By James Robinson (writer), Renato Guedes (pencils), Wilson Magalhaes (inks), Hi-Fi (colors)
Okay, so maybe I was wrong. The Metropolis Science Police Force is still around and still playing a role in this story arc. Granted, none of these characters are being fleshed out and they feel like nothing more than cannon fodder, but it’s nice to know they’re still around. Maybe this will develop into something bigger down the line.
As for the big fight we were expecting, sadly it takes a back seat to Atlas’ backstory (I’ll get into that in a bit). This first round between Superman and Atlas is just a few measly pages. They go at it like the big, heavy brawlers that they are, but the collateral damage on display is disappointingly kept to a minimum. I don’t even know why it’s called “Round One”, because it honestly feels like a brief skirmish with each character testing the other.
The real meat is Atlas’ backstory which feels a bit atypical, but almost expected when you consider a being bearing such an iconic name. Despite this, what really sells the story is Renato Guedes’ art. When we go back in time, Guedes puts on a Jack Kirby-esque performance that is incredibly fun and nostalgic. We’ve seen a lot of this from Marvel where artists will do flashback sequences complete with faux Zippatone effects while aping the old Marvel house style. What makes Guedes’ art stand out more is the blocky Kirby style that he mimics and pulls off brilliantly. In fact, just about every page in this issue looks beautiful. It’s easy to tell when a city backdrop’s been blatantly photocopied or traced, but that’s not done here. Metropolis looks wonderfully realized and the coloring by Hi-Fi deserves a lot of credit for bringing Guedes’ vision to life.
It’s hard to imagine myself buying two Superman books on a monthly basis but it’s finally happened. I can’t wait to see Atlas and Supes duke it out for real next month. This may just be his most formidable foe (on a physical level) since Doomsday. Please make this epic and give us more Krypto! (Grade: B)
– J. Montes