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Advanced Review: SUPERMAN #32 by Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr

There's a new creative team and a new era for the Man of Steel.

It's funny, just last week I was thinking about how much I used to really like Superman. People often said he was too much of a boy scout or too boring. What has bummed me out a little is I can't exactly say I like Superman as much today as I used to. That shouldn't be the case.

The New 52 has made efforts to make Superman a little younger and a little edgier. He's not the perfect superhero that won't do any wrong. That makes him a little more relatable but, still, something for me has been off. Now with Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr taking over the SUPERMAN title, this could be a good time to make some little changes as he enters a "new era," as the solicit put it.

SUPERMAN #32 will be on sale June 25, but DC was kind enough to give us an early look at the issue.

The Good

Geoff Johns is back writing Superman. His run on ACTION COMICS between 2006 - 2009 remains one of my favorite recent runs on the character. Even though he's been writing Superman in the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE, this will give him a chance to focus solely on the Man of Steel. It seems that some of Superman's better New 52 stories have taken place in books he's shared with others (JUSTICE LEAGUE, BATMAN/SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN) and he should really be shining in his own title.

If you've read the solicit for this issue, you know some changes are being made. One in particular was great to see, Perry White trying to get Clark to return to the Daily Planet. Whether he agrees to or not, you'll have to wait and see. The idea of Clark being a blogger was an interesting one but it caused a lack of a central playground for Superman to hang out. There are some wonderful characters associated with the Planet and it'd be great to see them more active in the New 52.

The other thing Johns is doing is introducing a new character named Ulysses in the story. You'll find some interesting parallels in Ulysses' story but what he'll mean for Superman and his corner of the universe remains to be seen.

Regardless whether Ulysses is a friend or foe, he could be another thing that Superman needs. Superman's always lacked powerful characters that could share the pages of his title. I am indeed intrigued to see what Johns will do with this character and what it might possibly mean to Superman.

This marks the first time John Romita Jr has worked on a DC title. I've grown to appreciate Romita's art as there are some things he does really well. Romita's action and destruction scenes really let you feel the impact of what's going on. Klaus Janson's inks, as usual, are great. What makes it all really shine is Laura Martin's colors. The blues and the reds really hit home and this just feels like a Superman comic. Romita's style also has a slight callback to it that, for me, takes it away, a little, from the current New 52 standing.

If you haven't been reading SUPERMAN lately, this issue is the place to jump right in. It's definitely new reader friendly.

The Bad

It's too early to form a full opinion on Ulysses. His origin is definitely interesting but we'll have to see how it plays out and what sort of impact he'll have on Superman and the DCU.

As much as I enjoy some of the changes, there is that feeling over how many changes this series has gone through since the title relaunched in 2011. Remember how Lois was pulled away from being a reporter and what that meant for the Planet? Then there was all the effort to remove Clark from the Planet as well. We've seen the build up of his blog with Cat Grant and it seems all that could be wiped out with one fell swoop. But, as with Ulysses, we just have to wait and see.

This is a build up issue. We briefly see a battle with Titano. There's a feeling of the characters all being introduced to new readers and just when we start to see some new developments, we have to wait for the next issue to find out more.

My only distraction with Romita's art is the way he draws teeth on certain creatures and shattered glass.

The Verdict

Geoff Johns is back on a solo Superman title and he's brought John Romita Jr with him. This Superman title, in particular, has seen a few changes in direction with the various creative teams. With this marking a new creative change, you get a clear feeling that the groundwork is being firmly planted to drive the title further ahead. Romita's art may be an acquired taste for some but there's no denying what he brings to the big action scenes. This issue is a new jumping on point for new readers. That means existing readers will have to sit through moments of build up but what we're getting is intriguing. Make sure you check this issue out to see what Johns and Romita are laying out for us. This issue gets a solid 4 out of 5.

SUPERMAN #32 is on sale June 25, 2014.

65 Comments
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Posted by Z3RO180

To be honest I'm surprised the title has lasted this long

Posted by Darth Coleslaw

The colors on that page are gorgeous. I'm really looking forward to reading this.

Edited by UltimateSMfan

I can't wait for this! i've been tearing my hair out anticipating this, just one more week! Eeeep!! Geoff Johns the king of character revitalization imo. This is the most excited i've been for Superman since Grant Morrison and this is in the main title!

@z3ro180: People probably just knew something amazing was coming and more obviously it's Superman..

Edited by CaptainMarvel4Ever

For a long article this was very vague, but I can translate it:

"I didn't like Scott Lobdell's new Superman, it wasn't very good, read this, it's not perfect but it's still good."

(No offense Mr. Guerrero) (or to you Scott Lobdell, I liked some of your ideas)

I'm defiantly interested in picking this up, I feel like Geoff Johns has something special in mind for this. I don't know what it is, but the way he described "Focusing on the man of tomorrow" sounds like it will develop into a really interesting concept. Plus John Romita Jr's artwork really gives this a more comic book feel which is good when your... well... reading a comic book. I'm not going to lie and say I liked his initial drawing of Supes, it was awful, but I've been researching his work, and I'm confident in an issue or two he'll get the hang of it, and it will likely fit in with John's vision. Also, my town finally has a comic shop, so I think I'll actually be able to drive out and get this in print which will be really nice.

Edited by SanoHibiki

Well, at least art looks a little better than I feared. Also, it feels like this issue got 4 stars because of nostalgia and not because of its own merits (well, at least such is my impression after reading this article).

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

How is it that JRJR went from amazing art in Man WIthout Fear to horrible art like this?

Edited by Superguy1591

Geoff is here to retcon all things Lobdell... and I likes it.

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Posted by Squalleon

For a moment I thought it was coming out this wednesday and I was excited :-(

Posted by Superguy1591

@squalleon: Yeah, we gotta wait two more weeks. =/

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Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever

@jonny_anonymous: Well it is his first time drawing Supes, and it's not the traditional Superman he grew up with, so I think we just need to give him a little time.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@jonny_anonymous: Well it is his first time drawing Supes, and it's not the traditional Superman he grew up with, so I think we just need to give him a little time.

Yea but even before this like his work on Avengers and Captain America was bad

Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever

@jonny_anonymous: Well I'm still optimistic. Besides I've seen much worse then that from comics before.

Edited by Superguy1591

@jonny_anonymous: DC should've stolen some one else, but this art ain't so bad.

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Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

@captainmarvel4ever: You have to admit it's gotten worse though, I mean look at his art in DD

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by Lvenger

Although Romita Jr's art is much better than I expected, it's still a far cry from his Spider-Man, Daredevil and Thor days of artwork. Nonetheless, the most important thing about a comic book is the story and like Tony, I haven't warmed up entirely to the New 52 Superman yet. Even when written well, he seems a little edgy, off and not entirely acting like Superman should do. Warm, friendly, compassionate and other traits are missing from this version of Superman for the most part. But Johns has written some very good Superman stories in the past and has revitalised characters like Aquaman already so maybe he can do the same for Superman.

BTW Tony, does this read more like a classic Superman comic? Does the tone and style seem more like a Superman comic should do? Because if it does, I'll definitely get this series straight away to see the kind of Superman I've been missing from The New 52 thus far.

Posted by yfnjman

reads like a solid review. Romita's art is gonna take some getting used to.

Posted by HolySerpent

How is it that JRJR went from amazing art in Man WIthout Fear to horrible art like this?

I know i hate this art so much

Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever

@jonny_anonymous: I honestly don't think that looks bad. It really depends on how you look at it.

Posted by Brione

I'm excited to read this cause it'll probably be a really good story, but JRJr's art is kind of bad. Why does he draw the same big, flat bridge nose on every character? Superman's face looks nothing like any other artist has ever drawn it.

Edited by HolySerpent

I want be picking this up. the art is terrible

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

@g_man You said this was an advanced review, I thought it was going to be interactive or something. We'll see about the issue, though. I might pick it up. Maybe not. I'll wait for the preview.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by Squalleon

@g_man You said this was an advanced review, I thought it was going to be interactive or something. We'll see about the issue, though. I might pick it up. Maybe not. I'll wait for the preview.

A preview is already out.

Edited by MrTummyTumms

Art looks great to me.

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Posted by _Linea_11

How is it that JRJR went from amazing art in Man WIthout Fear to horrible art like this?

This

Posted by Ultron345

Extremely sad news that Romita is doing art on DC books. Johns writing superman would have been a MUST-BUY if not for him.

Posted by CorruptedOwl

for all of the people whining of The New 52, chances are you picked up Scott Lobdell book. Geoff Johns is amazing.

Edited by Lvenger

for all of the people whining of The New 52, chances are you picked up Scott Lobdell book. Geoff Johns is amazing.

I didn't. Didn't buy one issue of Lobdell's work.

Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever

@jonny_anonymous: Like I said, I don't think it looks amazing either, but I also think that given some time his art will work in this series. If you go back and read old issues of JLD the art didn't click then, but now it looks fantastic.

Posted by The Stegman

I guess I'll check it out...

Posted by bloggerboy

What baffles me sometimes is we have a perfect Superman story like All-Star Superman and people just seem to shrug it off like, "yeah, it was perfect but why should we expect it to be the canon way to write Superman?"

Not to knock off other contributions to the character but Morrison's All-Star take seems to be the superior one (even compared to Morrison's recent Action Comics run).

Posted by AllStarSuperman

I think this looks cool.

Posted by BrotherEye

Lobdell's stuff just became convoluted that really dragged it down and some plotlines were just pointless as there was no resolution. Helspont was teased as this big bad villain but all he did was go 'hahahaha' and smack Superman before disappearing. I like Helspont and enjoyed his first appearance but the one in the Annual was just a waste of time. Having said that, there are some nice stuff he did like Cat Grant who was actually quite nice and hope Geoff doesn't wipe that away. Lobdell actually made me care about Cat Grant as Clark's friend.

Posted by Veshark

@lvenger said:

Although Romita Jr's art is much better than I expected, it's still a far cry from his Spider-Man, Daredevil and Thor days of artwork. Nonetheless, the most important thing about a comic book is the story and like Tony, I haven't warmed up entirely to the New 52 Superman yet. Even when written well, he seems a little edgy, off and not entirely acting like Superman should do. Warm, friendly, compassionate and other traits are missing from this version of Superman for the most part. But Johns has written some very good Superman stories in the past and has revitalised characters like Aquaman already so maybe he can do the same for Superman.

Truer words were never spoken.

Posted by micah

I may check it out.

Posted by CaptainHoopla

I'm interested. Not a big Romita fan but I can tolerate it if the story is good and has an old school Superman feel.

My biggest concern, it is still a New 52 DC book. How many issues will we get before there is a crossover with four other series I'm not reading or care to. In other words, I'll try it out, but as soon as I see a solicit or an announcement of a crossover, I'll immediately drop it, no matter how much I enjoy it.

Posted by Lvenger

@veshark said:

@lvenger said:

Although Romita Jr's art is much better than I expected, it's still a far cry from his Spider-Man, Daredevil and Thor days of artwork. Nonetheless, the most important thing about a comic book is the story and like Tony, I haven't warmed up entirely to the New 52 Superman yet. Even when written well, he seems a little edgy, off and not entirely acting like Superman should do. Warm, friendly, compassionate and other traits are missing from this version of Superman for the most part. But Johns has written some very good Superman stories in the past and has revitalised characters like Aquaman already so maybe he can do the same for Superman.

Truer words were never spoken.

Thanks, it's annoying words like that aren't appreciated more. There are people who actually prefer Superman's New 52 incarnation to the one that came before. And that baffles me. Still, if Johns actually writes well for a change and remembers how he used to write Superman, this might make up for the last few years of Superman in the New 52.

Edited by Jasoninthewoods

Why not just relaunch this book?

Posted by MuyJingo

@lvenger said:

Even when written well, he seems a little edgy, off and not entirely acting like Superman should do. Warm, friendly, compassionate and other traits are missing from this version of Superman for the most part.

I'm pretty sure that version of Superman is dead. I wish it were not so, but look how many people defended the MoS movie. And this version of Superman is selling more in comics. Yup....classic Superman only lives on in the Adventures of Superman comics.

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Posted by SynCig

@jonny_anonymous: I constantly ask myself the same question about Romita Jr. Man Without Fear was great. At least this looks better than some of his work on Avengers with Bendis.

Posted by saoakden

I'm actually looking forward to see what these two do to Superman. I like Johns work on Action Comics, Justice League & I like JRJR's artwork like on WWH & New Ways to Die. Plus the pages I have seen look good to me. SO CAN I PLEASE READ THIS ISSUE??

Posted by sentryman555

I'll pick this up as I used to like Superman and want to like him again but that artwork.....I do admit Romita's art does make good action scenes like with Sentry vs Hulk. But besides that I've never been able to stand his artwork.

Posted by Bsaa

@bloggerboy: because it's boring and outdated? I hope silver age superman is dead forever.

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Posted by Mrfuzzynutz

It will be interesting to see how this goes, I love Romita's work just not sure if I would tap him to do a Superman book however. And maybe we will get a better understanding of what the new 52 Superman is all about with Johns. Thus far, he seems to written more to be about the Last Son of Krypton then Man of Steel I grew up with.

looking forward to this

Posted by E1000

If JRJR wants to be exclusive for DC, I'm all for it ! Go Superman ! And trade us back a good artist for Cap at least.

Edited by Kal'smahboi

I'll wait to read this until the book comes out. I've noticed that reviews tend to skew my expectations a bit. I'm pretty pumped for the new direction, though.

Posted by timelord

Hyped for this book finally all he Superbooks are in a good place. I just hope Geoff Johns dosen't do a cross over with the other Superbooks every 6 months like he did when he was on Green Lanterns and Justice Leauge.

Posted by bloggerboy
@bsaa said:

@bloggerboy: because it's boring and outdated? I hope silver age superman is dead forever.

When was All-Star ever boring though? Morrison hit it out of the park with every issue in my opinion. I mean the Fortress of Solitude had the wreck of the Titanic in it! How can stuff like that be ever boring?

Posted by Paste_Pot_Pete

I love Romita Jr.'s art in some titles, but this one just rubs me the wrong way. And by that I mean it sucks.

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