Before the release of Man of Steel and the 75 year , DC has put out the Superman Unchained issue with variants representing the decades of Superman; Bruce Timm produced the cover for the 30’s with Superman socking a robot. The Golden Age variant is by Dave Johnson with Superman striking an explosive shell to protect G.I.s. The Silver Age is represented by the finest comic book artist, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, that has Lois pointing to her watch as Superman hides flowers behind his back. Neal Adams created the Bronze Age variant which has Superman tearing through massive Kryptonite chains.
The Modern Age cover is by Jerry Ordway with Superman flying over the cast. Dan Jurgens has created the Superman Reborn variant with Superman crushing Doomsday with his boot as he carries the American flag. There is a painted cover, Superman vs. Lex Luthor, by Lee Bermejo. The variant for the New52 is by Brett Booth with Superman flying from the Daily Planet. Finally, the regular cover by Jim Lee has Superman ripping apart a hull. The covers sport a 75 years with Superman in silhouette logo. The cover is a hefty $5.99 with 32 pages and a double-sided poster that can be pulled out of the comic. Should you pay three times the cost of a regular comic? Dunno, depends if you just put your money down for a ticket to Man of Steel.
The issue is written by Scott Snyder who seems to have his hands full with Batman: Zero Year (which hit the stands at the same time) with the American Vampire special, The Long Raod to Hell for Vertigo (which has a $6.99 price tag), and also his original Vertigo title, The Wake, out last week. Jim Lee, of course, is co-publisher of DC Comics and worked on the launching of the New52 with Justice League #1 (2011). His last issue was last year’s #12. Lee has worked on Superman before, the Superman: For Tomorrow storyline, with Brian Azzarello. The comic which adds a setting in a later text box: Nagasaki, 1945. A young boy, Ichuru, showing a drawing of circles while talking about a weapon that came from the skies. There is a blur of blue and yellow and then we can see the Japanese streets with the empty sky.
Across two pages, Ichuru has his binoculars searing the skies. He sees a plane that drops a bomb. This breaks apart with a figure covered in blue energy. His eyes glow like heat vision and this ignites his body which causes the binocular lense to shatter with blood splotches. The scene shifts to current space. Superman’s narration speaks about a game he had played in Smallville, “The Colder Leap.” A red streak resolves to a close-up of Superman flying. This leads to the fold-out which continues the story. The poster is of a space station called the Lighthouse breaking up with Superman punching through it. The other side, has a giant spread of Superman which is a showcase for Lee’s penciling skills. Superman takes the astronauts in space suits and throws them outside of the station. The astronauts panic, but Superman uses his heat vision to activate the station’s heat shields. Repair drones that look like something out of the Matrix start to attack him. Superman is worried about the nuclear powered station. He checks the nuclear battery with his x-ray vision and turns his vision to gamma rays that shorts out the station.
The astronauts are falling from the sky as the debris of the station follows them. It collides, but we see a close-up of Superman’s hand before he lifts up the rubble of the Lighthouse. He has stopped most of the eight of the falling objects that the terrorist group, Ascension, may be responsible for sabotaging the objects. A helicopter has a struggle of guards and prisoners above Metropolis. While this chaos is going on, Lex Luthor is busy reading the Iliad. Luthor has a plan, he has made out of paper from the book, to construct a solar tower. Jimmy Olsen talks to Clark Kent as he is typing up the story while he talks about trying to get a photo of Bruce Wayne. Lois Lane is busy working on the paper layout on holographic displays. While Lois argues over some newspaper business, she corrects Clark that all eight of the objects were stopped. The next page has Superman flies through the Andaman Sea with his eyes blazing red. He sees the wreckage of the satellite he missed and notices a handprint. Two torpedoes are fired at him.
A technician reports that their submarine has just declared war on Superman. General Lane, in a base in the Southwest, he looks at the base which appears to be underground. He looks at his secret weapon. The next page reveals a blue form laced with red energy and it looks like a star symbol is on his chest. There is an epilogue with art by Dustin Nguyen where some fishermen find a man with his eyes burned out. The next part is an interview with Scott Snyder and Jim Lee followed by the ads saved for the end. An intriguing beginning to “The Leap” storyline. The New52 re-boot might be unfamiliar to movie audiences, but this is great start for New 52 phase 2.