If nothing else, Superman: Space Age, the new prestige-format miniseries by author Mark Russell, artist Michael Allred and colorist Laura Allred, has one of the most memorable and flat-out surprising openings of any Superman undertaking lately. The Man of Steel circles a doomed planet, first wanting down at it from orbit earlier than touchdown on its alien-but-familiar shores as hearth rains down on it from above. But this isn’t Krypton or one other distant planet far faraway from our galaxy. This is Earth. As Kal-El enters the Fortress of Solitude, he tells its laptop to deactivate all alarms and divert the remaining power to the residing quarters. He lets Lois understand how a lot he loves her, and bravely tells younger Jonathan that, sadly, issues aren’t going to be all proper this time.
Superman has all the time been a worldwide inspiration. An emblem of the greatest of humankind. Something all of us can aspire to. Here at the obvious finish of humanity, he’s nonetheless that. But one has to surprise…what’s the level? If all is misplaced and the world’s actually coming to an finish, what good is Superman?
One factor that Superman: Space Age by no means does is to take Superman’s position as Earth’s best superhero as a given. From early on in his life, Clark Kent is aware of he’s succesful of saving the world. I believe his human father, Jonathan Kent, is aware of it too, however he needs to verify Clark goes about it the proper method. A World War II veteran, the elder Kent is aware of how the greatest intentions can nonetheless be damaging and that when the stakes are so excessive, errors are the type of factor that might hang-out you eternally.
We see early on that he’s not unsuitable. Set towards the backdrop of the Cold War, Space Age’s story begins with the assassination of President Kennedy. Thrown right into a chaotic switch of energy, the entirety of America’s armed forces in addition to its huge nuclear arsenal wait on edge to see if the Soviet Union would possibly use the second to preemptively strike the US. Ironically, they virtually do, however not as a result of they see it as a second of weak spot, however as a result of an untrained Clark Kent flies in direction of the Arctic hoping to assist, and almost enters Soviet airspace. Believing him to be some type of high secret US weapon or plane, the Russians are minutes away from launching their nukes in response when a gifted younger Air Force pilot, one Lieutenant Hal Jordan, spots Clark and shoots him down in the nick of time.
Of course, Clark is okay. He’s bulletproof, in any case. Still, it appears fairly protected to say that inadvertently bringing the Earth even nearer to annihilation than it will have been if he’d stayed dwelling wasn’t his intention when he determined to depart the farm. In attempting to save lots of the world, he’d almost destroyed it.
Mistakes that might hang-out you eternally, proper?
But whereas Superman: Space Age is one of the extra bold and cautionary tales that includes the Man of Steel that we’ve gotten in fairly a while, it’s not one of these Superman books. You know what I imply—the ones that current Superman as a menace to the world moderately than a present. In time, Superman learns to make use of his abilities thoughtfully, and to watch the world and study from these he shares it with. In doing so, he begins buying one thing which may have been briefly provide as he was watching the world via a black-and-white tv on a Kansas farm—hope.
This is the place we get to what Superman: Space Age appears to be notably taken with. Russell and Allred’s ebook has a lot to say about hope. In writing about Kennedy’s dying, in her first critical piece for the Daily Planet, Lois asks, “So why does the life of one man mean so much? In short…it doesn’t. But when you take the enormity of what the man meant to a nation, the overwhelming grief we felt at his passing, the belief in the future he inspired in us, and then subtract from that one ordinary life, whatever remains, that is what we mean when we say hope.”
Two pages later, Clark finds his crashed spaceship and hears hit Kryptonian father Jor-El for the first time, who talks about the way it’s his hope Kal-El will change into a beacon in order that the folks of Earth may have what these of Krypton won’t. That’s proper, hope.
Space Age revisits key moments from our previous. Some of these are actual, like the freedom rides and lunch counter sit-ins of the civil rights motion, whereas others are fictional, like the formation of the Justice League. What all of them have in frequent is that they’re pushed by little greater than hope for a greater world. Hope is a primal and highly effective pressure in Superman: Space Age. It’s far stronger than any so-called superpower. In reality, the solely time Superman’s talents are literally wanted in Space Age’s first chapter is because of this of a failure of hope. In assuming nuclear battle with the Soviet Union is inevitable, Lex Luthor kickstarts the course of (precisely how, I gained’t spoil right here) requiring Superman to lastly don his iconic costume and rush to intercept the nuclear missiles that had been launched in response.
There’s much more to dig into in Superman: Space Age and of course, there are two extra chapters to go. It’s potential what awaits in these not-yet-released points might flip every little thing I’m saying on its head. And of course, there’s additionally the not-insignificant query of whether or not Superman’s inspiring actions are all for naught. After all, if that prologue is to be believed, the world is doomed anyhow. And it might very nicely be. Not solely does a shock look by Pariah counsel that Space Age’s Earth could also be one of the infinite which might be misplaced to Crisis, however this ebook exists out of common continuity. There’s no purpose Russell and Allred couldn’t finish the miniseries by destroying the world.
They might. But like Superman: Space Age’s greatest characters, I’m selecting to have hope.
Superman: Space Age #1 by Mark Russell, Michael Allred and Laura Allred is now accessible in print and as a digital comedian ebook.
Tim Beedle covers films, TV and comics for DCComics.com, writes our month-to-month Superman column, “Super Here For…”, and is an everyday contributor to the Couch Club, our recurring tv column. Follow him on Twitter at @Tim_Beedle.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of Tim Beedle and don’t essentially mirror these of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.