Comic Reviews

Review: An Evening In Becomes Catastrophe in Superman: Lost #1

Christopher Priest presents Superman, Lois, and the Justice League with a world-destroying alien artifact – and 20 years Superman has Lost in traveling home in our review of Superman: Lost #1.

Superman: Lost #1 – The Story and Thoughts
superman lost main cover
Superman: Lost main cover by Carlo Pagulayan. (Image Credit: DC Comics)

In Superman: Lost #1, Christopher Priest, three years after his epic 50 issue run on Deathstroke for DC Rebirth and his recent Black Adams series, returns with a 10-issue miniseries focusing on the Man of Steel. Carlo Pagulayan joins him as the main artist (who also gets a plotting credit). with inks by Jason Paz inks the issue while Jeromy Cox lays the colors.

The book is chock full of typically off-beat images one would expect from a Priest book. Lois in pajamas wearing hair curlers and glasses, Clark fixing a toaster, Batman and Green Lantern bickering in a submarine. It’s all things you don’t usually expect to see from a Superman or Justice League comic. However, Priest finds the humor and mundane situations and puts them in to really highlight the humanity of these gods among us. Pagulayan, with his distinctive powerful lines, extremely appealing face and figure work, excellent action (one wonders if Larry Hama is adding his layout expertise as he did in the Deathstroke series).

 

superman lost #1 panel
Superman returns Home. However. something is terribly wrong. (DC Comics)

 

Priest and Pagulayan also make really excellent use of slow reaction panels and two gorgeous splash pages. The first shows Superman returning just minutes after leaving Lois. Standing in full costume, Clark stands silently in the middle of their apartment living room. The contrast of the mundanity of his surroundings, the beauty of his colors and cape, and the bleak expression on his face that Lois doesn’t notice for a few minutes is stunning in its emotional impact.

Similarly, the final page, showing where Superman got “lost” after the alien artifact sent him across the universe. He’s floating in space with the non-Euclidean geometry of the alien singularity behind him. The perfectly paced punchline highlights the entire buildup to Superman’s terrible night. Additionally, a very subtle but great bit of artwork planning appears in the subtly off-kilter panels when Superman returns. It underlines the sense that something is very, very wrong with Superman, as Lois slowly realizes that he’s not just back after a big adventure.

In addition to working so intelligently with Pagulayan, Priest works in some of his strengths. The loving but sharp repartee between Lois & Clark before the catastrophe mimics pure Priest doing His Girl Friday. The fastest, wittiest reporters in love dialogue this side of New York City – and the warmth and physical attraction the world’s best super-couple clearly still have shows perfectly in both words and art. Priest uses the same “work drama tv series” approach he took in his Justice League run. But he also nails the complex but completely expert team of heroes as they face potential World War III.

Real-Life Events Occurring Before Our Own Eyes

Very interestingly, Priest shows the Chinese acting in a dangerous and reckless way. This is often displayed by US military and political forces by his fellow comic book writers. However, given the dark political plot started in the opening scene with a senator resigning, I’m sure the USA will come in for some complex treatment.

One last note – Priest and DC have made it clear that this is similar to a Black Label or Elseworlds type of story. The story does not connect to current continuity. It doesn’t connect with any specific period in DC’s history. There’s no Jon Kent that we can see. However, it’s quite possible he’s off doing Adventures of Superman or Legion of Superheroes adventures. The Justice League consist of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Green Arrow. This is more or less what’s expected when Priest is allowed to pick his favorite members.

 

superman lost missing sub
The gang’s all here (DC: DC Comics)

 

Priest’s voices for the characters & their function brilliantly highlights the problem-solving aspect that Priest puts a lot of thought into. There’s a strong highlight of Bruce Wayne as well, as he attempts telling Lois about Superman. Yet, he finds him in the living room. Naturally, the story will focus most on Superman & Lois. It seems that Priest plans on putting his stamp on many characters he hasn’t gotten a chance to write in quite a while. With this issue as a taste, I can’t wait for the whole meal over the next nine months.

The Covers

What would a review of Superman: Lost #1 be without a word on the covers? Carlo Pagulayan does the main covers for Superman: Lost. The first cover shows a powerfully emotional, if simple, shot of Superman alone. He’s in shadow, cape behind him, among the lonely stars. Joe Quesada’s B variant showcases the upcoming white Superman costume promised in the covers for the next two issues. Superman embraces Lois, flying them high over a gorgeous red-gold earth. The red of his cap forms a huge question mark above the lovers.

The great Lee Weeks will provide at least the first three card stock variants. His work, paired with Elizabeth Breitweiser’s subtle but firm colors, gets my nod for collecting. The first issue’s variant shows Superman facing the terror of being “lost.” It’s an incredibly evocative image. DC also repurposed Quesada and Pagulayan’s art for a black & white 1-in-25 incentive variant and a foil 1-in-50 incentive variant, respectively. Both of these would be excellent additions to a collection if you have the money.

 

superman lost lee weeks
Superman: Lost #1 variant cover by Lee Weeks.

Superman: Lost #1

Overall Rating

4 Stars

While the story will focus most on Superman & Lois, there’s a sense that Priest will be putting his stamp on many characters. With this issue as a taste, I can’t wait for the whole meal over the next nine months.

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