Beginning... A Return to Greatness!
First, there's that cover - can Neal Adams do a great cover or what?
Then the first words of the splash page:
Beginning... A Return to Greatness! Superman
An old majesty... in a stunningly new tale of thrills, tragedy -- and heroism!
And that pretty much sums it up. With the dawning of the 70s a lot of decades old garbage is cleared away. Starting with kryptonite - which had become so common that every petty crook used it to stop the Man of Steel (as we see in this issue). But, not anymore - a radiation accident renders the entire Earth's supply of kryptonite inert.
But, things aren't all rosy - Superman's heat vision seems to be gone (another improvement!), or severely limited. And Clark is finding his new job as a TV reporter somewhat less conducive to heroics than the anonymity of a newspaper job.
The opening sentences of the splash page seem to be true - this is more like the Golden Age Superman. Look, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the 70s/80s should be called the 2nd Golden Age. The comics were just miles better than they had been in the 50s & 60s. Curt Swan's art, for example, has never looked better. Rather than settle for rendering Supes the way he had for decades, he does some interesting stuff here, like showing only the front end of a speeding Superman and leaving a blurred trail behind him, or showing the transformation from Clark to Superman in one continuous panel! And, Curt, in combination with inker Murphy Anderson add a 3-dimensionality to the art in the compositions here.
Whether this was Denny O'Neil's idea to scale some things back, or an editorial edict, I don't know. And i don't really care, as long as this kind of quality continues.