Review: Scott Snyder And Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained #1

Review of: Superman Unchained #1
Product by:
Scott Snyder

Superman Unchained #1

Reviewed by:
On June 12, 2013
Last modified:June 12, 2013


Snyder and Lee lived up to the hype and then some. Superman Unchained is a great start to what looks like a big and bold story.

When thirteen satellites fall from the sky in one day, the logical suspect is Lex Luthor—even though he’s still locked up in prison! But a stranger question remains: If Superman didn’t stop the last satellite from falling, who did? There’s a mystery hidden where even Superman can’t see it—Can The Man of Steel drag a decades-old secret into the light? Don’t miss the debut of this red-hot new series from two of comics’ brightest superstars: SCOTT SNYDER and JIM LEE!

Superman Unchained finally hits today. Scott Snyder and Jim Lee kick off their expansive Superman story to help celebrate the Big Blue Boy Scout’s 75th Anniversary. The debut issue, called The Leap, is written by Snyder with pencils from Lee. Scott Williams provides inks, Alex Sinclair handles colors, and Sal Cipriano tackles letters. I’m not even going to include my usual pun asking whether or not this issue is ‘Super’ or not. It’s a great issue. Read on to see me gush about it.

Satellites and space stations start falling from the sky. Superman is on his way to stop the largest and most dangerous one and save the astronauts inside. The only one he didn’t stop was going to crash in to an old abandoned military base. Nobody was in harm’s way, so Superman so no reason to stop it when the other one could go nuclear. Of course Superman succeeds, this is the first issue after all. When all the heroics are done, Clark Kent goes back to writing the story for the site he started after leaving the Daily Planet. Not long after the story hits, Lois calls to tell Clark he’s slipping. His piece was more of a character piece on the astronauts, he said that Superman stopped all the satellites but one. Lois has the story saying Superman stopped them all. This sends Clark/Superman off to investigate the other satellite. The US military is standing in his way though. They are holding on to the secret of a mystery weapon they’ve had for 75 years. What is it? How did Superman’s heroics lead to this giant mystery?

Snyder absolutely nails the characters. There’s a brief chat between Superman and Lex Luthor. It’s brief but it’s fantastic. Snyder gives us the most frightening Lex Luthor of all, one who isn’t doing anything. Lex is off to a super max prison. He tells Superman he isn’t up to anything, in fact he’s planning on building a huge tower that will produce clean energy. Lex is never more threating, to me at least, than when he’s saying he’s working on something to help people. Lois is smart, witty, and multitasking the whole time she talks to Clark. Jimmy Olson is slightly refreshed and made to feel like his old self, yet cooler. We also get as close to the square-jawed Boy Scout Superman we’ve had in the New 52. He’s a do-gooder, but the New 52 has scaled back on that aspect of Superman. Snyder injects just a little of that back and adds a little more awe to the Man of Steel. Lee’s art is top notch. Lee, Williams, and Sinclair make everything look great and feel very bright and lively. This is about as close to old school Superman as you’ll get in the New 52.

Bottom Line: Snyder and Lee lived up to the hype and then some. Superman Unchained is a great start to what looks like a big and bold story. The only drawback is the $4.99 price tag, but it’s really worth it to see the innovative poster Lee has drawn. Unchained #2 has a lot to live up to 5/5

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