Hi there... this is my 1st real post here. I enjoy writing reviews for comics. I tried posting on a free wordpress blog but after months and not a single view I thought I would post them in a active comic forum. I hope you like them, and I'd love any feedback you may like to give. I usually pepper a few more images in, but the site limits you to three inline images for some crazy reason. Also I didn't know where to link to, the site as far as I could tell dosn't have series links, and I didn't want to link to ComicVine.

I rarely think of doing a post like this on a series that is so new for it is very hard to see a comic objectively until it has had time to mature though the story. Comics that start great can end up terrible, and comic that start badly can end up legendary. So this being a relatively new series only at its 4th issue leaves me a little surprised to be typing at all, and the fact it is written by Max Landis, a writer I am not armoured with, adds to my shock.

So why am I making this post? Because I think that I am witnessing something special here. A comic that has the potential to be truly great. I felt a similar vibe when I read the first few issues of "Ultimate Fantastic Four. There is magic in these pages.

Magic, but not the profound story telling of a Alan Moore or the uniqueness of Matt Fraction. Max Landis tells a story that is still in the very real sense of the word, pulp. There is not much that is completely out of left field or stunning that sets it apart from other mainstream comics. The "magic" is that this comic seams to be able, like UF4 did, to recapture the essence of the characters which are victims of their own popularity. Landis is able to tell a story we all know so well in a way that feels completely new and fresh, allowing the providence of the source material to shine once more.

Super puberty sucks.

One of the great aspects of the books so far is the format. Each story is a snapshot of Clark's life. Book #1 is him as a boy. #2 a Young man, and so on with each book jumping in time as well as in its narrative position within Clark's life. We are never bogged down in long arcs, but instead we view Clark as if we are watching a highlight real of his life. This allows the comic to use events in Clark's life as touch stones to guide the reader through his influences and experiences with out the need to clumsily try and concoct an endless parade of interconnected events. I remember reading Superboy years ago and thinking.. "Man.. I would move out of Smallville pretty quickly. I mean it got attacked by giant alien robots like 4 times!"

Superman is very well known and this comic uses that to its advantage. It wastes no time in trying to explain what we already know, but instead is focused on defining events and motivations. The reader is able to use their own assumed knowledge of Superman, gained over years of absorption through a kind of pop culture osmoses as a base, allowing the comic to tap this understanding by simply touching on things. There is no need to spell things out, as we already know so much. A single panel of an expression or a throwaway line speak volumes to the reader using this understanding we have already accumulated over decades. Leaving a lean and subtle comic on the actual page.

In a interesting move each issue is drawn by a different artistic team. It is to early to tell, but I have a feeling that the style of art could be directly related to the emotional impact of Clark's memory, something to keep an eye on. Regardless the change in art allows the book to go into very tonally different stories between issues with out it ever feeling out of place. The cartoonish childhood art would never work for the issue #4 Lex / Batman story for example.

Don't be fooled though, this is set in a coherent universe. Issues are referencing each other already and I will expect the free form style to fall into a more regular "comic book" style as it continues onward. Once again I am reminded of UF4 and how the early stories were wildly fascinating to a F4 fan, and then it ended up as a legit "comic" in its own right. Not just another origin retelling. So far we have had no talk of other Superheros, but have met Quinn (who is not yet Green Arrow) Lex and Batman. Batman seams to have been around for a while, and there are hints that Gotham has more than just Falcone running around it. So even though I have been stressing this sectional approach, there is in fact a developed world that is being slowly explored.

This series is everything a relaunch should be. It has the key ideals but with out treading ground that feels rehashed or boring. You feel that this is less of a "reboot" or whatever, where the reader is walked though a "new history" and instead we the reader are on the same level as the writer. We are in on the back story already, we are in on the joke. This comic feels like a mate of yours at the pub telling you about some cool superman stories you haven't yet read. The narrative being separated into what are effectively serialised stand alone tales is integral to this feeling. I really think it is what makes this book not only stand out but stand out as something rather special.

It is hard to really give this a glowing recommendation, as it is so early.. I have no real idea where it will go. I may look back at this review and be a little embarrassed. All I know is that I am absolutely loving what I have read so far and I get this feeling that this could end up being something great. The fact that it is Max Landis just baffles me though.

* Recommended, with a Warning *