Superman: What Price Tomorrow? New 52 Volume 1 Review By Deffinition
Superman: What Price Tomorrow? Kicks off the Man Of Steel’s main New 52 run. After the mediocre Action Comics Volume 1, I’m slightly uninspired by the route that the rebooted universe seems to be taking with Superman. Mirroring this, the absolutely dismal title of this Volume doesn’t fill me with much hope.
However, they say don’t judge a book by its title (or something along those lines) and I’ve been known to be wrong in the past. This graphic novel has the potential to set the stage for the journey that Superman and most notably his foes, will take in the revitalised DC universe and that in itself as a premise interesting enough.
Whilst I know the eventual fate of the New 52 Boy Blue Scout, it will be interesting to see what path the doomed Superhero traverses on and if I agree with his eventual demise.
We will see What Price..tomorr…that has to be one of my worst attempts at a pun yet.
So with that out the way let’s dive into Superman Volume 1.
The book opens on the demolition of the old Daily Planet building. It has now been replaced with a brand new sparkling skyscraper that towers over the city of Metropolis. This fourth wall breaking moment cements what is to come for the Man Of Steel (in case you didn’t pick up on the heavy-handedness of it). Symbolically it stands for the past Superman aesthetic being torn down and replaced with this New 52 vision. Superman is often criticised for being boring and rather rigid so it’s nice to be shown metaphorically that we are in for something different. Like it or lump it, this is a firm stance for the creators to take and whilst I can imagine it putting off many hardcore readers, I tried to go with it.
Directly contradicting this, early on George Perez implements one of the oldest, outdated techniques in comics. The ‘Narration Box’. Describing the action as it happens it seems like a strange choice, especially for such a ‘modern retelling.’ I haven’t seen this method used since the 1980s and it seems strange that it is brought back when the introduction focuses so much on getting rid of the past. Honestly, it’s jarring and makes the first issue difficult to connect with. Whilst it is rightly removed by the second chapter, the opening is a mess and I didn’t have high hopes for the way the run would go initially because of it. Luckily as Perez finds his feet, the book does to.
As focus shifts to Clark, the book becomes infinitely more interesting. Hiding in plain sight behind his persona, it’s fascinating to see our hero unintentionally eavesdrop on people discussing him. The negative things that they say about him have crushing blows to his self-esteem. Hearing two scientists discuss how pathetic he is for mourning Krypton is sorrowful. Listening to Lois and her lover is heartbreaking and it makes the character relatable on every level. Hindered by his identity, it provides the Man Of Steel with a weakness that I’d never really considered before, his need to fit in, no matter the cost to his own life.
It’s brilliant and this dramatical improvement is mirrored in the action too. Early on Supes is attacked by an invisible foe that is only able to be viewed through cameras. Using news coverage throughout the city he is able to track the whereabouts of the creature and launch a counter attack in astounding fashion. I loved seeing the Blue Boy Scout use his X-Ray vision to view someone’s iPad as they watched the fight and this frantic Battle heightens the book exponentially from its poor opening. It really adds depth to Superman’s abilities and his quick-wittedness propels him forward as one of DC’s most intelligent characters.
“Superman Can’t Save Everyone”
Throughout the books midsection we are treat to the history of Superman in the New 52 universe. Presented as a documentary it tells of his entry in Metropolis and many of the deeds he has done over the years. Questioning whether he has done more bad than good it provides a retrospective look at the Man Of Steel, that while still exposition, is carried off in a way that doesn’t feel too forced.
Getting to grips with the bad press Superman is attacked in the city and we learn that the mysterious villains that have plagued him thus far, know his true identity.
“I can’t believe Superman did that”
Perfectly cloning Superman, the evil forces unleash his evil doppelgänger on the city. It’s gripping to see an alternative version of what could happen should the Man Of Steel ever decide to go rogue and the Military’s inability to match him forces a new hero to step forward: Supergirl.
After her death decades prior in ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’ I loved seeing the female Kryptonian return once more to the pages of DC and her entrance is a bold one.
Battling back and forth it’s great to see the family feud happen on such an epic scale. The finale is fascinatingly fun and provides motive to the villains that really allows you to become enamored with the fight. Tieing in with Action Comics Volume 1, we get an excellent arc that introduces the New 52 Man Of Steel to the world in an exciting way.
I never thought I’d say that George Perez has exceeded Grant Morrison, but Superman’s New 52 entrance, whilst not phenomenal, still packs a bigger punch than his sister series.
Suffering from a poor opening, the creative team quickly write their wrongs and provide a fun packed ride that I believe will win over fans on first read. Leaving me wanting more, ‘What Price Tomorrow’ succeeds in peaking my interest for the next story in the New 52.
A good job all round and that’s why it gets a…