership look as bright as ever.

The House of El Takes a Back Seat in Superman #1


Superman has built a fun roster of characters over the years, with the House of El becoming a prominent aspect of Action Comics in the Dawn of DC. Still, Superman #1 in part succeeds by leaving several of these supporting players at home. By allowing a larger focus on Clark, Lois and Lex, this issue truly feels like the relaunch of the Superman flagship rather than becoming another title for the whole Superman family. As Jon getting his own Adventures of Superman title, Superboy returning in April with Superboy, Man of Tomorrow, John Henry and Natasha Irons headlining Steelworks and the whole House of El sharing Action Comics, it’s a great time to be a Superman fan. This leaves plenty of space for Kal-El to lead his own book in Superman’s new era without competing with an extensive cast.

Part of what makes Superman #1 succeed is its intense focus on Clark Kent and what essentially is his return to the world. While the previous Kal-El Returns event served as the character’s homecoming from Warworld, this book truly feels like Clark’s welcome back to Metropolis, showing all the joys and struggles of this new chapter of his life. With the final pages teasing “Danger!” Horror!” and “Adventure!” for Kal-El, Superman #1 only promises more fun for Kal-El following the character’s epic return.

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Superman #1 is available from DC Comics now.

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