Anyone who was into superhero comics in the nineties will likely revere Jim Lee. He and Michael Turner were hugely influential in creating a new and slick look for comic art. Jim Lee did a lot of work on X-Men and helped launch Gen 13, and played a big role in Wildstorm comics, a line of comics he’d eventually own. Unfortunately for fans of his art, he became more involved in the business end of things, and for the past decade or so has done a lot of covers, but infrequently does interior art. In 2004, of course, he did the great Batman Hush series with Jeph Loeb, and on the heels of that put out Superman For Tomorrow. Both Hush and For Tomorrow are joys for comic fans.
Brian Azzarello is a unique writer, and pairing him with Jim Lee is a good match. His dialogue is crisp and he always finds ways to create non-linear narration of the sort you usually don’t find in mainstream comics (for more of his style, check out his Batman: Broken City series). If you haven’t read Azzarello before, now would be a good time to, because in August he is going to take over for J. M. Straczynski as the writer of Wonder Woman.
The plot involves one million people apparently “vanishing” from the earth, and Superman has to play detective to find out where. I don’t want to give away much. Along the way, he runs into an old foe who now has a newly mechanized body (and no, it’s not Lex Luthor), has a heart-to-heart with Batman, and gets into a fight with Wonder Woman who is only concerned for his safety (it’s a bit like an afterschool special). One of the stand out moments is when Wonder Woman slashes at him with some sort of magic infused dagger (Superman’s vulnerable to magic as well as kryptonite) and the Man of Steel bleeds. A drop of his blood somehow flings out and cracks the handle of Wonder Woman’s dagger, proving he must have a lot of iron in his veins.
Normally I’m all about saving the reader cash. In this case, I’d highly recommend buying the graphic novels (For Tomorrow is broken up into two volumes) if you can’t find it at the library first. Jim Lee’s art will have you returning to check out the layers of detail in each panel, and Brian Azzarello’s writing will have you wanting to re-read it moments after you finish it. Right now, Amazon has both volumes priced at about $10.50 each.
Oh and Alex Sinclair is the colorist. That guy never gets enough credit.
—Check out my book The Madness of Art: Short Stories.
If you like Superman: For Tomorrow, you might also like my review of Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #1.