After Grant Morrison’s astounding first issue on ‘Action Comics’ #1, I was super excited to delve back into the world of the Man of Steel with the start of the new ‘Superman’ title. Sadly this issue, while not bad by any means, just doesn’t hit the notes that Morrison did. This issue is set after an as of yet undetermined time following the events of ‘Action Comics’ #1. Superman is no longer wearing jeans, work boots, and a t-shirt. Instead, he’s wearing the Kryptonian armor that was seen previously in the first issues of ‘Justice League’ and ‘Swamp Thing’. He’s also has gotten more powerful. Superman can now fly (as opposed to just leaping tall buildings in a single bound) and is stronger than he was in ‘Action’.

Writer/artist George Perez (‘Teen Titans’, ‘Avengers’) does a decent job setting up the new status quo in Metropolis with a large focus on the Daily Planet and its staff. The issue opens as the old Daily Planet building is being demolished and a new one erected. A news report informs us that Galaxy Communications, headed by Morgan Edge, has bought out the Planet and merged it into the larger news company. This causes a few shake-ups for the Daily Planet regulars. Lois Lane is promoted to executive producer and vice-president of the Nightly News and new media. That means she’s no longer actually working with Clark Kent, who is still at the Planet working with his old boss Perry White. Jimmy Olsen is still photographer but he now has a partner and does video and photo for several news outlets within Galaxy Communications. We’re introduced to a few lesser news figures. Most notable among them are William McCoy (a news anchor that seems to dislike Superman) and Ms. “Izzy” Izquierdo (new assistant to Perry White at the Daily Planet). The new dynamics of the Metropolis news arena are a lot to take in but I expect that they’ll play into future stories… especially since they take up at least half of this issue.

[Warning: spoilers below.]

Crunched in between all the news drama are two scenarios that feature Superman doing his city-saving best. The first involves Superman stopping a couple of hoods that have stolen a trucker filled with explosive chemicals. This rescue only takes a few pages and seems to exist mainly to introduce us to William McCoy, the news anchor that immediately blames Superman the moment something goes wrong with the tanker.

As soon as the tanker incident is over, Superman is surprise attacked by a blast of flame and he rushes to the next threat. This time it is an alien creature made of living fire. Since it doesn’t speak any Earth language, no one knows why it is in the middle of Metropolis but it doesn’t appear too happy to be there.

As Superman does his best to prevent the creature from leveling the city, he does understand one repeated word within the alien’s gibberish… Krypton! After disposing of the creature and saving Metropolis, Clark Kent helps the Daily Bugle keep print relevant by printing an exclusive first-hand account of the incident from Superman. The issue closes on a scene that shows that Lois and Clark are about as far from married in the new DC Universe as they can be.

This issue was fast paced and had enough action (mainly with the fire alien) to keep Superman fans happy. The art from Jesus Merino, as usual, is amazing and a perfect fit for the Last Son of Krypton. Since the story was good and the art even more so, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t feeling that Superman excitement with this issue. However, on a second read-through, it hit me. Superman has always had a light-hearted feel to his character and that is clearly absent in this issue. The entire issue reads like an action thriller that forgot to hire the comedy relief. Even Morrison’s Superman in ‘Action’ seemed lighter than this… and he was tossing people off of buildings. I hope that Perez will find his footing as this series moves along. If he can’t then he should move over and let a new writer take the reigns.

Breakdowns and Cover by GEORGE PEREZ