The DC Universe has been rebooted and it all starts here: Action Comics #1. It takes place 5½ years before “The New 52” line up, when Superman is just coming into his own.
I had joked that Superman was slowing down in his old age, when he shot himself out of cannon in Action Comics #903, but it seems that a weaker Superman is now canon.
No Tights No Flight
A cape does not a costume make. Worse when it’s worn with regular clothes it makes Superman look like a loon, particularly since he can’t fly instead he leaps onto blimps and hitches rides. He’s no longer faster than a speeding bullet, which we discover when cops shoot him in the back as he runs away but he is still bullet proof, at least to ordinary bullets. The military hires Lex Luthor to capture the alien invader by hitting him with “the world’s biggest bullet,” a bullet train. Superman does manage to stop a train… with his face!
Taking Superman down a notch is one thing but having him be defeated in the first issue is pretty weak. Despite what some might think, Superman was never invincible. He just had different weaknesses (Kryptonite, magic, friends and family, mind control). You had to beat him using your brain, which is why Lex Luthor has always been his deadliest enemy. If Superman can be beaten physically, Lex Luthor is obsolete.
One thing Superman’s not lacking in is attitude. He acts more like Batman than a boyscout. The jaded hero crashes a party and holds a corporate criminal over the edge of a building, threatening to drop him unless he makes a full confession: “To someone who still believes the law works the same for the rich and poor alike. Because that ain’t Superman.”
Others have more personal problems with the new Superman. The Comic Conspiracy, a comic book store in North Carolina, is banning the book because of a panel where Superman gets hit from behind by a tank and yells “GD,” which apparently is short for God Damn. The store owner calls it the latest in a line of attacks on Christianity in comics and writes on his Facebook page, “I’m sorry, Superman would NEVER take God’s name in vain. In the words of the late Jim Croce, ‘You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.'” Personally, I’m more offended by the use of abbreviations. What’s next? Superman foiling one of Lex Luthor’s schemes an gloating “LOL. Fail.”