In Man and Superman, Marv Wolfman delivers a decade-old take on Superman’s background that would have made a perfect starting point for the Man of Steel movie.
It’s a surprise to see this book on the shelves in my LCS, as it has been around a lot longer than you think. Man and Superman is a one-shot 100-page special from DC Comics and follows the story of Clark Kent leaving Smallville for the first time and heading to make a go of it in Metropolis.
The story is written by comics veteran Marv Wolfman, and he explains in a text introduction that he considers this some of his best work ever, and that it was written over a decade ago.
Initially, the story was to be a four-issue miniseries, but things got in the way and the project was pushed back. However, thanks to the powers that be, the finished story, drawn by Claudio Castellini, has finally seen the light of day, and it’s as bright as the sun.
There’s a two-page explanation of the concept of the book on the inside that will make things clearer, and it was a good idea to include this as it brings you up to speed on the proceedings before you dig into the tale itself. There’s a simplicity to the ideas here that really appealed to my comic book sense of truth. Clark is fresh out of Ma and Pa’s homestead and is as wholesome and naive as you could hope.
Hoping to write for the Daily Planet, he tries desperately to get a meeting with Perry White; meanwhile, despite the best advice from the folks back home, he makes some rookie mistakes when trying to do the right thing with his superpowers, and takes up residence in Metropolis, in a run-down apartment that the rats wouldn’t stay in due to health problems.
Kal-El is finding things tough and starts to realize that the world is a big, busy, angry place that even with the power of a God can leave you despondent and filled with self-doubt.
Man and Superman is a classic and heartfelt tribute to the Superman legend, and you can tell that the whole project has been a labor of love for all involved. The writing style from Wolfman is just pitch perfect, and he captures Kal and his cast of supporting characters perfectly. Everyone feels real. And despite the fact that we all know who Lois Lane and Lex Luthor are, there is still room here for us to be interested in their appearances in this book.
The story is also wonderfully illustrated, and the art here pops from the page when required. The action sequences are almost film-like, and even the quieter character moments are well presented. The book itself looks fantastic. I’m a sucker for a squarebound special, and the heavy stock glossy cover makes it feel more like a graphic novel than a comic.
As gushy as this may sound, the premise here would have been an awesome starting point for the Man Of Steel movie. It introduces us to the world of Superman in such a well-paced and interesting way, and with a few tweaks here and there, this could have been the big hit that DC was looking for back in 2013.
It has a cover price of $9.99 Stateside and around £7.99 in the UK, but there are 100 pages of story and art here, and I have to admit I really enjoyed this. It’s hard to do something original with The Man of Steel; it’s even harder to do something unique with his backstory, but Wolfman is a seasoned professional when it comes to this kind of thing, and if you are in any way interested in the character, Man and Superman is a must-have purchase.