SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 offers three vignettes about the Man of Steel through the talents of a large team of writers and artists. Now, though the mega-packed issue is, mostly, a solid compilation, some works falter in places that others don’t.

Warning, potential spoilers are found below!

superman special #1
SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Return to Dinosaur Island

SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 kicks off with its first story entitled, “The Promise.” Through an introspective narration from Superman’s son, Jon, we learn that he’s had some trouble sleeping lately. Why? Well, he keeps remembering a promise he and his father made to a man on Dinosaur Island known as Captain Storm.

In an adventure featured in SUPERMAN #8 and #9, Superman and Jon were transported to Dinosaur Island, where they learned about a group of World War II soldiers known as the Losers who’d also been sent to the past. However, Captain Storm turned out to be the sole survivor. During the trio’s adventures there, Storm stayed behind on the island in order to ensure Superman and Jon’s return to their timeline.

Now, Jon reminds his father of the promise they made to bring Storm to the 21st century. They succeed in doing so, but Storm isn’t familiar with the state of the modernized world. Additionally, pretty much all of his family and friends have passed. However, he maintains optimism and assurance that his new friends Clark and Jon will stay by his side.

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Like Father, Like Son

Thus, writers Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi’s work on SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 presents an uplifting tale. Firstly, Storm’s character is one I hope to see again. He exemplifies fortitude and hope despite being totally alone on an island for years. Additionally, he maintains honor through his decision to visit the families of those who fell in battle alongside him. I also particularly enjoy how Jon takes the reigns and reminds his father of the importance of keeping promises to those who depend on them.

This aspect of the work showcases Jon’s development as a character and ultimate parallel to his father. Now, in regard to the artwork from artist Scott Godlewski and colorist Gabe Eltaeb, it’s by far the best part of SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1. They bring vibrancy to Dinosaur Island and rarely falter in their attention to detail.

So, as a result, the first vignette of this compilation is a solid work that encapsulates the commendable nature of the Man of Steel and those who have served.

superman special #1
SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I’m Only Human

The second tale of SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 is arguably its best. From writer Mark Russell, “Strays and Strangers,” is a simple tale that depicts Superman saving civilians from a collapsing building. Despite the simplicity though, the issue intersects the present and past timelines to exemplify its motif of memory. Through these intersections, we come to learn Superman’s own reliance on his memories to facilitate his human nature.

Despite the loss of many of those close to him, his memories maintain connections to his past. As a result, he filters his grief through the memories that ultimately bring him joy. “Strays and Strangers” also successfully features Superman’s vulnerability, both physically and emotionally. After spending a great amount of time rescuing people from the building, he finds himself spent. So, when an elderly man asks the Man of Steel to retrieve some pictures of his loved ones, Superman does his best.

However, he only succeeds in saving a stray dog, who he ends up giving to the man. Interestingly though, despite Superman’s failure in acquiring the pictures, he reminds the man that our most important connections to our loved ones are through our memories, and those memories ultimately create the person we are meant to be. Alongside Russell’s heartfelt narrative is some awesome attention to detail from artists Bryan Hitch and colorist Alex Sinclair.

Not one panel lacks dimension or depth in its color palette. Thus, “Strays and Strangers” proves to be SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1’s best work through its wonderful intricacies and poignant message.

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Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Now, the final work of SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 is perhaps the weakest of the bunch. The tale primarily focuses on Superman teaming up with a reformed Atomic Skull. There’s certainly tension between the two characters, as Superman maintains faith in people’s ability to be better while Skull isn’t so sure.

My main qualm with “Split Decision” comes from the brevity of the piece. More development in regard to Atomic Skull would have benefited the story and the interactions between him and Superman. Additionally, the artwork is rough from time to time. However, the coloring from Kaare Andrews as well as the lettering from Tom Napolitano excels and brightens the overall work.

With these faults though, the work does maintain potential. As a result, it will be interesting to see if upcoming Superman stories will revisit the plight of Atomic Skull and his journey to reformation.

superman special #1
SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What Lies Beyond SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1

SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 is not only a solid work for Superman fans, but also for comic book readers seeking out enjoyable tales about the Man of Steel. The most exciting aspect of these stories though is the potential they bring for future developments.

The door has been open for many of the characters revisited in this compilation. So, hopefully, they will cross paths with the Man of Steel sooner than later.

SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 by Patrick Gleason, Peter J. Tomasi, Scott Godlewski, Gabe Eltaeb, Rob Leigh, Mark Russell, Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair, Tom Napolitano, Iann Flynn, & Kaare Andrews
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Summary
SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 presents three, straightforward adventures that might not be equal in quality but, overall, they manage to merge into a series of tales that Superman fans will enjoy.
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a simple spectacle
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