Writer: Mark Russell
Art: Michael Allred and Laura Allred
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: July 26th, 2022
Superman: Space Age #1 is an Elseworlds story like no other, a Silver Age-style Superman story set on an alternate Earth (and more specifically the United States) that begins in 1985 but jumps back to 1963, to tell an epic story of a Superman whose origin is much the same as the Earth-Prime Superman, but with subtle differences that will impact everyone on that world. For those who don’t want to read the rest of the review, GET THIS BOOK, it’s a fantastic Superman story with lots of surprises and it’s a winner. It’s the first part of a mini-series that promises to be one of the greatest Superman tales ever. Everyone else? Read on for a more in-depth review of the book.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Superman: Space Age #1 Review.
Superman: Space Age #1 doesn’t just give you a feeling of warm nostalgia, it’s a nostalgia IV pumped directly to your heart.
The amazing thing about the book isn’t the huge amount of characters and story packed into this first issue, it’s the expert way writer Mark Russell weaves them all together, forming a spider-web tapestry of Superman and the supporting characters as they meet each other and are influenced by historical events in Forrest Gump-style ways.
We get the usual Superman supporting characters of Lois Lane, Pa, and Ma Kent, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen (with his classic freckles and bowtie look). But in addition, we get Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, Hal Jordan, and even Pariah from “Crisis on Infinite Earths”(!) who all perpetuate the story and are as crucial to it as Superman.
The issue begins in 1985, where an apocalyptic event is happening and Superman has determined there’s no way he can stop it.
From this brief dour opening, the story jumps back to 1963, where Clark is a teenager growing up in Smallville and helping Pa Kent on the farm. Instead of Pa Kent encouraging Clark to go out and help the world, this version of Pa Kent is borderline xenophobic and agoraphobic. He doesn’t like the city and is perfectly happy keeping Clark there on the farm with him and Ma Kent. But the assassination of John F. Kennedy sets in motion a chain of events where Clark will leave the farm and ultimately learn how truly hard it is to be a hero.
I loved this book. Sure, we’ve all seen how Lois and Clark met ALMOST more times than we’ve seen Bruce Wayne and his parents meet their fate in Crime Alley. But here, writer Mark Russell puts little twists on Lois and Clark’s story. They’re no longer competing with each other, because Lois is promoted and Clark is a new hire, so they’re assigned different types of stories. Instead of the two being at odds, Lois becomes a mentor to Clark, giving him advice on his writing as the two become closer. It’s a nice change of pace and lets Lois be a superstar, instead of just a clumsy foil who constantly loses out on stories to Clark.
We also get some great scenes of Clark training to be Superman. Jor-El makes appearances here, wearing his awesome Silver Age outfit (the green costume with the blazing yellow Sun on the chest and the red headband). The book looks and feels like a combination of “Superman, the Movie” and the Curt Swan Superman comics of the ’70s, right down to the fedora hat Clark Kent wears on assignment for The Daily Planet. Despite the downbeat beginning to the issue, the book is brimming with hope and fun. I won’t discuss anything else in the book, because I don’t want to spoil the surprises within. I’ll just say that Lex Luthor has rarely been so evil and twisted as he is here, and Bruce Wayne and Hal Jordan have some great moments.
Michael Allred and Laura Allred’s art on Superman: Space Age #1 is as amazing as usual. Their unique art style always makes a comic feel very Silver Age, with elements of Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko in their work.
Since most of the issue is set in the early 1960s, they probably had a blast drawing all the pop-art style fashions and classic architecture of the era. One splash page, in particular, shows the people of Metropolis standing at a newsstand reading about a major news event, and it’s a sea of suits, frilly hats, and white gloves, with “Television Repair” and jazz club signs looming above them.
I also love the splash page where Clark officially becomes Superman and soars towards space looking every bit like the noble square-jawed hero. They also perfectly capture the technology of the time. Fighter jets, huge vacuum-tube televisions, and military war rooms all capture the era in flawless detail.
Superman: Space Age #1 is a flawless and bold origin story for an alternate-Earth Superman that’s full of humor, pathos, and nostalgia. Real-life historical events (primarily the Cold War and the threat of nuclear weapons) impact the characters, giving a feeling that the story takes place in the real world while melding seamlessly with sci-fi and superheroic elements. I hope that once this mini-series is complete, we get more stories set on this Earth. It’s too rich of a setting for just one mini-series, hopefully, it will be explored more. Highly Recommended.