Title: Superman Unchained.
Writer(s): Scott Snyder.
Illustrator(s): Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen & Scott Williams.
Colourist(s): Alex Sinclair & John Kalisz.
Letterer(s): Sal Cipriano.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: March 8th 2016 (first published December 9th 2014).
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Only a couple of writers in the comic book business have an incredible understanding of Superman’s character. From his humanity to his destructive powers, his secret identity as Clark Kent to his mantle as the world’s greatest hero, there isn’t a more complex reality for him to embrace and only a few writers are able to grasp its subtleties and properly convey it in stories revolving around him. With the impressive and staggering creative power that comes with a team like superstar comic book writer Scott Snyder and legendary artist Jim Lee, there is no surprise that fans are rewarded with an exquisite character-centric plot, detonative action sequences, and marvelous artwork to complement it.
What is Superman Unchained about? While he vows to save anyone in danger, his actions still remain ill-advised by certain elites with power. Featuring key characters such as Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Lex Luthor, dawning their respective personalities to perfection, from sarcasm, comic relief to high-intellect cynism, this stand-alone graphic novel introduces a mysterious being who has been living right under the nose of Superman for countless years. While its intentions remain unknown at first, he serves as a messenger of change for Superman by questioning his title of a hero. While Superman is challenged on his beliefs and his way of life, his end is envisioned and only he can decide what will happen next.
Set within the New 52 era of DC Comics, the story focuses on Superman’s exploration of his own strengths, weaknesses, powers, and responsibilities. Collecting issues #1-9 as well as bonus material regrouping an incredible amount of variant covers for the single issues and a Superman Unchained Director’s Cut, this cutting-edge take on Superman succeeds in summarizing the reasons why he remains one of the greatest heroes alive.
Self-contained, perfectly-detailed and rendered to perfection, Superman Unchained showcases the creative team’s ability to expand the Man of Steel’s lore while paying their respect to the multi-level story-telling that is often accomplished with this hero, from Superman’s personal growth to his intergalactic interventions. Seamlessly introducing a character without the struggles of achieving believability, Scott Snyder does a terrifyingly good job in establishing its personality while circumscribing it with a role in the grander scheme of things. Where the story also shines is in the colloquy between various characters, where intriguing questions are raised and answered, without overstretching the plot in unnecessary directions.
Just as expected from the title, Superman also goes all out in this graphic novel and proves the world why they should be happy that he is pure of heart. To brilliantly illustrate his godlike powers and the beauty of his strength, Jim Lee channels his greatest penciling skills and delivers eye candy. Highlighting the Man of Steel in all of his glory, Jim Lee’s visionary artistic style conveys all the ideas you would associate to this hero, from gracefulness to hope. Not only does Jim Lee fully uses double-page spreads to draw incredible scenarios and poses, the colourist who worked on this project elevated the artwork to unmatched levels with injections of explosive, bright, and dynamic colours. Even if the storytelling were to be unimpressive for the reader, the artwork alone allows this graphic novel to be relevant and a must-read for comic book fans.
Superman Unchained is an incredibly stunning and action-packed exploration of the Man of Steel’s devoir towards humankind as he’s summoned to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!