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Superman #32 - The Men of Tomorrow, Chapter One: Ulysses Review

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

This review was original posted on June 16, 2014.

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.

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 ofJUSTICE 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.

55 Comments
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Edited by Squalleon

Great first issue.
JRJR's art is really good and Johns got his groove back.

It instantly entered my pull list and with the other titles suffering from Doomed, Superman will give me my monthly fix.

Action Comics and Superman are great. Now fix Supergirl and the Superman line will be stronger than ever.

Posted by joeshock

Not a fan of Romita Jr.

Posted by Maddpanda531

JRJR has always been hit or miss for me. From what I've seen so far in Superman, it looks like this is going to be a hit.

Posted by Squalleon

@joeshock said:

Not a fan of Romita Jr.

His art really shines on this title. He seems to be in good form.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Yeah this issue was pretty good, I like Ulysses and I hope he doesn't end up evil and or dead.

Posted by saoakden

I can't wait to read this!

Posted by ILLO_29

I'm not a huge superman fan, however I do enjoy the character if he's written well.

This Ulysses guy interests me, I may pick this up this evening.

Posted by Saint_Wildcard

Im sad I won'd be able to pick it up for an other 2 weeks :(

Posted by UltimateSMfan

This issue!!! Geoff Johns!!! Superman!!! Even JRjr!!! I'm so excited after such a long time, not even gonna bother being articulate.

Posted by SupermanofSte-El

@g_man "He's not the perfect superhero that won't do any wrong." New 52 removes what I as a long time fan of Superman love. He's not meant to be relatable, he's meant to be inspiring. The Man of Tomorrow.

Edited by Squalleon

@supermanofste-el said:

@g_man "He's not the perfect superhero that won't do any wrong." New 52 removes what I as a long time fan of Superman love. He's not meant to be relatable, he's meant to be inspiring. The Man of Tomorrow.

Meh, its a notion that while good in words (like you I prefer Superman as someone I aspire not someone I should relate to) none of the New Superman writers follow it. Even Pak who has Superman struggle with consequences, his Superman always manages to pull through.

Also if this issue didn't write NEW 52 on its cover it could as well be a Pre-52 book. Johns Superman doesn't feel edgy at all. And the whole story seems more timeless than a book made for a certain era.

Posted by Nahuel

I don't like Superman. Not pre new52,nor now. I didn't even liked Snyder's Superman Unchained (he is one of my favorite writers), but I'll give this new team a shot. I've seen some pages and read some previews, so I'm in for now.

Posted by Unkillable_Deadpool1

Oh no, I really wanted this comic to recieve a 5 star ... I loved it and i get how some people don't like JRJR but he's my favourite artist so :D .. And about the bad : i just took the comic as an #1 so i didn't care about the whole series before it and i even have about the first seventeen issues.That's how much i wanted this comic to be perfect ..

Posted by The Stegman

I'll read it, don't have any super titles on my pull, need to change that.

Posted by Paul2814

Damn that art... Is so bad.

Posted by DrellAssassin

@unkillable_deadpool1: You're acting like it received 2 stars, 4 is still really good and if you read it yourself and loved it, who cares?

Posted by Bezza

good book, but isn't ulysses a bit of a "wraith" copy, as in Superman unchained Wraith?

Posted by dondave

@bezza Wraith has a ideological difference from Superman in that he's a weapon. Ulysses is the more direct copy of Superman.

Online
Edited by SmashBrawler

This was the one of the few times in years I can say I actually read a Superman comic book.

Posted by patrat18

Really good issue.

Edited by micah

I hope he can pull of New 52 Superman, I never liked Pre-52 Superman that much.

Posted by ParanoidAndroidz180

This was a great read. Especially for someone who hasn't read a Superman book in a year, such as myself. A'lot of people are a bit skeptical of JRJR's art, but don't be because so far it's awesome (IMO). Get it, it's great.

Posted by ParanoidAndroidz180

@paul2814: I thought so too before buying it. However, more of the art inside is actually pretty cool :)

Posted by DCWarFan73

I am going to pick this up based on both the writer (who is awesome) and the artist (who I feel is great too). JRJR takes too much flak and I am glad he's getting another icon to draw (I liked his art in Cap vol.7 1-10).

Posted by AllStarSuperman

I loved it. Definitely getting back in the pull.

Posted by Fastestmanalive

Pretty solid issue surprisingly.

My biggest fear was JRJR's art. Its usually really terrible and a parody of his earlier decent works. But surprisingly it wasn't too bad. still not my style but definitely not too bad.

As far as the story goes it was pretty enjoyable. The new character is ok. We've seen a character that is a parallel of Superman done quite a few times already so that's nothing new, but still it was done well.

What really did it for me was the great character moments. For Perry White, Jimmy and especially Clark. The conversation with Perry was great and the scene with Clark in his apartment was fantastic. Really delves into Clark's inner self.

So far off too a very decent start so good news so far but its still the very beginning so I'll still have to see.

3.5/5 for me.

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

Curious to see @lvenger's thoughts on this.

I was allowed to check this out in my LCS and I must admit…I loved this issue. As some know, I've banished DC from my pull list because I am a New 52 hater but being that I love most of Johns' work and was very skeptical of JRjr, they really brought their A game. JRJR's art was fantastic and I can tell Johns' is going to write a great story.

Also interesting to note that Ulysses' origin is one of the original pitches of Superman's origins. He was the sole survivor of an apocalyptic earth sent back in time.

Edited by Squalleon

@arturocalakayvee said:

Also interesting to note that Ulysses' origin is one of the original pitches of Superman's origins. He was the sole survivor of an apocalyptic earth sent back in time.

It isn't exactly close there...

That is closer if not identical to Red Son's origin.

Posted by longbowhunter

I thought this was really good. Glad to see Perry White get a chance in the spotlight for once. So far Ulysses seems like an interesting character. I think we're off to a good start here.

Online
Posted by Lvenger

@arturocalakayvee: I haven't read it yet unfortunately but I'm looking forward to doing so. I also hear many good things about this title and am looking forward to one of the few writers who can redeem Superman in The New 52 like Morrison and Snyder have done so. In the right hands, Johns can work magic and hopefully he'll do so here.

Posted by ips

awful art. not a fan of romita jr and his style is totally not appropriate for this character's book.

Posted by Jphu8414

I really liked it, JRJR brought his A game to this title and it really works well on a character like Superman (I'm usually not even a big fan of his art)

Good starts for Johns, real interesting stuff. Also glad Clark is back at the Daily Planet

Edited by Squalleon

@jphu8414 said:

I really liked it, JRJR brought his A game to this title and it really works well on a character like Superman (I'm usually not even a big fan of his art)

Good starts for Johns, real interesting stuff. Also glad Clark is back at the Daily Planet

Well, he isn't :-P

Posted by Jphu8414

@squalleon: Yeah you're right...I just want him to be

Posted by J_HickmanIsGod

I'll read it, don't have any super titles on my pull, need to change that.

same here. ever since i got into comics (late 2011) i have yet to pull or even read a superman title.

might add this to the pull for as long as GJ n JRJR are on it.

Edited by Superguy1591

@nahuel: Try Action Comics #25-29 by Greg Pak, Snyder's Unchained isn't for everyone, myself included. It's boring as sin.

Posted by TheFirstLantern

I enjoyed it but Ulysses' origin seemed a bit too close to supermans.

Edited by Winter_Kills

I haven't read Superman or even cared about Superman in a long time myself, so I identify with the beginning of this view. I am hopeful his character can be redeemed & I know there are still good stories that can be told with him. I haven't picked this up yet, so I can't give an opinion on the issue itself, but the cover and interior art is fantastic. As a matter of fact, it's SUPER. (Sorry, had to do it.) Glad to see JRJR still producing great art, even if it is for the Distinguished Competition- probably the best Superman art or cover I've seen in a while. Hope Johns & JRJR get the Man of Steel back on track to the iconic American hero he's supposed to be.

Posted by ArchiZoom

So why isn't Superman doomed?

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

@arturocalakayvee said:

Also interesting to note that Ulysses' origin is one of the original pitches of Superman's origins. He was the sole survivor of an apocalyptic earth sent back in time.

It isn't exactly close there...

That is closer if not identical to Red Son's origin.

You do know that Superman's original pitch had different origin scenarios, right? One of them included him being from the far future of Earth when the world was ending and was sent back in time to survive. That is Ulysses exact origin right now. Hence it being … exactly close :P

@lvenger said:

@arturocalakayvee: I haven't read it yet unfortunately but I'm looking forward to doing so. I also hear many good things about this title and am looking forward to one of the few writers who can redeem Superman in The New 52 like Morrison and Snyder have done so. In the right hands, Johns can work magic and hopefully he'll do so here.

Well, let me say this…I was able to read this issue while in my LCS and after reading it, I nearly reconsidered my DC embargo. I felt it was an issue worth buying.

Posted by MegaHGFan

I read this earlier today and am really looking forward to next month's issue. I loved the origin of Ulysses at the beginning of this issue.

Posted by SupermanofSte-El

@supermanofste-el said:

@g_man "He's not the perfect superhero that won't do any wrong." New 52 removes what I as a long time fan of Superman love. He's not meant to be relatable, he's meant to be inspiring. The Man of Tomorrow.

Meh, its a notion that while good in words (like you I prefer Superman as someone I aspire not someone I should relate to) none of the New Superman writers follow it. Even Pak who has Superman struggle with consequences, his Superman always manages to pull through.

Also if this issue didn't write NEW 52 on its cover it could as well be a Pre-52 book. Johns Superman doesn't feel edgy at all. And the whole story seems more timeless than a book made for a certain era.

Finished reading the issue and I agree, it didn't feel like a new 52 issue. I like that. However the art not so much.

Posted by SmashBrawler

@archizoom said:

So why isn't Superman doomed?

Because this book is immune to that cancer.

Edited by Alpha

Is it me or does Ulysses remind you of Sentry?

Posted by Lvenger

@arturocalakayvee: Oh damn that means it must be good if it nearly made you go back on your DC hiatus! From the sounds of it, Johns must have recaptured the Pre New 52 classic feeling of the character for that to happen. My only regret is that I have to wait for my copy to arrive now -_-

Posted by Squalleon

@squalleon said:

@arturocalakayvee said:

Also interesting to note that Ulysses' origin is one of the original pitches of Superman's origins. He was the sole survivor of an apocalyptic earth sent back in time.

It isn't exactly close there...

That is closer if not identical to Red Son's origin.

You do know that Superman's original pitch had different origin scenarios, right? One of them included him being from the far future of Earth when the world was ending and was sent back in time to survive. That is Ulysses exact origin right now. Hence it being … exactly close :P

But it isn't, Ulysses isn't from far future earth and wasn't sent to the past, the earth wasn't dying either. He was from present earth, sent to another dimension were he gained his powers and returned as a grown man to find that earth is alive.
The only thing they have common is that they are humans thats all. Re read the issue.

Posted by Lvenger

@alpha said:

Is it me or does Ulysses remind you of Sentry?

The comparison is quite close when you bring up that image. But since his downfall in artistic grace, Romita hasn't been as distinctive with facial expressions as he once was.

Edited by EvilPenguin543

Not a fan of JRJR's art

Posted by Alpha

@lvenger said:

@alpha said:

Is it me or does Ulysses remind you of Sentry?

The comparison is quite close when you bring up that image. But since his downfall in artistic grace, Romita hasn't been as distinctive with facial expressions as he once was.

Good point!

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