Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2006
In 1986, DC Comics commissioned writers to create "reboot" stories for their three largest properties: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Two of those reboots became some of the most famous comics ever written: Frank Miller's BATMAN: YEAR ONE, and John Byrne's SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL.

THE MAN OF STEEL was originally a 6-issue miniseries. Issue 1 dealt with the destruction of Krypton, Clark's discovery that he was adopted, and Clark's invention of his alter-ego, "Superman". Issue 2 involved Superman's first rescues in Metropolis, the appearance of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, and the beginning of Lois Lane's infatuation with the Man of Steel. In Issue 3, Superman travels to Gotham City to arrest Batman, but instead comes to accept Batman's vigilante methods as the two battle the villainous Magpie. Billionaire Lex Luthor tests Superman's abilities in Issue 4, ultimately being arrested by Superman at the Metropolis mayor's command ("You can't arrest me," Luthor says. "I'm Lex Luthor!"); Luthor vows to take down Superman. In Issue 5, Luthor's attempts at cloning Superman fail as they discover that he is not a mutation, but an alien lifeform; the result is the deformed Bizarro. In the final issue, Issue 6, Superman is haunted by a hologram of his father, Jor-El; he learns his otherwordly origins while dealing with the pain he inflicted on Lana Lang by telling her his secret and then disappearing after high school.

THE MAN OF STEEL is notable for many reasons besides being the Superman reboot. For one thing, here Superman is not born on Krypton and then sent to Earth; he travels through space in a "birthing matrix", where he develops before finally being born on Earth. The most important change of Byrne's comics is that Clark Kent becomes the real person, while Superman is the alter-ego; almost always Superman is shown as being the true person with Clark Kent as the alter-ego. Using Clark Kent as Kal-El's true identity was also used on the hit TV series LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN in the 1990s. The final major change is Lex Luthor, who previously was no more than a brilliant evil scientist, but here becomes the third richest man in the world, a ruthless businessman.

John Byrne's writing is great. It moves fast, it's exciting, and it lets us feel how Superman feels. He uses each character and situation to further the story, and in the end it all works extremely well. My only complaint would be the dialogue. While Frank Miller revolutionized comic book dialogue with his realistic, straightforward, 40s noir-style dialogue, Byrne's dialogue is like that of old: hokey and unbelievable. Some of the characters are incredibly outspoken. Byrne makes Superman explain each and every move to the fullest; Batman rambles on in the campy fashion of his 60s TV series, coming across as a far nicer and more chatty character than the Batman who appeared in works like BATMAN: YEAR ONE and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

Byrne's artwork, inked by Dick Giordano and colored by Tom Ziuko, is excellent. Not excellent in a film-quality, panoramic sort of way, a la SIN CITY or WATCHMEN, but excellent in an above-average, classic comic sort of way. The artwork isn't extraodinarily complex, but it is colorful, vivid, and pronounced. Byrne's drawings of Superman/Clark Kent are especially wonderful.

All in all, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL is great. The writing's great, save for the campy dialogue, but even that just seems to add to the charm of the comic. The artwork's great. It's not an incredible comic, but it's interesting, fun, and well-made, a fitting reboot for the ultimate superhero. If you're trying to decide between the 2004 reboot, SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT, and this 1986 reboot, I'd recommend the '86 reboot. A superb re-telling of the Man of Steel's origins.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
After Crisis On Infinite Earths, the modern-day Superman of Earth-One could have continued on without a reboot, but DC Comics decided to bring him back to basics, and John Byrne's retelling does a great job of it. Its Krypton made me think of Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie, only colder and sterile. Superman wasn't born on Krypton, but conceived in a gestation matrix and sent to Earth so that he could be born there, and for a time was the only survivor of Krypton. His adopted parents, the Kents, live onward to their son's adulthood instead of dying. Superman developed his powers slowly and had no history as Superboy, which would annoy Legion of Super Heroes fans but made his debut as a costumed adult superhero a whole lot more sensible. However, this change in history also required a change in Lex Luthor's history, and not only was his history changed, but so also was his occupation: Luthor is a powerful and yet corrupt billionaire whose grudge against Superman is that he can't put the Kryptonian under his employ and that someone like him would dare to bring Luthor to justice. Despite these changes, everything else like Superman's first meeting with Lois Lane and the staff of the Daily Planet, his first encounter with Batman, and his dealing with a Bizarro version of himself were fresh retellings that were worth mixing in with the new stuff. It's sad to see this origin now being supplanted with his more modern origin which brings back his history as Superboy and his first encounter with a teenage Lex Luthor, but I still think this is one of the best, if not the overall best, Superman origin stories ever told.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 18, 2000
John Byrne's strength as a writer/artist is that he sees clearly to the heart of the character. Here, as he did with the Fantastic Four, he not so much re-invents as clarifies the character. All of the fat and foolishness is stripped away, and new details are added that fit so well that you wonder how the feature went fifty years without them. Byrne is totally respectful of what has come before, and yet makes it all fresh and new. This is truly Superman reborn and reinvigorated. Landmark comics, and also a great "starter" book for the fledgeling comics reader.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2008
Byrne did the impossible in '86 by actually getting me, a Marvel-exclusive comics fan, to buy & be interested in DC comics- specifically with this excellent reenvisioning of DC's famous Man of Steel. He takes nearly 50 years(!) of history and makes it look brand new.

Highlights here for me...
*Issue 1- Quickly & clearly introduces us to Superman's origin; he gets his costume on the last 2 pages.
*Issue 2- Superman & Lois Lane. This is the relationship that gives the characters their true heart & soul.
*Issue 3- Batman! I like the interaction between Superman & Batman here. It's like a springboard to Generations.
*Issue 4- Lex Luthor with hair; like a high school yearbook picture gone wrong. What's a hero without an enemy?
*Issue 5- Bizarro! I love the character and I'm so glad he's included here. The story's interesting too.
*Issue 6- Lana Lang; adding depth to Superman's relationships. Superman is established as being 28 years old.

I'm a huge fan of anything Byrne did in '85 & '86, especially his 6+1 issue run on the Incredible Hulk, and this renewed vision of the Man of Steel. Yet, as much as I love it, I actually considered maybe giving this 4-1/2 stars for several reasons. Firstly, DC seems to enjoy printing this on less than the best grade of paper; especially frustrating to see for die-hard fans like me. Secondly, the artwork seems a little bit dated, in that the inks aren't quite as refined here as in later volumes, and the colors at times seem a little bit flat. And Thirdly, Jimmy Olsen seems to me to be designed overall with a bit too much reference from the past- unless you like to imagine him as being the eighties version of Tucker Carlson. Still, even after pointing these things out, I can't quite give this mini-series anything less than a full 5 stars. It's just such a fresh burst of creativity, so monumental in its achievement at the time it was released, I can't see giving it any deductions for my relatively minor complaints. 5 stars!

Included in this volume:
*Issues #1 to #6- John Byrne writes & pencils; Dick Giordano inks

P.S. And check out Modern Masters, Vol. 7: John Byrne (Modern Masters), for behind the scenes info on this famous paperback's creation.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
John Byrne does the best Superman ever!

In the mid-eighties, DC asked John Byrne, who had written a long run of The Fantastic Four, to revamp Superman, who was about fifty years old at the time. In what I would consider typical "Marvel style," Byrne added characterization and scientific explanation to the Superman mythos as he reinvented classic characters and retold their stories. His beautiful art work and excellent story-telling ability make these comics a JOY to read!

I would STRONGLY recommend that you purchase all FOUR volumes of John Byrne's Superman; each one picks up right where the last one left off. When I was finished reading them, I purchased the rest of Byrne's run on the Superman comics; they were that good.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2001
John Byrne does not reinvent Superman in this collection. He returns the character to what he originally was. He strips away much of the mythos which only came into Superman's life after Siegel and Shuster left DC (Superboy, Supergirl, Krypto, multi-colored Kryptonite, god-like power levels, and Kryptonian heritage), and leaves us with the character as he was meant to be when he was created.
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
40 of 54 people found the following review helpful
the past few years superman has been written so poorly, the art has tried to make him more manga or just trying weird styles, people have written superman as everything but superman.
but in this book from 1986 we see superman, simple yet oh so effective, we believe he is superman, you see the man in the superman, the man who loves his parents, they love ihim, a lois who is strong but not the annoying lois we so a lot today.
superman was bogged down by being overpowerful, too alien and not very human, then Byrne come along and give us the human superman, the man who was clark kent first and superman second.
sadly dc comics is changing it back with a superman who is more wrapped up in being an alien, his father is not helping his son create a costume but becoming upset over it.
so if you want the great superman, get this and leave the newest books alone, and i assume the birthright story will become a trade soon, if you see it leave it be and let this be the only origin of supermans you read.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The first of a volume of Trade paper backs comprising all of John Byrne's and Dick Giordano's Superman The man of steel re-invisionings. The first superman series from the "post crisis" era. Why not start with where Kal-el was from and show us the sudden downfall of a superior civilazation and give us a background for what it was like on Krypton.

The first book shows Kal-el's trip to the planet earth and to a small kansas town into the arms of willing parents, who then raise a mild mannered boy named Clark Kent... And so the legend begins.

appearances in this book include Lex Luthor being a well to do man who like to have complete control of those around him. He is a smart man but an egotistical one who cannot allow superman to stay around long.

We have lois lane star reporter miffed at the new guy in town that stole her story.

Batman is introduced as a vigilante and one superman intends to stop, we also are introduced to the backwards thinking of Bizzaro who has a kind heart but messed up mind. We also see Lana Lang, Clarks old sweetheart in school.

This is a great introduction to the characters that would go on to make a legend out of "THE MAN OF STEEL" last survivor of Krypton.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 1998
With the end of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, D.C. comics taps John Byrne to re-invent their greatest creation for a new era. Man of Steel displays Superman as a truly human being, only trapped within this infinitely powered alien. Finally, we see that Clark Kent is not the disguise, but Superman is. A true comics milestone.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 1999
John Byrne has done to Superman what he needed to have done. All of the anoying, cheesy parts of the Superman Legend have been removed, while essential new parts (such as leaving his parents alive and a millionaire Lex Luthor) are so good, I don't see how they had been left out. John Byrne has given everyone a personality, and a likable one at that. He draws Superman the way he is meant to be drawn. Finally, a believable Superman.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.