In the second week of DC's 'The New 52," Action Comics #1 arrives and gives us a very different looking Superman. Set in a his early days, we don't start from the very beginning of Superman's career but in a time before his first run-in with Batman and Green Lantern in last week's Justice League #1.
Grant Morrison and Rags Morales have taken over the reigns on guiding us along Superman's journey to becoming one of the world's biggest superheroes. The stage is being set and this clearly isn't the Superman we've gotten used to over the last couple decades.
If you've never read a Superman comic or if you've been reading for years, this is a perfect jumping on point. There will be some minor spoilers below. It's strongly suggested you read the issue to get the full feel of the new experience (I gave the issue a five out of five). Here are the biggest changes Action Comics #1 has given Superman.== TEASER ==
This isn't the Superman costume we've seen many times. It makes sense that Superman in his early days might have a make-shift costume. He simply is concerned with fighting evil and corruption. He doesn't need a skin tight costume. It always felt odd how easily he got his costume. We know he's going to somehow end up with his Kryptonian armor suit but for now, this makes sense. It adds a tiny bit of realism rather than witnessing him in full costume from the beginning.
Superman's a bit of a jerk
There's been ongoing commentary that Superman's been a jerk over the years. That was pretty much how he was during the Silver Age. Countless covers have been commented on showing absurd scenes where Superman appeared to have little concern over others.
In the "New 52," Superman is fighting for good. He is determined to put a stop to crime. His methods aren't the ones we've seen lately. Superman has done things by the book. He's a boy scout. He follows the letter of the law.
This Superman does things his own way. He'll barge in and intimidate the bad guys. He'll use his strength and bully those that normally bully others. The biggest change is he doesn't work with the police department. He is a vigilante. He is on the run from them because he chooses to think of himself as above the law. Ironically, Superman was a bit of a super-powered jerk in his very first appearance as well.
Superman can't fly
Similar to being a jerk, Superman is back to not being able to fly. Originally Superman could only leap tall buildings in a single bound. Eventually he gained the ability to fly. With that, he was soon flying out into space and doing all sorts of other things he originally couldn't. This is where Superman's character started to decline. Being too powerful made him boring. He had the ability to take on anyone. Writers had to come with new ways month after month. He was depowered slightly but the ability to fly at super-speed still gave him an edge that should make him more than the villains can handle.
There's also the question of how can he fly. How is he able to defy the laws of gravity. Being able to only leap makes more sense. He'll most likely regain the ability to fly. For now, leaping is all he needs.
Superman can be injured
If Superman can't be hurt by anything other than Kryptonite, again, the stories can get repetitive. Writers had to resort to creating different varieties of Kryptonite just to add more obstacles in his path. After defeating Lex Luthor and Brainiac time and time again, it took the creation of Doomsday to finally give Superman a real challenge. Even the state of dying was something Superman could easily overcome. We want tough heroes but we need ones that are actually risking their lives when fighting evil. Otherwise it's a given that they will always win and the suspense is thrown out the window.
Lois and Clark aren't working together
Shouldn't Lois and Clark always be working together? Isn't that how their relationship develops? They have the competition between each other to try to get the big scoop. Clark also has to sit back and watch Lois swoon over Superman. How well do they even know each other? Clark is clearly friends with Jimmy but Lois seems bitter towards him, most likely because they are not working together. How will Lois eventually fall for Clark if they aren't both working at the Daily Planet?
We have seen a preview for Superman #1, presumably set in the present. Lois and Clark are working together only...Lois now has a new boyfriend. We'll have to keep reading to see how long these differences stick and if Superman will eventually become closer to the version we've had the last few decades.