Superman Unchained is Scott Snyder telling a story he’s told before, but with Superman. A common thread in all Scott Snyder stories, or at least when he starts on a book, is the idea that there is something hidden that none of us are seeing. Whether it’s The Court Owls in his Batman run, The Mermaids of The Wake, Vampires in American Vampire, and Witches in the book Wytches. He likes secret societies, monsters, and forces that have existed for a long time conspiring against the protagonist. It’s frankly his favorite thing if you judge him purely off his writing. He even has revisited this in later Batman stories, Endgame definitely fits into this mold and American Vampire: Second Cycle is all about something that has always existed, even before Vampires.
Unchained is about The Government and what Superman represents to the Government. In a way, it’s a story about public Justice and Government Justice. It’s also an epic crossed with a mystery. Superman Unchained may not rank for Superman fanboys as on of the better Superman stories. For me, it’s among one of the better comic book stories I’ve read since getting into comics.
The first issue opens just another day on the job as Superman avoids a potential nuclear explosion from a downed satellite.We are treated to his internal monolog, which is exactly what you would expect a first responder have. Worrying about keeping the endangered people calm. The great thing is we get know Supermans fears.
We also see similar criticisms from General Lane and this books biggest addition to Superman lore Wraith an alien from a world not unlike Krypton. He has powers much like Superman but unlike him, he’s been on earth for 75 years using his powers as part of The Machine an organization reporting only to the president that takes care of threats in secret. Wraith has been like Superman with a badge this whole time, a point Lane holds against Superman. Believing that Superman doesn’t have the guts to do what’s right and eliminate the dictators and despots of the world.
Snyder takes the opportunity to not only question Superman but Batman as well. Why do we need them? Why are they special? Snyder gives his own answers of course but it almost more interesting to answer for yourself. Unchained feels like a fun romp while having something on its mind at the same time, That’s what makes it great.
The art in Unchained is gorgeous, Jim Lee a master artist kills in this book along with Williams and Sinclair. Every page feels like a painting and it’s obvious that Lee is a champion among artists.
If you haven’t read Superman Unchained go give it a read. It’s Synder and Lee at the top of the game really writing what I consider a great Superman.
Every appearance of Batman in this book is perfect. Guess that happens when you write perfect Batman every month.