Title: Man and Superman.
Writer(s): Marv Wolfman.
Artist(s): Claudio Castellini.
Colourist(s): Hi-Fi et Claudio Castellini.
Letterer(s): Tom Orzechowski.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: December 10th, 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
It’s easy to assume that being a superhero doesn’t imply any dilemma or consequences, that being one entitles you to privileges and indisputable happiness. In reality, there are many choices at play and terrifying decisions and sacrifices that are made by these heroes, pondering their own rights and freedom against those of their loved ones and humanity. Imagine how much Superman had to put aside to embody hope for the people of the world. Imagine how much Superman had to sacrifice in his own personal life to keep everyone safe from harm’s way. Legendary writer Marv Wolfman and renown artist Claudio Castellini both embark on a beautiful project to thus tackle the intimate and challenging journey of Clark Kent before he decides to dawn the symbol he brought home from Krypton.
What is Man and Superman about? Set between the moment Clark Kent leaves Smallville and settles in Metropolis, this story explores not only Superman’s arrival but the man he needs to become if he is to pursue his life henceforth. Starting from the bottom, the small-town boy chases after his dreams to become a reporter for the Daily Planet while also trying to figure out how he can utilize his secret abilities for the city he loves. While the city is in the middle of determining their next mayor amidst the crime wave it is suffering from, Clark Kent learns to understand what his place is in this city that seems much bigger than himself. It is when an unknown terrorist looks to spread terror that Clark Kent finds himself looking to thwart this egomaniac’s plan as the grand finale for his coming-of-age tale.
Initially proposed as a four-issue story arc to be included in the abandoned project Superman Confidential, this ten-year-old saga is now released in a stunning deluxe edition with remastered colouring by Claudio Castellini, an introduction and an afterword by Marv Wolfman, the original proposal pitched by Marv Wolfman with additional commentary on what was changed since then, the final draft script for Superman Confidential #1, and an incredibly insightful guided tour by Claudio Castellini on the artistic process, from transforming the script to the colouring and the creation of the cover artwork to be used.
Writer Marv Wolfman does a fantastic job in his depiction of Clark Kent before he fully embraces his uniform and proudly flies around Metropolis conveying hope to its citizens. It’s a very grounded story that follows the journalist-in-the-making as he encounters people from all kinds of socioeconomic statuses and befriends them for their kindness and their way of life. There’s also an intimate look at Clark Kent’s own internal struggle to understand his place in the world as he’s unable to immediately fit in. His conflict lies essentially in his own understanding of what each of his personalities is meant to be, what Clark Kent and Superman are each supposed to respectively strive for in their lives. After all, if one doesn’t survive and adapt to its environment, the other suffers.
Artist Claudio Castellini beautifully transforms the script with some of the most stunning artwork. His focus on the presence of characters and their emotional reaction to their environment is impressive, especially during key plot moments where iconic characters are introduced. His ability to showcase their importance in the eye of Clark Kent through selective scaling on each page helps the reader immediately identify focal events that are life-changing in the smalltown boy’s life. His remastering of an otherwise incredible colouring by Hi-Fi also adds significant symbolism behind those important moments in the narrative. All in all, the creative team behind this project poured their heart into telling a story that marks the beginning of Superman’s adventures.
Man and Superman is a beautiful adventure centered around Superman’s secret identity and his quest for purpose before becoming Metropolis’ guardian.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!