Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Superman Annual (2023) #1 Review


Written by: Joshua Williamson
Art by: Mahmud Asrar, Edwin Galmon, Caitlin Yarsky, Max Raynor, Jack Herbert
Colors by: Dave McCaig, Edwin Galmon, Alex Guimaráes
Letters by: Ariana Maher
Cover art by: Mahmud Asrar, Dave McCaig
Cover price: $5.99
Release date: August 8, 2023

Superman Annual (2023) #1 tracks a day in the life of the Daily Planet under the watchful eye of (interim) Editor-in-Chief, Lois Lane. What news is fit to print in Metropolis today?
Is It Good?

Superman Annual (2023) #1 is a perfectly serviceable annual with serviceable art and a serviceable story that focuses on nearly everyone except Superman. On its face, that would make Joshua Williamson's latest annual during his run a dud, but the last few pages (almost) make up for it.

Williamson's script centers on Lois Lane portioning out investigative journalism to her staff who are in a bit of a rut. To shake things up, Lois switches assignments to get a new view... a new angle... on potentially humdrum stories. Lois's plan works, and what readers get in return are unexpected happenings across Metropolis in a collection of scenes that shake up the status quo of a few characters as well as the Daily Planet's front page.

The minor (or major, if you prefer) down point of this issue is the lack of Superman and the frustratingly anemic teases about Marilyn Moonlight. A Superman annual with barely any Superman is an odd choice, especially for the cover price. And Williamson keeps having Marilyn Moonlight pop up briefly without an ounce of explanation, backstory, or motivation.

What's great about this issue? The different journalist assignments are mildly entertaining. Most of the humor, courtesy of Jimmy Olsen, works. But the real kicker of this annual is the last few pages, implying that Dr. Pharm and Mr. Graft are in cahoots with a MAJOR Superman villain.

What's not so great about this issue? An overpriced Superman annual that focuses on the Daily Planet reporter pool? C'mon, Man. What are we doing here?!? The individual assignments are cute and/or mildly amusing, but that's not enough to justify an Annual moniker and an elevated cover price.

How's the art? Inconsistent. As you can see from the credits above, a small squad was tapped to complete the art duties, and that's usually a red flag. In this case, at least a yellow flag is warranted. The art transitions are noticeable, and the art quality varies from artist to artist (e.g. the Lois pitch meeting is a miss, but Lois's visit to Strykers to interview Livewire looks great). In fairness, no artist's style is terrible. They're just too dissimilar in skill and output to make the visuals attractive.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Superman Annual (2023) #1 delivers a mildly amusing collection of Daily Planet news assignments to bring updates on an assortment of characters, presumably heading back to Superman post-Knight Terrors. Each assignment has a certain entertaining charm, but a Superman Annual with barely any Superman seems a letdown, and the large artist pool results in inconsistent art. As a positive, the final page tease spells big things for Big Blue soon.


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