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Superman: Space Age #1 (of 3)

79
Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 19 critic ratings.

Meet Clark Kent, a young reporter who just learned that the world will soon come to an end (Crisis on Infinite Earths) and there is nothing he can do to save it. Sounds like a job for his alter ego…Superman! After years of standing idle, the young man from Krypton defies the wishes of his fathers to come out to the world as the first superhero of the Space Age. As each decade passes and each new danger emerges, he wonders if this is the one that will kill him and everyone he loves. Superman realizes that even good intentions are not without their backlash as the world around him transforms into a place as determined to destroy itself as he is to save it. Uniting the critically acclaimed writer Mark Russell (One-Star Squadron and The Flintstones) and Eisner-winner Mike Allred (Silver Surfer and Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams) for the first time, this series promises fans an unforgettable journey through U.S. history and culture starring our beloved characters.

Publication Date
Publisher
Format
Kindle Edition
Print Lenght
89 pages
Language
English
Price
$9.99
Amazon ASIN
B0B69HR257

Colorist
Cover Artists
Variant Cover Artists
Letterer

26%
74%
19 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100

    COMICON

    In recent weeks the age-old online debate of why Warner Bros. can’t seem to do Superman justice on the silver screen has reared its head. Well, the execs at Warner could do with reading up on this promising first issue. Superman, at his best, reflects what is best in those who have nurtured him, those who have given him sound and sage advise; a Superman who listens first and in doing so, is a more philosophical hero once he does finally done his famous red, blue and yellows. And in a comic book that has plenty of pessimism, it is Superman that shines through and offers hope. And in doing so, inspiration too. An inspiration I cannot wait to se the outcome of in the next issue, as teased on the last page of this issue.

  • 100

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    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.

  • 100

    Geek Dad

    Kingdom Come. Marvels. The New Frontier. Superman Smashes the Klan. There have only been a few out-of-continuity superhero stories that truly stand as the all-time elites, the ones that take the serial heroes that dominate the DC and Marvel Universe and elevate them into something truly timeless that stands alone as a perfect representation of the characters. If this first issue—and calling it an issue kind of barely scratches the surface—of Superman: Space Age is any indication, we’re about to have another enter the conversation. Mark Russell and Mike Allred’s 80-page volume takes Superman and puts him in an alternate reality where he operates from the 1960s to the 1980s—and his career is defined by the world-defining events of the era. It seems inspired by some of Russell’s other work, like his recent Fantastic Four: Life Story, but unlike that one it’s perfect in every way.

    Starting with a prequel that shows Superman, Lois, and a young Jon Kent seemingly greeting the end of the world, it flashes back to 1963 when Superman is still on the farm, Lois is a cub reporter interviewing eccentrics about their cats, and an assassin’s bullet in Dallas just changed the world. This is a world with a more grounded take on Superheroes—Superman’s first flight nearly triggers the Soviet nuclear alerts, Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are involved in a pitched battle for a military contract, and Hal Jordan is a test pilot who gets an up-close alien encounter. It weaves in so many events, including the civil rights era as Lois gets involved with the Freedom Riders, that it’s amazing how well it works—and how much it still feels grounded in a coming-of-age story for Superman, as he grapples with his destiny. Two flashbacks to WW2 for both Jonathan Kent and Sam Lane are particularly powerful.

    Over the first issue, we see Lex Luthor go from being an ambitious businessman to being one of the most incredibly evil versions of the character we’ve ever seen, we see Bruce Wayne go from being an arrogant tech baron with a decent core to a hero with a key role in saving the world, and Hal Jordan go from being a straight-laced military man to discovering a larger purpose. We see some of the most genuine, sweet romantic scenes between Clark and Lois in a while. This is a note-perfect Lois, equal parts kindness and fire. More than anything, though, this is a story about how Superman tries to change the world for the better—even when it seems impossible. The inclusion of a certain villain seems to indicate it could tie into a current event, but I have a feeling it was just a coincidence—because I think this has been in the works for a very long time. This feels like a genuine magnum opus for everyone involved, and possibly one of the best Superman stories of all time.

  • 100

    Major Spoilers

    Some might balk at the ten-dollar cover price, but Superman: Space Age #1 is practically four comics worth of entertainment, with Russell curbing some of his more cynical tendencies while Allred does some of his best work. With Dark Crisis (soon to be Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths) underway, this book serves as an interesting counterbalance, showing us a world where Pariah’s message came earlier, but still might have been too late. I can’t wait to read the rest of this tale.

  • 100

    Nerdly

    Its a love letter to a time and place, to a group of characters, to a type of storytelling. Its a love letter to our childhood.

  • 100

    Monkeys Fighting Robots

    Superman: Space Age isn’t about the 60’s. Well, it is. But it’s also about our uncertain times. It’s about our fears of impending annihilation. It’s about wealth, human rights, and hope. In all of these things, it’s a beautiful meditation on our visions of an unsettling future. Pick up Superman: Space Age #1 from DC Comics at a comic shop near you on July 26th. You don’t want to miss it!

  • 100

    Fortress of Solitude

  • 100

    Kabooooom

    Sir Terry Pratchett once defined good fantasy as any story that made you look at something familiar in a new way. By that definition, as well as any other, Superman: Space Age #1 is good fantasy. It may be too early to make Eisner predictions so soon after SDCC 2022, but I’m willing to predict that this book will win several awards in 2023.

  • 100

    Superman Homepage

  • 96

    Women Write About Comics - WWAC

  • 90

    AIPT

    This debut issue sets the stage for a remarkable tale of politics, history, and the heroes we look up to. And getting this fella on board is 1,000 times harder than leaping the Burj Khalifa on one foot.

  • 90

    First Comics News

  • 83

    Zona Negativa

  • 82

    Graphic Policy

    Written by Mark Russell, Superman: Space Age #1 starts with a disaster. It’s the end of existence as Clark/Superman huddles with Lois and their son as existence looks to end. Russell shifts things back a bit taking us through the early years as Clark transitions from farmer to journalist. There, he meets a man named Pariah who says existence has 20 years. For those steeped in DC history, you know where this is going but it’s done in a way that feels fresh and interesting. It also ties into some of Russell’s bigger themes he explores. What is Clark’s destiny. Is it written in stone like Pariah’s view of the future? Can Clark change things at all?

    The issue dances around these concepts as we’re taken through major events and some alt-history in the DC Universe. The death of President Kennedy is key to events as it triggers the rising threat of nuclear war. Clark taking his first steps to prevent that almost causes what he attempts to prevent. It’s all small moments that can really take things one way or another. Single individuals who impact world changing events. Russell nails all that down in a very cohesive and focused story.

    The art by Michael Allred is great as always. Joined by Laura Allred on color and lettering with Dave Sharpe, the comic plays off of the time period it’s set. Things have a retro look as we get to see a take on Batman of the time, Lex Luthor’s world feels a bit more out of Mad Men, small details like clothes and transportation keep reminding readers when the story is set. The story’s time period is key and the art really nails it but at the same time keeps things with a slight future twist about it. There’s a pop sensibility about it, the type the Allred’s excel at.

    Superman: Space Age #1 is an interesting debut. It’s a comic that has a clear focus and theme running throughout. It does a great job of not overdoing its concepts but in each key moment, those concepts are important. It has an underlying philosophy about it and integrates that into the story in a smooth way that’ll get readers to think and ponder what it has to say.

  • 80

    ComicBook.com

    Readers without much knowledge about the Cold War or geopolitics in the 1960s will have no trouble reading Superman: Space Age, but it’s that setting that unlocks the best of what both Mark Russell and Mike Allred have to reflect upon DC Comics’ mythos. The story is framed between the early 60s and mid-80s, with apocalyptic visions girding the horizon whether they’re composed of nuclear war or an infinite crisis. Allred’s pop art vision of the era is wonderful in its simplicity and he capably evokes an air of excitement surrounding the emergence of superheroes and familiar historical beats, alike. This setting is applied to contemplations of the nature of history and human life. Extended monologues in captions provide Russell with space to wax poetic on these themes, and reveals a considered contemplation that appreciates this specific past while also connecting it to the present; nuclear war and climate change provide sufficient parallels for global catastrophe. However, it’s not all superhero philosophy with plenty of attention paid to this specific Superman’s origin, including moving dialogues with both Pa Kent and Lois Lane at different points. Superman: Space Age offers a reflection on the nature of hope, humanity, and history with abundant wisdom and style to carry readers through even the most bitter truths of that journey.

  • 76

    Comic Watch

    Life is a constant struggle against the ever forward-creeping shadows of the dark. An attempt to fan the flames to keep the eternal night at bay. It’s messy and it’s hard and it’s never easy.

    But it’s the strength we get from those around us that helps us to push forward and do what’s right and continue on living. That’s just one of the many lessons Superman: Space Age #1 tries to instill in its readers.

    I’ll admit that I struggled with my feelings on this first issue. I’m still not totally sure whether I enjoy it or not. But I think it has merit in some of its lessons. While it mischaracterizes quintessential Superman characters like Pa Kent. There’s this back and forth, for me at least, where I enjoy one moment but then don’t fully love the next.

    I think Mark Russell will give us a compelling story of a hero struggling to keep a world from eating itself alive. I just don’t think I will find myself fully immersed due to personal qualms towards the book.

    The book itself really tries to discuss what makes a hero. What makes one simple life, inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, so important to those around them. Framing this initial issue around the assassination of JFK was a smart way to set up a discussion for that idea. That those who are seen as heroes aren’t always the most perfect people or the most prepared. But sometimes it is simply those who show up. Especially in moments of turmoil like being on the verge of nuclear war after the death of a leader.

    Space Age #1 is filled with these ideas about life and its meaning. About the little pleasures that give us strength to continue. Or finding purpose in the meaningless concoction of the universe.

    All these lessons are given life by the stand out art of Michael Allred (artist) and Laura Allred (colorist). It’s an unusual style that lends itself well to this unusual Superman story. The facial expressions are what stick out in my mind personally.

    My biggest issue with the book is arguably the inclusion of Crisis on Infinite Earths. It’s a story I love, but am convinced DC as a company has shackled itself to the corpse of and is dragging around— hoping it dances once again.

    I think this story will only be as good as its ending, as that is what so much of the discussions and moments seem to be leading to. Will there be purpose in this story’s existence? Is it simply enough to say that the story itself was made? We’ll find out in time.

    Superman: Space Age is a book that’s quality will be determined by its ending, that comes into this world with a very interesting start. I am intrigued to see where it goes with issue two.

  • 70

    Supergirl Comic Box Commentary

    Okay, this is the set-up for the book. We have a Justice League now. There are other scenes of Lois in this book covering segregation in the South that are solid. And maybe we will get more hope and more deliberate action next issue. But as I said, right now I am on the fence. The art is stunning. Some of the message is on target. But, as usual, Russell is kind of a mixed bag for me.

  • 65

    Weird Science DC Comics

    Superman: Space Age #1 takes the idea of a prequel to Crisis on Infinite Earth to weird places with a tonally strange story, lacks emotion, and is incredibly heavy-handed with the anti-war messaging through shock scenes. That said, the revised origins of familiar Justice Leaguers are creative, and Allred’s unique style fits the mid-Century setting.

  • 62

    Multiversity Comics

    Part “Crisis On Infinite Earths” prequel, part “Justice League: The New Frontier”-esque reimagining of DC superheroes in the political and social context of the ‘60s, “Superman: Space Age” #1 is going for a lot. But while it takes an admirably big swing, it doesn’t quite achieve what it’s trying to. The problem with this comic is rooted in its size. While sweeping stories are certainly great when done right, there’s something to be said for brevity. When writers are willing to kill their darlings, it can better their work, bringing a greater sense of clarity and focus. This debut, while playing with some really interesting ideas, covers so much ground that it lessens its impact.

    In all its indulgence, “Superman: Space Age” #1 manages to end up feeling like DC’s Forest Gump. The assassination of JFK, multiple wars, and the civil rights movement are all prominently featured in this issue. Those are all worthy subjects to explore, of course, but by touching all of them, the issue comes across like it’s just ticking boxes. Lois Lane getting arrested with the Freedom Riders and Superman breaking the group out of jail isn’t so much an interesting take on what might’ve been as it is self-satisfied “very special episode” material. The same applies to General Lane and Pa Kent’s the war flashbacks. Of course, these things all make for great prompts to think about what it means to be a hero and protect the world. But “Superman: Space Age” #1 is so decompressed that those thoughts get lost in the shuffle.

    Characters and actual narrative are devalued because of the issue’s length as well. By telling a story about American history that’s also the origin story for each Justice League member and also laying the groundwork for “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” none of the stories land. It’s not that none of the material is interesting. It’s great seeing the Batsuit start out as an invention for soldiers. It’s interesting to see Hal Jordan as a pawn in war. Clark Kent figuring out whether or not he’s ready to be a hero is compelling. All of it together is too much, though. It’s easy to imagine what a more streamlined, effective version of this comic would look like, though – just read “Justice League: The New Frontier.”

    The artwork is the easy bright spot in “Superman: Space Age” #1. The Allred’s are an incredible team with a beautiful, throwback style which perfectly fits what this comic is going for. Each and every page feels like a masterpiece, filled with life and detail. Perhaps no moment lands as well as the initial 1985 flash forward. Superman looking on a crumbling world, walking through the Fortress of Solitude, and reuniting with Jon and Lois is gorgeous and emotionally affecting. Superman’s first flight, too, its a thrilling and beautiful moment.

    All in all, “Superman: Space Age” #1 is as mixed a bag as can be. On the one hand, it’s bloated and trying to achieve so much that it achieves very little. On the other, it’s full of great ideas worth engaging with. Maybe as it develops, it’ll become a more successful piece of storytelling.

    Gorgeous art can’t make up for an utter lack of focus

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