It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s...Brainiac?!
If I tell you I was a 1980s kid, can you read my mind and guess how much I adored Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie? That’s right. A lot. There’s so much to love. Christopher Reeve’s timeless portrayal of both the Man of Steel and Clark Kent is deliberately thoughtful and heroic without ever feeling too cheesy. And what can I say about Margot Kidder, the effortless epitome of Lois Lane? And, of course, there’s the Chief and Jimmy and Lex and…
So, you can imagine how excited I am to see them all return in a brand-new story in Superman ’78! Rob Venditti and Wilfredo Torres have crafted a sequel to the first Superman movie that feels both modern and nostalgic for fans of that era. Torres sets the Metropolis mood with detailed backgrounds and captures the essence of the beloved characters. Venditti masterfully gives them the personalities we all remember from our days watching the movie over and over on a wobbly VHS tape.
Let’s open the cover and be transported back to the streets of Metropolis. If you were an ’80s kid too, or simply a fan of Superman: The Movie, I promise it will feel just like going home again.
Superman ’78 #1 picks up after the events of the first Superman film. As Clark Kent makes his way to the Daily Planet on a typically busy morning, the film’s aesthetic instantly comes through thanks to Torres and colorist Jordie Bellaire, who clearly did their due diligence in studying the look and feel of Donner’s Metropolis. Give me all that late 70s fashion! Lois and Clark’s breakfast back-and-forth calls to mind the Niagara Falls scene of Superman II, quickly establishing that this is the same pair we know and love.
The plot of the first issue is relatively straightforward: Brainiac sends a robotic scout to Earth and Superman fights it. But there’s so much to experience along the way. Clark stopping a robber without lifting a foot off the ground. A Perry White pep talk. And, of course, the classic running-down-an-alley-shirt-rip to change into Superman! Just a few pages into the first issue and I feel like I’ve discovered another Christopher Reeve Superman that I somehow missed until just now.
Reeve’s Superman has always managed to project confidence without a hint of arrogance, and Superman ’78 accomplishes the same feat. He trades jabs both verbal and physical with the robot as it rampages down the streets of Metropolis.
Brainiac’s scout might be a new addition to this era, but it doesn’t look out of place. Remember the robot lady from Superman III? I’m still scared of her. Superman ‘78’s automaton is just as menacing and promises to be just the tip of the Brainiac iceberg that’s about to collide with the Man of Steel and his friends.
While Superman throwing punches (with some glorious sound effects) at a robot is absolutely one of the highlights of the first issue, another is Lois Lane. It’s obvious that Venditti and Torres get the Daily Planet’s ace reporter. As Lois rushes toward danger, she reminds Jimmy that a good story is never found behind you and I’m reminded how much I love her.
The first issue of Superman ’78 has both the playfulness and explosive action of the original film, and that’s everything I could have wanted from it. Grab some popcorn, because now that Brainiac knows there’s a Kryptonian on Earth, a showdown seems inevitable. And I can’t wait to see it.
Superman ’78 #1 by Robert Venditti, Wilfredo Torres and Jordie Bellaire is now available in print and as a digital comic book.
Kelly Knox writes about all-ages comics and animation for DCComics.com and her writing can also be seen on IGN, Nerdist and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk superheroes, comics and pop culture.