Volume 10 of the DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection is all about the man who’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap buildings in a single bound. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superman, baby! We review Man of Steel.
Collecting Man of Steel #1-6, which was first published in 1986, and Action Comics #1, from 1938, this volume is a comprehensive reintroduction to the character after the Crisis on Infinite Earths event. While Action Comics #1 is the book that started it all, Man of Steel is the series which Zack Snyder took most inspiration from when rebooting the character in the DCEU.
Additionally, Man of Steel is the Superman story most South African comic book fans should be familiar with, considering it was the first batch of Supes tale published by BattleAxe Press in the 90s. It’s a retelling of Clark Kent’s arrival on Earth and his first encounters with Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Batman and Bizarro.
While it’s a reimagining of the Man of Steel mythos, it’s actually the one that’s constantly cited as the definitive origin of Kal-El. Across six issues, this series contains the heart, goodness and wholesomeness that we associate with Big Blue. Even if some of the outfits and quirks are products of the time, there’s something magically timeless about this reimagining. The narrative is solid throughout, and every major Superman character is perfectly depicted—even ol’ Ma and Pa Kent.
Google “Superman” and you’ll likely find John Byrne’s characterisation as the one most used in identifying the character. The artist captured the all-American look of Clark Kent and combined it with the stylistic touches of the mid-80s. Moreover, it’s the closest we’ve ever gotten to Richard Donner’s Superman, and Byrne put in a helluva double shift to achieve such synergy in both the look and narrative feel of the series.
This book right here is a piece of comic book history. It defined a new generation and catapulted Superman to even greater heights in popular culture. For many, this might even be the last great Man of Steel story. Volume 10 isn’t just highly recommended reading; it’s a must-have for any collector.