Review: "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1 (2016) by Neal Adams

Review and Recap

Neal Adams has created a new vision of Superman by going to the past and the artwork is perfect as usual. Today, the first issue of the six-issue limited series "Coming of the Supermen" by Neal Adams was released. You can read my recap or skip to the "Overall" section to find out if the Superman comic book is worth buying.

Warning: Spoilers for Superman: Coming of the Supermen #1 by Neal Adams

For Darkseid

Comic panel from "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1
DC Comics

The comic opens with a bang as TV news anchor Lois Lane reports of "strange visitors from another planet" coming to Earth.

An alien ship is crashing in Iowa. The three behind the controls have Superman symbols on their chest and look An old couple sees them stop and what looks like Superman with red hair standing on top of the ship. There's a funny moment as the wife says they should take a pic but the husband complains that she made them take the "senior plan" without picture phones. The couple's expressions of horror are right out of a horror comic and it fits.   

While that's going on in Iowa, Darkseid's elite military Parademons are attacking LexCorp tower "for Darkseid" in Metropolis. LexCorp's private army heads out to fight the meta-human threat and they look ready to take them out. Even though they're working for a bad guy, you can't help rooting for anyone fighting Darkseid's army.

Just then, Kalabak bursts from Boom Tube declaring he's "heir" to Darkseid and he looks wicked. The three mysterious Supermen attack saying they're "honoring the uniform". One's Black, the other a brunette and the third has red hair. We'll find out more about who they are later on. 

Of course the question: Where is Superman?

Somewhere in the Middle East

Comic panel of "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1
DC Comics

Turns out Superman is in the Middle East saving people from mortar shells. Notice he's not stopping the war but is helping to save innocent lives. This Superman stays neutral. 

A little boy runs to save a dog and almost gets killed, but Superman protects them with his cape. He speaks Arabic (of course) and, to his delight, the boy named Rafi speaks English.

When Superman asks where the boy's family is he says his house and family have been blown up in the war. Just when they're getting ready to say goodbye a big green gargoyle-looking guy tells him the child must go and can "say nothing more". Superman does a diving tackle at the guy and he literally gets frozen in the air so he'll "listen to reason". 

The Jinn

Comic panel of "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1 (2016)
DC Comics

The gargoyle guy tells Rafi he's going with Superman and Rafi asks if he can take his dog, Isa. Gargoyle guy says it's up to Superman and unceremoniously drops him to the ground. 

Superman says he can't just "take" the boy from his homeland since it'll violate laws. While Superman is often shown as "god-like" this is a nice reminder that he's subject to the laws of the land just like everyone else. The creature, which Rafi calls a "Jinn" says he's Superman. He can do anything he wants. 

Since Rafi has no family "here" (wink, wink) and there's no one else that can take care of him, Superman agrees to take the boy to Metropolis. There are a lot of mysteries so far, but not a lot of answers. Unless you read some of Adam's interviews. Then you know a little more.

Where Is Superman?

Comic Panel of "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1 (2016) by Neal Adams
DC Comics

Back in Metropolis, Kalibak and his Parademons are still "acting the fool". Lois says the three Superman are "tentative" and holding back like Superman did in his early days. They even have to have a conference to use their heat vision which they enthusiastically say is incredible. There's a nice "Kirby Krackle" effect around the heat vision which I'll assume comes from Neal Adams' working with Jack Kirby.

Lex Luthor is being interviewed for TV by Lois and is wearing a strange Colonel Sanders string tie. Besides the odd fashion sense, he's the fat, bald Superman we know and love to hate. He says he's ready to deploy "countermeasures" to protect his 400 employees and screams into the camera "Where is Superman?!"

Clark is watching it all on TV. Some are asking questions about the little Arabic boy, but he says he'll tell them later. That's probably a typical answer from him since if one of our friends pulled a little Israeli boy out of nowhere, we'd have a ton of questions. 

Superman decides it's time to join the fight and, saying goodbye to Rafi (who knows his true identity) heads off.

Past Is Merely a Prologue

Comic panel of "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1 (2016)
DC Comics

Just when it looks like Superman's entering the fight Kalibak and the Parademons head to the Boom Tube without explanation. Superman ducks away and the three Supermen say they have to look for Kal-El. Considering how much damage they can do on their own it's strange. That's why the Jinn asks Superman why he didn't talk to them. Superman went to find out what's going on, but he gets another "I can say no more" which is getting tiring. 

Jinn has other plans and takes them to ancient Egypt saying "the past is merely a prologue."

In Egypt, they're building a huge pyramid for a mysterious leader. When Superman finally sees who it is he's in for a shock. We won't spoil it but it's an amazing reveal.

Overall: Buy "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1 by Neal Adams

Adams is a comic book veteran and his skills need no explanation. We will say that we especially enjoyed the facial expressions Adams uses. Every face is expansive and expressive. Some artists use their own face for expressions and that makes all the faces look alike. Adams may do the same thing but his knowledge of anatomy gives each face a different look. The lips curl differently and the eyebrows take on a different tone. The inking is subtle and Adams' use of crosshatch is inspiring. 

While Adams does all the penciling and inking it's worth mentioning the work of his colorist. Alex Sinclair has worked Jim Lee and Scott Williams on Superman before and he's considered one of the best in the business. While Adams pencils arms inks are sublime, a bad colorist could easily ruin it. But Sinclair subtly gives the panels depth and using a wide bright color palette compliments Adams artwork.

The "Truth" storyline has been trying to rebuild Superman by taking away his powers, so it's refreshing to see a version of Superman that keeps him powerful, but still complex. 

Neal Adams has remade Superman by bringing him back to his roots, he's incredibly strong but not god-like. He's warm and caring but doesn't try and take over the world to remake it in his image. He accepts the world as it is. Superman is handsome and strong without appearing corny or outdated. The story is compelling and familiar at the same time.

About "Superman: Coming of the Supermen" #1 by Neal Adams

  • Written by: Neal Adams
  • Artwork by Neal Adams 
  • Color by Alex Sinclair
  • On Sale Date: February 24, 2016
  • U.S. Price: $3.99
  • Synopsis: From legendary writer/artist Neal Adams comes a threat so epic it will take more than one Man of Steel to handle it in this new 6-issue miniseries! As Darkseid and the hordes of Apokolips lay waste to the world, even Superman is overwhelmed-but not for long, as three heroes from the miniaturized city of Kandor emerge at full size, armed with all the vast powers of Kal-El, ready to become the new Supermen! This battle of titans also features the machinations of Lex Luthor, plus fan favorites Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane aiding in the fight for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

Rating: 4 1/2 of 5 Stars 

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of questions in this comic and it only makes it more exciting.