Neal Adams’ ‘Superman: The Coming Of The Supermen’ #1 Is Even Weirder Than You Expected
The legendary Neal Adams has pretty much had carte blanche at DC Comics in recent years, and the world is a greater place for it. He has given the comics industry so much, and now he's allowed to do whatever he wants, which has already led to the bonkers fever dream that was Batman: Odyssey. When it was announced Adams would be following that up with a spiritual sequel in Superman: The Coming of the Supermen, we all knew it would be something to behold, but no-one could have predicted a comic quite like this would exist in a million years.
The Coming of the Supermen has two concurrent stories that dovetail at the end to make a killer last page cliffhanger. The first of these stories is the arrival of three new Kryptonians in Metropolis, dressed like Superman. They help stem an invasion by Kalibak and the Parademon armies of Apokolips.
The second story is where things start to get weird, as it follows Superman in the Middle East protecting civilians from mortar shells, where he rescues a small orphan boy named Rafi and his puppy. They’re suddenly confronted by a mysterious dragon-like Messenger who speaks cryptically and urges Superman to bring Rafi back with him to Metropolis.
It all loops back around when Superman returns to team up with the Supermen and finish off the Parademons. The Messenger shows up once again and takes Superman back in time to Ancient Egypt for the big last page revelation everyone is talking about.
Darkseid’s father was the God-King of Egypt and also the inspiration of The Sphinx.
Adams’ dialogue is as bombastic as ever and is amplified by his art, which is as Jack Kirby as Neal Adams has ever been. Whether it’s Parademon’s exclaiming “HIT IT HARD! FOR DARKSEID!” or Superman swinging his head around reacting to the sounds of a puppy, every single second of The Coming of the Superman explodes from the page with action and intensity. While not credited on the cover, the credits inside also note that Tony Bedard co-wrote the script of the comic, based on Adams' plots.
The book gives you everything you want from Superman, with plenty of Lois Lane appearances, and a great page of Lex Luthor lunging out over the panels beneath him, addressing a camera and, in a way, the reader themselves. With the main line of Superman books so great at the moment, there’s definitely a place for an Elseworlds as nuts as this, and as weird as it gets, it remains recognizably Superman throughout.
Batman Odyssey was infamous for its incomprehensibility, but Adams has actively built that aspect of his work into the plot for Coming of the Superman. When you hit that last page and discover the entire book is one cosmic Riddle of the Sphinx, the reader feels just as lost as Superman, but in a compelling way.
The Coming of the Supermen leaves us with so many questions that there’s no way you’ll not come back to for #2. Who are The Supermen? What’s the significance of Rafi? What in the world is going on with Darkseid’s dad?! I would not be surprised if, by the conclusion, we look back at this first issue as the "normal one," because if there's one thing we know about Neal Adams' recent work, it's always unpredictable.
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