A New Day
This was the title that made the top of my stack this week, and as the first pick of the week, I had rather high expectations. Everything about this book demands a level of quality, from the reputation of the creative team and the iconic status of the title itself. Even with all those lines firmly in place, I found myself utterly thrilled by the delivery of this book. Grant Morrison has always thrilled me, although I'm quick to note that I've often been incredibly confused by his style. This, however, was the much more accessible version of Grant Morrison, as he tones back some of his wackier elements in favor of a style of distinct clarity, the likes of which similarly made the beginning of his JLA run both accessible and iconic through an epic nature. This style works perfectly for this issue, as it doesn't yank the reader completely out of the realm of sanity, while still moving into one of the unknown. This is not the same old Superman, this is something different. The intended youth of the character is really at the forefront here, particularly in the exhibition of emotions made all the more potent by the talent of Rags Morales.
One observation from this issue was how well paced the supporting cast was, through introduction and illumination of their character. Jimmy Olsen has always been one of my favorite characters, but I've always had to admit that with a pint of shame covered by a blush of embarrassment. Here though, Jimmy actually seems like the kind of guy a reader might authentically have as a friend. It is no wonder that there is a friendship between Clark and Jimmy. Jimmy has lost the over the top nerdishness that made him so divisive and instead becomes a little bit more of an authentic human being, the perfect companion for Clark as he struggles to find his place in humanity without the influence of Ma, Pa and Lois. Speaking of those, the absence of the parents really acts as a catalyst for this story. In the long term it may sadden me to no longer have them around, but this really places Superman in a new role of vulnerability. No longer can he just zap over to the farm and have old value America tell him the right decisions to make... and you can feel that element even in this first issue. Lois also has an element of strength to her, although her newly peripheral status to Clark keeps her a little bit to the sideline. Lex Luthor also returns to his roots here, as the man who has yet to truly face Superman. There is no challenge to this character and the arrogance of his victory absolutely permeates his character. Even his slightly altered appearance (as another reader noted, he looks a little chubby) hints at the sort of demeanor that is this early form of the character. Not a hint of doubt or panic touches him for a moment, and he truly seems a little inhuman, given his clear superiority. This first impression will make it really wonderful to see the evolution of the character. There is so much story development in all this that I almost forgot to praise the art, but I suppose that works perfectly in this scenario, as the beauty of the work that Rags creates just soaks in the story to make a perfect union.
There was little I could see to critique upon the completion of the issue. I suppose having a little more insight into how Lex achieved this victory would have been nice, but by no means is the sequence of events indecipherable. The movement of Superman, plotwise, is also very rushed, but I think that it works for the moment, particularly in filling the issue with enough material to establish all of the necessary bases.
No doubts I'll pick it up, how can you not with that ending? I'm just dying to see what might happen next!
5 out of 5 Stars!
A great comic that lives up to the heavy expectations placed upon it, a must grab for anyone looking to be part of this new universe or just looking for an exciting ride through the medium.
Recommended highly, if you can still find it in stores.