DC’s Superman space age Book One features the dream team of creatives – writer Mark Russell, artist Michael Allred and colourist Laura Allred. To play to the strengths of these creators, space age captures the nostalgia of classic Superman stories while delivering a critique of human error and an optimistic look at what it means to be a hero.
Mainly set in 1960s America, Superman Space: Dude Book One is a brief retelling of Clark Kent’s origins accompanied by his first major mission as Superman – protecting humanity from itself during a nuclear standoff between the United States of America and Russia. However, with a greater threat looming on the horizon, Clark wonders if he really did save the world or if the worst is yet to come.
Fans familiar with Russell’s other work may like Exit stage left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles and the flints; ‘The Flintstones, know he likes to use pop culture icons and nostalgia to comment on modernity. While it’s not his strongest cultural criticism, Superman: Space Age has the potential to be an excellent representation of what it feels like to watch the world prepare for destruction without really knowing when things will end – or if there’s a way to fix things. Readers living through the climate crisis, the pandemic, and more are sure to identify with the feelings of apprehension and helplessness that Superman is grappling with. The Man of Steel is an excellent character to portray these feelings as he is the sole survivor of a planet that went through something similar. He’s said to be a beacon of hope, but even Clark Kent has moments of vulnerability.
Superman: Space Age Book One shows that anyone can be a hero. This comic spotlights the human heroes in Superman’s life, from journalists like Lois Lane to activists like John Lewis. This issue also examines Clark’s relationship to his work as a journalist. It’s clear he enjoys writing as much as flying around Metropolis. Superman and Lois’ narration makes a lot of sense, but there’s a lot to sift through, especially when other characters and teams are introduced. While this can be exciting for fans of these characters, Superman: Space Age could benefit from focusing on Superman and his main connections rather than trying to take a broader look at the DC Universe.
As always, the Allreds are a dynamic duo. Having worked together on countless projects before, it is a pleasure to see their work superman. Michael’s art screams pop art and fits this historical piece perfectly. Meanwhile, Laura brings vibrancy and brightness to the comic, complementing the themes of hope, even in the more heartbreaking moments. The artwork really stands out, but it also enhances the characters’ emotions as so much is conveyed in how the characters view each other or situations. The style also lends itself to comedic moments, reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons, but those moments don’t overshadow the heavier scenes and interactions. Fans of cartoons, classic comics or pop art will get their money’s worth thanks to the Allreds.
Superman: Space Age Book One is a great introduction for fans looking for a way to immerse themselves in Superman, as it captures his origins and what makes Clark – not just Superman – a hero. Even with the additional characters, he remains the center of attention, and audiences will be captivated by the themes addressed in this book, especially when the art is so compelling and fresh. There is a lot of potential for Superman: Space Age to take off even more in future installments. Superman is the hero the world needs right now, and this first issue makes that crystal clear.