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Written By: Peter J. Tomasi Art By: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, John Kalisz, Rob Leigh Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: June 15, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Let's see how Clark White or the Pre-Flashpoint Superman does in heading up his own book without all the Lex Luthor, Doomsday stuff going on. It's hard to have a opener for this book without going into what it's about because we've already had a bunch of this Superman doing Superman stuff already, but what I guess I'll go with is this Superman taking up the mantle of the New 52 Superman as a way to keep hope alive and all that good stuff. Yeah, we were thrown some curve balls about what may or may not be going on with Clark Kent actually being dead, but all you need to know going into this issue is that our current Superman believes the New 52 Superman to be dead and wants to do good by him and that his son Jonathan has developed powers all his own and now it's up to some daddy/son bonding time to make sure that he uses his powers the way he should. Let's jump into this issue and see what everything is all about.
Our issue begins in a very strange way, where we get to see that Superman has death on the mind, what with the death of this Universe's Superman, which makes him think back to his own death at the hands of Doomsday back in the 90's. This leads our hero to visit the grave of Clark Kent now that Lana's fulfilled her promise of burying the New 52 Superman next to Jonathan and Martha Kent and for whatever reason......... when Clark White touches the ground above Superman's grave, he leaves a bright blue glowing hand print behind and since he has no idea what's going on...... none of us have any idea what's going on either. It just leaves us thinking about Mr. Oz talking about how nobody is the real Superman and I don't like thinking about that because we're so in the dark about what that's all about. With all the doom and gloom going on, we move away from that and get the hope that the Superman symbol invokes and we see that becoming this Universe's Superman is a top priority for Clark as he throws his day clothes aside and rocks his new blue and red costume.
Well, after that bit of hope going on, we continue on that trend when we move back to the White Farm, which our hero has now that he and his family have moved to upstate New York and we see Clark saving a bunch of animals from his burning barn after it was hit by a lightning strike........ and really that's where all the hope goes away for me because a lot of this issue is just Jonathan looking on from his bedroom and seeing his father putting on this hero persona, whether it's in costume or not and I like the idea because this is all new to Jon and it has to be a lot to take in, especially with his own powers developing, but where we leave Jon from the previous night being happy as hell that his father had these powers to save the animals, we then go to the next morning, where Jon witnesses a hawk grab his cat Goldie and fly away.......... which leads to the boy accidentally using his heat vision and frying his cat........... to the point where we see its burnt carcass on the ground and I was just as horrified as Jon must have been. Not only did Jon just witness this horrifying act, but since he was the one to cause it he's now really ashamed to the point of getting really defensive and combative to his parents for hiding their family secret for so long and how he really wishes that he never developed them in the first place because after you look at your fricasseed cat, I'm guessing heat vision is more of a curse then anything. Not only that, but a neighbor girl from across the field actually witnessed Jon doing it and besides for the fact that she knows his secret, it really comes off that he's more afraid that she'll tell about what happened to Goldie, not even thinking about the whole powers thing.
In the end, we get a bunch of tension between the neighbor girl (Kathy Branden) and Jon as she comes by to White Farm to be neighborly and all that with milk from her Granddad's dairy farm...... and man are you just waiting for that other foot to drop and her to say something because Jon and her throughout this interaction with Clark and Lois going on and on about how nice this is...... well, they're not taking their eyes off each other. Nothing bad does come from this, except for Jon getting grounded for having an outburst after Kathy leaves because goddamn he must be going through a tornado of emotions right now and our issue ends with Jon looking out into the night from his window and witnessing Wonder Woman and Batman making a house call. We're left with a weird ass cliffhanger though where our Trinity looks like they see Jon...... or possibly something else that gets Jon to recoil in terror after a loud crash and our issue closes with Batman and Wonder Woman leaving and Superman asking his son to quickly and quietly come with him........ and I don't know what it is about this cliffhanger, but I'm afraid as hell for Jon.
That's it for this first issue of Superman and goddamn did it shock the hell out of me that it seemed the basis for our first issue of Superman was centered around little Jon burning his cat alive..... but after sitting down and thinking about it for awhile, it does make perfect sense to show the gravity of the situation because having these god-like powers will mean life or death depending on how they're used. So yeah, it's still fucked up to see a burnt up cat when you're just getting into your Superman comic, but I get what Tomasi was doing here and I think that the reader being shocked the way I was is how you need to be going forward to the end of this issue because you really relate with Jon from there on out. I'm not a little boy with superpowers, but I'm kind of afraid to be one now. Besides for kitty going kaput though, I loved that the Batman and Robin team are on this book because it's just cool to see the dynamic that they all brought to that book into what feels like a Superman and Superboy book because it's like being on the opposite end of the spectrum when dealing with superheroes and I trust these creators impeccably to bring me their best each and every issue. Yeah, it's a weird way to start out a series, but the more I thought about this issue the more excited I was to see where we'll go from here.
Bits and Pieces:
While some may feel that this series starts out with an odd note.......(Hell, I'm kind of with those people, but I'm okay with it) I can't help but be excited for what the creative team from Batman and Robin will bring to Superman, especially since this issue and possibly the whole series is so Jon heavy. Yeah, we have a lot of doom and gloom right away, but when dealing with powers no average person should have, you're bound to see some missteps along the way and the grounding of this issue with those missteps makes it feel pretty powerful.