The Man of Steel is many things to many people, but at his best, he’s a symbol of hope and love. Someone to look up to and something to aspire to. He’s the best of us, with the abilities to implement the changes the world needs. And all of that is why Superman: Red & Blue #1 works- this book gets it.
This is five stories of what Superman can be. It’s a fantastic issue, created by John Ridley, Clayton Henry, Jordie Bellaire, Dave Sharpe, Brandon Easton, Steve Lieber, Ron Chan, Clayton Cowles, Wes Craig, Deron Bennett, Dan Watters, Dani, Marguerite Bennett, Jill Thompson, and Troy Peteri.
Just like Batman: Urban Legends earlier this month, this issue gets it. Where the one tells stories that “matter” this issue tells stories that get it. Each of the creators understand what makes Superman so crucial to the world. This isn’t just a comic about the first superhero. It’s a story of why Superman matters.
While it is fantastic, it isn’t perfect. Ridley’s story is weirdly dependent on a Bob Haney story from 1970- one that DC has made available digitally at that. It’s a strange choice, especially because the basics of the plot don’t really NEED that World’s Finest story arc. And in the second story, Ron Chan’s colors, while good, are kind of just there. They don’t do anything to evoke certain moods or emotions, they just exist over Lieber’s art.
However, in general the issue is put together in an astonishing package. Each of the pencillers seem to know that this is Superman, not just another superhero story. They each make a point to do it their way while also capturing what makes Superman so inspiring in what they draw. The color artists all put in career best work as well, with stunning work that creates an emotional heart for each short.
And I have to call out the best two stories of the issue: the concluding duo. In Watters and Dani’s story, color is stolen from the world and Superman is given a choice to restore it. It’s poetic and beautiful. Watters’ words paint a picture as Dani’s wonderful pages do. This story makes me hope for more Superman from either or both of them soon.
And in the last story, by Bennett and Thompson, we see an adventure of Superman when he was a boy. This is Clark as a kindergartener, an age we almost never see him. It’s a story that drives home that the Kents are just as much what made Clark the hero he is as his Kryptonian DNA. It’s a sweet and funny story that will strike any parents in particular.
This is an issue that any fan of superheroes needs to read. I can’t wait to see what’s next, because this issue just nailed the character and the concept wonderfully. We need more Superman like this in the world. I hope the next months deliver it as well.
Superman: Red & Blue #1 is available now from DC Comics.
A fantastic addition to DC’s color-based tributes to its biggest characters. The five stories understand the Man of Steel in a way that’s wholly unique, and a beautiful tribute to DC’s greatest hero.