Superman Unchained: Deluxe Edition by author Scott Synder and various artists is a cool hardback book. A “deluxe edition” is oversized so it is bigger than the normal comic book with larger than normal pages. It also has additional bonus or new material. That extra material is usually sketches, writer script (where a writer plans his story in just words without the pictures), and more. This is true in this case.
This story is one of the better Superman stories that came out during the “New 52” which is the organized effort to reboot all the heroes. In Superman Unchained: Deluxe Edition, Superman faces off with various threats such as General Lane, Lex Luthor, a new terrorist group called Ascension, and a government super soldier from out of space called Wrath. Wrath claims to be a good guy, but, come on, he has a bad guy name. Luckily for Superman, he is not alone in facing these threats across the globe as he has friends. Allies and friends Batman, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and others all help out to save the day.
I liked this lot because of the author depiction of Superman. Many writers typically forget that Superman is a scientist. He is the son of a scientist and has access to a lot of advanced technology and information. Superman has to use his brain in this novel to defeat his foes and handle the various situations he faces. Whether it is outsmarting a stronger foe or stopping an international space station from falling to earth and saving the astronauts onboard, it isn’t just about what he can do physically.
Through the course of the book, the author draws a strong contrast between Wrath and Superman. Wrath works for the US Army and in the system while Superman fights outside of the system. Wrath fights for America only while Superman fights for the world. Why Superman does not work within the system is explained and debated throughout the book in interesting ways.
Lex Luthor is scary in this novel. He is a deranged genius that can do almost anything if he puts his mind to it. While Superman uses his smarts for good and to help folks, Lex Luthor takes the opposite tack. While Lex Luthor is not the main villain in this story, he has some of the most memorable moments in this novel. For example, he continues to read a book calmly while people are being murdered around him based on his orders.
Batman, Lois Lane and Wonder Woman have some cool moments that would be hard to discuss without heavy spoilers. Obviously, I won’t be talking about that as I don’t want to ruin the read with spoilers.
The action is awesome in Superman Unchained: Deluxe Edition as is the artwork. The heroes have epic moments and the villains are terrifying and think they are right no matter how horrible their actions are. Superman has some great lines. The book dives deep into the mind of Superman and why he is the way he is. Superman is one of my favorite characters when he is written right, but he is very hard for many to write right. This story is one of the best that featured the New 52 banner. Though it is really good, with the way they took things after “Superman Reborn” I think most of this is no longer part of the canon.
Superman wins, of course, but not easily. This story requires him to use his full intelligence, resources, and his friends to win. I highly recommend this story for Superman fans or for those just interested in the glory of Superman.
Superman Unchained: Deluxe Edition
Hardback (also available in paperback and eBook formats)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System
Scott A. Tipple ©2019